Kindle Edition, 387 pages
Published January 14, 2013 by Quandary Publishing, LLC
Genre: medical thriller, legal thriller, suspense, contemporary novel
Rating: 5 stars
"Your identity [...] is not built upon your status as a physician. You're a mother and a wife. That's what defines you and gives you strength. Being a doctor is what you do, not what you are."
IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL by Sherry Gorman MD (aka Kate O'Reilley)
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 a more invigorating one when that author deftly 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 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 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 in their patients’ bloodstream. Hillary gets arrested and prosecuted for tampering and diversion of narcotics, but her crime has serious repercussions also on the reputation of the hospital and some of its anesthesiologists, exposing them to law-suits 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 infamous 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.
I am not able to tell exactly to which extent the novel is an accurate account of true events and in what measure 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 experienced by the protagonist throughout her ordeal, the novel seems to be painfully anchored in emotional authenticity and intimate knowledge of legal facts. Only someone 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.