Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Terminal Care

Phil Pescoe, the 37-year-old emergency physician at Deaconess Hospital in San Francisco, becomes alarmed by a dramatic increase in the number of deaths on the East Annex (the Alzheimer’s Ward). The deaths coincide with the initiation of a new drug study on the annex where a team of neurologists have been administering “NAF”—an experimental and highly promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease—to half of the patients on the ward.

Mysteriously, the hospital pushes forward with the study even though six patients have died since the start of the trial. Pescoe teams up with Clara Wong—a brilliant internist with a troubled past—to investigate the situation. Their inquiries lead them unwittingly into the cutthroat world of big-business pharmaceuticals, where they are threatened to be swept up and lost before they have the opportunity to discover the truth behind an elaborate cover-up.

With the death count mounting, Pescoe and Wong race against time to save the patients on the ward and to stop the drug manufacturer from unleashing a dangerous new drug on the general populace.

If you like medical thrillers, this one is definitely for you!  I found this to be a very good, solidly written book.  I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next and I was usually surprised.

As for the characters, I thought Phil was a pretty likeable guy.  Clara really stole the show for me.  I thought she was a lot of fun and exciting.  It made me wish Clara was my doctor!

This is one of those books that will make you think a lot and maybe make you a little bit uncomfortable about the medication that you take.  It spotlights the cozy relationship between the drug manufacturers and the testers and even the doctors.  The whole book is made more credible by the fact that the writer, Christopher Stookey, is a practicing ER (ED as we learn in the book!) physician.

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