I would like to introduce you to some Characters in Reducing the Cost of Healthcare (At the Cost of Health). This is a thriller novel about healthcare published by Kellan Publishing. Since it involves members of the medical profession, I should call it a medical thriller novel. Because it is a thriller novel, characters are in danger and have to take action. Please enjoy it as fiction, but beware that it suggests a direction our healthcare system might go if things go bad wrong. Perhaps it is already headed the wrong direction now that savings in costs are accomplished at the cost of our health.
In her post on the Kellan Blog, Livian Grey tells about developing the characters in her story. She wants to make her characters stronger. Similarly, I have enjoyed writing this thriller about a family immersed in healthcare because I was able to develop characters who not only were able to use their professional skills, but also able to use their intelligence to survive. How would you warn a family member to get out of town, pronto? If you had just been partially sedated when you got a warning to run for your life, what would you do?
The story starts after a family member dies on the operating without a medical explanation. The family looks for answers. When there is a second death, the scope of the investigation doubles.
Meet the two main characters. They are brothers:
James Conway, the patriarch of the family, is also the black sheep of the family. Rather than going into medicine, he became a school teacher. Of course, he is not completely ignorant of medicine. For all of his life, he has heard medicine discussed at the dinner table. He is grieving his wife and is alarmed about the information he is getting from his brother. There is reason to suspect his wife was murdered. His daughter who had the opportunity to examine the body closely confirms these suspicions.
Charles Conway is an emergency room doctor and chairman of his hospital’s Morality and Morbidity Board. He has become alarmed at the number of senior citizens who have recently died in his hospital. He shares this information with his brother James, and the two of them conclude James’ wife should not have died. Charles and his brother then lead the entire family in the search for evidence of murder.
As James grieves for his wife, Charles invites James for a run where they can not be overheard. Then he asks James what the surgeon said.
“Let see. He told me he was sorry he had bad news. He then told me she had died during the operation. He gave me some technical babble about how far he had progressed on the operation at which point she suffered cardiac arrest. He said the anesthesiologist could not bring her back.”
“Did he say anything about chest compression?”
“He said the assisting surgeon had started chest compression immediately upon the request of the anesthesiologist.”
“Chest compression is usually indicated for cardiac arrest, but of course they would have done chest compression even if they had intended to kill her.”
“What do you mean? Why would a surgical team have intended to kill her?”
Charles was silent as they ran.
James pressed the question. “Are you saying they may have killed her?”
“I’ve already said too much,” Charles said grimly.
“But you asked me for information.”
“Yes, and I wanted your story just in case I missed something. I did not intend to express any opinion about intent to kill.”
“But you did. Is there something I don’t know that I should?”
An except from Chapter 1
Other characters include James’ remaining family:
- Daughter Amy, a medical illustrator.
- Amy’s son, Adam, who is a first year medical student.
- Son Wes, an engineer who designs artificial joints.
Members of Charles’ family who are characters include:
- Wife Claudia, a retired nurse.
- Son Michael, a cardiologist
- Son Peter, a pharmacist
- Daughters, Andi, Rachael, and Laura; all nurses
As the entire family gets involved, they turn up plenty of evidence. Of course the reader probably expects that once Charles and James know too much, the villains will want Charles and James dead. Please be prepared to duck when the bullets fly.
When danger threatens, one can always hide in the mountains, but hiding has its own risks. It is winter, and both James and Charles have medical problems. Can the brothers survive winter in the mountains of New Mexico or will evidence be lost when they die?
~ Reynold Conger
Get your copy of Reducing Medical Costs (At the Cost to Health).
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