ariana_paris (ariana_paris) wrote in little_details,

Medical help: diagnosing coma + haemorrhage symptoms

USA modern day

Hello everyone. Very glad one of my readers pointed me here and I hope someone knowledgeable can help. I wish I'd known about this comm sooner. :)

I'm writing a story in which a character is shot by a poisoned dart containing a man-made poison and falls off a low building. After he is admitted to hospital, apparently just suffering from broken limbs, he falls into a coma, and once the doctors have revived him, he starts to bleed profusely. So much for my made-up symptoms.

I don't really want to steer the conversation in the direction of things that I have already looked up because I am hoping for a rethink, but as it is a requirement, here we go: I started off with researching the causes of the coma, mainly on Wikipedia and

I thought the doctors might try to initially treat it as an infection since the coma occurred in hospital. However, as a dramatic device, one of my betas suggested a hemorrhage, therefore leading me to investigate whether the doctors might think the drugs used for infections (eg: vancomycin) might cause this. Since "thrombocytopenia" is listed as a side-effect under blood disorders in the British National Formulary for most antibacterials, I went and researched that (for example here) and other possible causes of clotting disorders on Wikipedia (particularly how blood Factors work, Vitamin K's involvement and whether the doctors might assume he was taking Warfarin or other Coumarins). One possible cause of thrombocytopenia and a coma is ALF, so I looked up Acute Liver Failure (mainly on Wikipedia) and I'm wondering if the poison could for instance be producing benign tumours that have started to affect his liver function.

The thing is, the doctors don't know about the poison, so what are the most likely conclusions they might draw from the symptoms above? And what would they do to try and treat the symptoms and whatever condition they think it is?

Suggestions for poisons with interesting effects welcome, though since I need the guy to ultimately make a full recovery, I might have to make that bit up and have some magic antidote...

However, my medical knowledge being limited, I'd prefer some informed discussion, particularly of the dead ends the doctors might investigate in the course of normal diagnosing.

Thanks in advance!
Tags: ~medicine: coma

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