The story begins with a tragic illness. The afflicted weakens, assures everyone she'll be fine and then lapses into a coma.
Doctors are brought in, medicine, surgery and blood transfusions are administered until finally are character hangs in a state of unconsciousness and drifts toward death.
As an outline for conflict in this novel, the basic premise of this story will work. Ask your self what's missing though?
Are character can still function although the dark days are drifting in. There is hope. All is being done to bring about a miraculous recovery. We're on the edge of our seats waiting to see whether life or death will win.
The problem; Do you really care?
You should be asking yourself right now why it matters either way? Why do I want this character to live or die? Why would anyone else?
Is it in her background and history?...Then you may have written the wrong story.
If it is part of the backstory; Why do we care right now?
What is invested in her living? Who stands to lose if she doesn't?
While the conflict in the story is the life or death struggle of the character, the life or death struggle your readers are interested in has more to do with the condition of the heart and mind of all your characters. It isn't paramount whether or not this character's heart keeps beating if the conflict in the story is only in the character's well being.
Its vulnerability. Yours, as the author. Your reader's as they read the scene. And finally, the characters in the book.
Authors such as Nicholas Sparks and Jody Picolt are masters at this concept. Their books are filled with external conflict, but more importantly they are swollen with characters you love, hate, hurt with and die for.
If you're writing a conflict type novel, either a romantic thriller, a human drama, or a suspense, Go check out the best writer's in those drama's and answer the above questions about their characters. Then go answer them about your own.
In the meantime keep reading and writing!