Gabriel "Gabe" Wozniak, better known as Coma Guy, was a minor character on House who appeared only in Son of Coma Guy. He was awoken from his vegetative state by Gregory House in order to obtain a better medical history of his son Kyle Wozniak who is dying of a mysterious illness.
He was portrayed by John Larroquette.
Gabe was overcome by smoke inhalation while trying to save his wife from their burning home after Kyle started a fire by dropping a hot popcorn popper. For ten years, he was in a persistent vegetative state in the coma ward of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. As House usually ate his lunch in the coma ward, he became familiar with Gabe's son Kyle, who often visited his father.
During one visit, House induced a seizure in Kyle and admitted him. Kyle's condition soon worsened and, stumped for clues, House came up with the insane idea of trying to revive Gabe with a combination of L-Dopa and amphetamines. Incredibly, it worked and Gabe propped himself up on his elbows and asked for a steak. His muscles were still in good shape and his mental faculties were intact. He was aware a good deal of time had passed since the fire.
House started to question Gabe about his family medical history, but soon Gabe tired of this and, knowing that the effects of the drugs would wear off in a day or so, announced he wanted to go to Atlantic City to get a hoagie from one of his favorite sandwich shops. House agreed to take him on the condition that he could ask him questions along the way. However, House didn't have his car so they had to borrow Wilson's. As Gabe wanted to drive, Wilson insisted on coming along.
Gabe didn't want to cooperate with House, but he agreed to answer House's questions if House would answer his. Gabe asked questions about House's personal life, and House asked questions about Gabe's former line of work (he had a factory that produced luxury cruisers). House found out that the paint they used on the boats contained mercury and informed his team.
However, Kyle didn't respond to treatment for mercury poisoning and House had to ask more questions. As they were in a hurry, House promissed to answer one big question at the end. Gabe was sure that Kyle's alcoholism was to blame as Kyle's mother's side of the family were all alcoholics as well and died early. However, House kept pressing as Wilson phone around trying to find the sandwich shop that made Gabe's favorite hoagie. Wilson finally asked why Gabe didn't want to spend the day he had left with his son instead of trying to find an elusive sandwich shop, and Gabe finally admitted he felt powerless in the situation and left to avoid facing the fact he couldn't save his son. House pressed and found out all of Kyle's mother's relatives were killed at night and figured out they had a genetic disease that causes night blindness and fatigue, MERRF syndrome. However, by the time they figured it out, Kyle was in need of a heart transplant and didn't qualify for one because of his alcoholism.
Gabe finally asked House the big question - why he decided to treat patients when he didn't like people and was talented enough to do anything he wanted, like research, which wouldn't require dealing with them. House told him the story of how when he was a teenager in Japan with his father, he took a friend to the hospital, got lost in the building, and found who he thought was a janitor to help them. When the friend took a turn for the worse, he was astounded to see the doctors turn to the janitor, who was actually a doctor himself. He found out the "janitor" was a buraku, a member of a despised Japanese caste which in past times had been butchers and leatherworkers in what had been a vegetarian culture. He was astounded that the doctors despised the janitor, but that the janitor couldn't care less and didn't even try to fit in because when they were in trouble, they had to turn to him.
Gabe realized he would not be able to get back to Princeton to see his son before he returned to his vegetative state. He finally decided the best course of action was to commit suicide so his son could have his heart. While House and Wilson set up an alibi, he swallowed drugs, including aspirin to prevent clotting, and collapsed in the room. He was rushed back to Princeton-Plainsboro and his heart was successfully transplanted into Kyle, saving his life.