The inventor of the medical thriller shows us a healer's dark side: the terrifying story of a doctor who plunges into a web of corruption and lies
When Dr. Craig Bowman is served with a summons for medical malpractice, he's shocked, enraged, and more than a little humiliated. A devoted physician who works continuously in the service of others, he endured grueling years of training and is now a partner in an exclusive concierge medical practice. No longer forced to see more and more patients while spending less and less time with each one just to keep his office door open, he now provides the kind of medical care he is trained to do, lavishing twenty four hour availability and personalized attention on his handpicked patients. And at last, he is earning a significant income, no longer burdened by falling reimbursements from insurance companies. But this idyllic practice comes to a grinding halt one sunny afternoon and gets much, much worse.
Enter Dr. Jack Stapleton, a medical examiner in New York City and Bowman's brother in law: Jack's sister Alexis now Craig's estranged wife tearfully begs for his help as her husband's trial drags on. Jack agrees to travel to Boston to offer his forensic services and expert witness experience to Craig's beleaguered defense attorney. But when Jack's irreverent suggestion to exhume the corpse to disprove the alleged malpractice is taken seriously, he opens a Pandora's box of trouble. As Craig Bowman's life and career are put on the line, Jack is on the verge of making a most unwelcome discovery of tremendous legal and medical significance and there are people who will do anything to keep him from learning the truth.
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July 24, 2006
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Excerpt from Crisis by Robin Cook
All rise," the uniformed court officer called out as he emerged from the judge's chambers. He was holding a white staff.
Directly behind the bailiff appeared the judge, swathed in flowing black robes. He was a heavyset African American with pendulous jowls, graying, kinky hair, and a mustache. His dark, intense eyes cast a quick glance around his fiefdom as he mounted the two steps up to the bench with a forceful, deliberate gait. Reaching his chair, he turned to face the room, framed by the American flag to his right and the Massachusetts state flag to his left, both capped by eagles. With a reputation of fairness and sound knowledge of the law, but a quick temper, he was the embodiment of steadfast authority. Enhancing his stature, a concentrated band of bright morning sunlight penetrated the edge of the shades that were pulled down over the metal mullioned windows and cascaded over his head and shoulders, giving his outline a golden glow like that of a pagan god in a classical painting.
"Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye," the court officer continued in his baritone, Boston-accented voice. "All persons having anything to do before the honorable justices of the Superior Court now sitting at Boston and in the County of Suffolk draw near, give your attendance, and you shall be heard. God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Be seated!"
Reminiscent of the effect of the conclusion of the national anthem at a sporting event, the bailiff's final command initiated a murmur of voices as everyone in Courtroom 314 took their seats. While the judge rearranged the papers and water pitcher before him, the clerk sitting at a desk directly below the bench called out, "The estate of Patience Stanhope et al. versus Dr. Craig Bowman. The Honorable Justice Marvin Davidson presiding."
With a studied motion, the judge snapped open an eyeglasses case and slipped on his rimless reading spectacles, positioning them low on his nose. He then looked over the tops at the plaintiff's table and said, "Will counsels identify themselves for the record." In contrast to the bailiff, he had no accent, and his voice was in the bass range.
"Anthony Fasano, Your Honor," the plaintiff's attorney said quickly with an accent not too dissimilar to the bailiff's as he rose from his chair to a half-standing position as if supporting a heavy weight on his shoulders. "But most people call me Tony." He gestured first to his right. "I'm here on behalf of the plaintiff, Mr. Jordan Stanhope." He then gestured to his left. "Next to me is my able colleague, Ms. Renee Relf." He then quickly regained his seat as if he was too shy to be in the spotlight.