Why General Hospital's Michael Corinthos Spent Part Of His Childhood In A Coma

When Carly Corinthos gave birth to her son Michael on "General Hospital," she desperately wanted to keep him away from his biological father A.J. Quartermaine (via Soaps in Depth). Shortly after, she fell in love with Sonny Corinthos, who adopted Micahel and agreed to raise him as his own. However, swapping out a wealthy alcoholic for a wealthy mob boss didn't do much to protect her son. Needless to say, young Michael's life was marred with drama due to his two very prominent families.

Though Michael is now easily recognizable today as actor Chad Duell who has held the role since 2010, adorable red-headed child actor Dylan Cash portrayed the character from 2002 to 2008 and was an undeniable fan-favorite. It was during that time that Michael experienced some of his most turbulent experiences as a direct result of his father's dangerous business.

In 2007, when the Text Message Killer was on the loose, young Michael illegally purchased a gun in order to protect his family, per Soap Central. He thought that is what he needed to do because that is the lifestyle that he had been exposed to in his young life. However, things went sideways when he accidentally shot his father's girlfriend Kate Howard (then Megan Ward). Kate recovered, but Michael's parents Sonny (Maurice Benard) and Carly (Laura Wright) became increasingly concerned with their son's growing interest in the mob lifestyle. This prompted Sonny to commit to "going legitimate" and he handed off his criminal organization to his right-hand man Jason Morgan (Steve Burton). However, Sonny's attempt to distance himself from the mob wasn't enough to protect his son from violence.

Michael ended up in a coma because of Sonny's mob ties

After Sonny Corinthos decided to distance himself from the mob, he focused his attention on his legitimate coffee importing business (via Soap Central). Wanting to expose his son to the operation that would one day be passed on to him, Sonny brought Michael to the coffee warehouse to show him how things were done. However, that same night rival mobster Claudia Zacchara (Sarah Joy Brown, who played the role of Carly years earlier) had hired a sniper named Ian Devlin (Seamus Dever) to take Sonny out. Unfortunately, the shooter's aim was slightly off and the bullet he fired ricocheted off a piece of metal shelving and hit little Michael in the head.

Michael was rushed to the hospital, but fell into a coma shortly after, per Soaps. His parents and extended family were devastated when the doctors told them that his comatose state would probably be permanent. In May 2008, Carly and Sonny agreed to have Michael transferred to a long-term care facility where he would remain for nearly a year. Eventually, Carly and Sonny decided to have Michael undergo an experimental and controversial surgery in order to reverse his coma. The procedure was successfully performed by Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) and Michael finally awoke a year after the shooting (having been aged into a teenager and then being played by Drew Garrett).

Michael's shooting ultimately led to more tragedy

Michael Corinthos was primarily in good health upon waking from his coma, aside from a few memory gaps and some emotional issues, per Soap Central. One of the memories that Michael had lost was Claudia Zacchara confessing to the shooting at his hospital bedside. This was particularly unfortunate since she had become his new step-mother during his coma and the two had begun to bond upon his waking. Michael's newfound rage became a serious problem for the teen, especially when he came to believe that he was responsible for a car accident that caused Claudia to miscarry his sibling.

Eventually, parts of Michael's memory from his time in a coma came back to him. When he finally recalled what Claudia had said to him about the shooting, he confronted her. She didn't respond well and kidnapped Michael's very pregnant mother Carly Corinthos Jacks (via Daily Soap Dish). Michael eventually tracked the two women down to a remote cabin where Claudia was preparing to kidnap his newly born baby sister Josslyn Jacks. In order to stop her, Michael picked up an ax handle and knocked Claudia over the head with it, killing her. This situation ultimately sent Michael to Pentonville prison where he was raped by a man hired by one of his father's enemies (via TV Guide). Obviously, poor Michael had an extremely difficult and violent upbringing due to Sonny's lifestyle. He might have been better off being raised by AJ, after all.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).