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For medical-exposÉ readers who are veterans of Intern and its many fictional descendants, there'll be few oohs and ahs about a sturdily crafted doctor book that zeroes in on a single case of alleged malpractice and stops along the way to take in Medicaid gyps, malpractice insurance, hospital incompetence, doctor greed, doctor strikes, and the pros and cons of socialized medicine. But sturdily crafted it is, even slightly over-crafted, as nice Dr. Harry Norton decides to try to save a life by operating on nice Herman Wexler before being 100% certain that Herman has cancer (thus violating the #1 doctor rule--""Before you do anything else, cover your ass""). When Herman, who didn't have cancer, dies soon after this surgery, his tough daughter slaps Dr. Harry with a malpractice suit--via Harry's med-school buddy Moe Michener, who was too rebellious and crazy for hospital bureaucracy or hypocritical Hippocratic oaths and so became an M.D.'d lawyer specializing in malpractice. Flashbacks give us Moe's breakdown and the woman whom both Moe and Harry love--independent Dr. Karen--as well as some gruesome stuff, like a savage abortion. Back in the present, there's more gruesomeness at Herman's autopsy, there's Harry's stumble into true love, and there's a highly foreseeable conclusion that leaves the good guys unscathed. At its best (if most obvious) when being technical or issue-oriented, but workmanlike and awfully likable throughout.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1978
Publisher: Lippincott