Normally very healthy, Helen Cabot was grateful for the routine D&C she received after Christmas. The routine procedure was performed to relieve the overwhelming pain she had each month during her cycle and it was rare for complications to occur. Unfortunately, this time she was one of the few who had complications, and within days after her surgery, she developed unexpected symptoms. She experienced debilitating concerns that only lasted for a brief period of time, but her fever, difficulty speaking, pain and dizziness were worrisome.
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Fortunately, the symptoms disappeared very quickly and she was hopeful that she was on the mend. In order to placate her wealthy parents, she agreed to what she thought was an unnecessary appointment with a neurologist. However, the results of that appointment were more than a little terrifying and the diagnosis of cancer was shocking.
Following a sports injury, Howard Pace recovered fairly normally, with the exception of an unexpected reaction to general anesthesia. As he returned to his normal life as a very successful businessman, he experienced migraines and severe nausea. After consulting with his own specialist, he was also diagnosed with brain cancer.
Recovering in the hospital following surgery on his prostate and still heavily medicated, Louis Martin had a surprising conversation with a medical professional who cleverly avoided answering his questions. She administered a vial of medicine to him and left the room, allowing him to fall asleep again. Assuming it was antibiotics or another common medication, he did not realize what drug was currently racing through his veins.
Norma Kaylor had advanced breast cancer and was receiving in-patient chemotherapy, following a radical mastectomy. As an otherwise healthy woman in her early 30's, she was determined to fight her illness. In addition, after her enforced stay in a hospital, she had also learned that privacy was often a moot point and that she should consider the constant visits from a variety of medical specialists a necessary aspect of her care.
Therefore, when her door opened, she barely gave them so much as a side glance. That was a mistake and within minutes she had been given an experimental medication. It began by paralyzing her entire body, compromising her oxygen flow and providing overwhelming pain as she died.
What to Do?
As friends and co-workers in a busy hospital, Sean Murphy and Peter Colbert are medical students who have made bets on a variety of different things over the years. In the most recent instance, there was a small gamble that the beautiful nurse Janet Reardon would not date Sean. When he wins that bet, he is unprepared for the serious relationship that Janet expected, which meant that he was thrilled to receive an opportunity to attend a necessary elective some distance away. When he arrived ,however, his hopes of hands-on work with the cancers are dashed.
Believing that he had dodged the proverbial bullet, he is not thrilled that Janet also took the same offer he had..However, the opportunity to observe or participate in ground-breaking research is tempting to both of them and their relationship continues both professionally and personally. In addition, they also notice some concerning aspects of the treatment and questions arise about the legality, morality and accuracy of the treatment being given. Each patient who experienced the same symptoms had identical experiences, starting with a surgery, progressing to encephalitis and eventually a diagnosis of cancer.
Instead of leaving when the elective ends, Janet and Sean decide to stay and investigate the suspicious aspects of the research. Unfortunately, there are some very wealthy people who want that data to stay under wraps and they are willing to kill to do so. At the same time, physicians, the medical board and even the law want them to stop their work.
Finally, after numerous close calls and being virtually hunted, important information is discovered. One of the physicians working at Forbes Medical Center is insane and has been killing every women with breast cancer through the use of a very powerful medication. His motivation was that his dead mother who had died after breast cancer was telling him to do so. He was very close to his mother, which was not difficult given that he kept her dead body in his freezer, so he was never far from her. His issues contributed to, but did not cause the research dilemma that is going on.
The other conclusion is less human and more medically based. Doctors Levy and Mason have been working together to create a virulent type of cancerous tumor. Patients who have recently received surgery are their favorite guinea pigs and their goal ostensibly is to be able to research the medication and the cancer so that the cure could be accessed. Unfortunately, they killed to do so and ultimately Dr. Levy committed suicide during a statement to the press, at which Sean and Peter were mocked, booed and humiliated because nobody believed their statements. As they proved their results and given the unexpected suicide of a seemingly normal physician, Sean and Peter gain approval for their work by the general public and the medical board.
Best part of story, including ending:
I was saddened by the intensity of hatred, fear and emotions that our leading men experienced and how difficult it was for Sean and Peter to obtain information that is stored at the facility where they had privileges.
Best scene in story:
It was confusing when hostages appeared to be taken as leverage, but in reality our heroes were trying to obtain extra time in the lab to diagnose the causes of the illnesses that had manifested. They were offered a variety of different items, including a visit with family members. The fact that nobody realized that negotiating with an intelligent and informed medical student might be different from negotiating with a bank or convenience store robber seemed at best inappropriate and at worst, a lack of training.
Opinion about the main character:
Although arguably her role is not as significant as the doctors, Janet is a great character. Her nursing skills were crucial to the recovery and it was her idea to stay when everyone left and find out what was going on. Frankly, the entire cure and discovery of the nefarious acts could be credited to her. I do feel as if she should have been given more credit.