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We must always take the long view. Not of the individual, but of society as a whole. Because medicine is now a great social force. The individual is too small.
Dr. George Harris

Coma is a 1978 suspense horror film. It is based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Robin Cook. The film rights were acquired by director Michael Crichton, and the movie was produced by Martin Erlichmann, starring Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas and Richard Widmark.


When a young female doctor notices an unnatural amount of comas occurring in her hospital she uncovers a horrible conspiracy.


Warning: this text contains details about the plot/ending of the film.
Dr. Susan Wheeler is a surgical resident at Boston Memorial Hospital. She is devastated, when a healthy patient, Nancy Greenly, who also happens to be her best friend, is pronounced brain-dead and comatose there after being treated in the hospital.

Later she becomes suspicious, when another young and otherwise healthy patient, Sean Murphy, also falls comatose during knee surgery for a recent sports injury. Therefore she begins to investigate and finds out, that over the previous year an unusual number of other fit, young people have suffered the same fate.  She also discovers, that they were all treated in the same operating room, OR-8, all of them were tissue-typed and all the comatose bodies were later moved to a remote facility called the Jefferson Institute.

In time she faces increasing pressure in the hospital about wanting her to stop the investigation to the extent that she cannot even trust her boyfriend, Dr. Mark Bellows, anymore. She even becomes a victim of an attempted murder. Additionally someone, who intended to tell her the truth regarding her investigation, is murdered, too. Finally she discovers, they have all been poisoned with CO through a conduit at the ceiling of OR-8, which then enters there and which, to a certain extent, can deceive doctors, because it's colourless, so that they can all fall into coma this way and taken to the Jefferson Institute, where they are killed by the people there in order to remove the organs from them and sell them for big money.

At the end she wants to inform the head of the hospital, Dr. George Harris about what she has discovered. Too late she discovers, that he is the mastermind of it all, including the pressure against her. He sees these actions as a necessity in the name of the greater good and sees people like himself entitled to do such things in its name in the name of a society that has to deal with such issues.

While he had reported to him, he poisoned her in order to make her appear sick, so she can be operated in the same room, where the others were murdered. Her boyfriend, however, who was about to assist him, realises in time the evil game because of the doctor´s insistence that she should be operated there since she also had told him about it before and, in the nick of time, he saves her by cutting off the CO-conduit. After that he calls the police, who arrest the doctor, while he takes Susan to safety.


  • Geneviève Bujold as Dr. Susan Wheeler
  • Michael Douglas as Dr. Mark Bellows
  • Richard Widmark as Dr. George Harris
  • Elizabeth Ashley as Nurse Emerson
  • Rip Torn as Dr. George
  • Lois Chiles as Nancy Greenly
  • Hari Rhodes as Dr. Morelindl
  • Richard Doyle as Jim
  • Tom Selleck as Sean Murphy
  • Lance LeGault as Vince

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