When a newcomer author is able to showcase a promising talent and polished writing skills right from her debut novel, reading becomes a refreshing experience, and even more invigorating when that author diligently incorporates in her work a flair for drama and the realism of a memoir. It’s Nothing Personal, medical-legal thriller authored by Sherry Gorman, MD, and initially published under the pen name of Kate O’Reilley, is a work of fiction, but it’s deeply rooted in the author’s knowledge of the medical field and personal involvement in an unjust malpractice lawsuit.
The storyline is quite bone chilling. During her employment at St. Augustine Hospital, surgical scrub tech and hepatitis C carrier Hillary Martin has infected a cluster of patients by injecting herself with a narcotic drug and replacing the dirty syringes, refilled with saline solution, back on the anesthesiologists’ cart. As a consequence of her heinous acts, some of the doctors have been unknowingly injecting a lethal virus into their patients’ bloodstreams. Hillary is arrested and prosecuted for tampering and diversion of narcotics, but her crime has serious repercussions on the reputation of the hospital and some of its anesthesiologists, exposing them to lawsuits from the infected patients. When Dr. Jenna Reiner is formally sued, her emotions range from guilt and shame to anger, disbelief, and revulsion. She cannot get rid of the feeling that the hospital administration is covering up information with the intention of using its anesthesiologists as scapegoats. Jenna feels vulnerable and scared, but she is not willing to settle with unfair accusations and exorbitant requests of compensation; the stigma on her reputation as a doctor and her family would simply be too big to bear, even if that means conducting an extenuating legal crusade and facing one of the most aggressive and nasty malpractice attorneys in the state.
The Verdict: I am not able to tell exactly how much the novel is an accurate account of true events nor where the author added a coat of fictional sheen to the narration, but judging from the way Gorman illustrates tactical aspects of the legal battle, dramatic out-of-court deposition scenes, and traumatic feelings the protagonist experiences throughout her ordeal, the novel seems to be painfully anchored in emotional authenticity and intimate knowledge of legal facts. Only one who is acutely aware of the toll a diligent doctor has to pay in order to defend her professional reputation, her personal honor, her family’s well-being against money-hungry lawyers, corrupt institutions, and ruthless media ‘vultures’ can deliver such a powerful and convincing tale. The result is a very absorbing and riveting read. Five stars.
Release Date: January 14, 2013
Publisher : Quandary Publishing, LLC
Author: Sherry Gorman, MD (aka Kate O’Reilley)