EVIDENCE by Neil Ravin


Email this review


A hotshot sawbones bites the dust when fellow medics reveal his gross incompetence: Ravin's fourth medical thriller (M.D., Informed Consent, Seven North), and his most sluggish. Evidence brings together two of Ravin's previous protagonists: the libidinous Dr. Bill Ryan of M.D., and popular, low-key internist Ben Abrams, of Seven North. While Ryan mainly tells jokes and chases skirts, Abrams narrates what is apparently meant to be the harrowing tale of Dr. Tom McIlhenny, new chief of surgery at St. George's Hospital in Washington, D.C. McIlhenny has all the right credentials (Harvard Medical School, Mass. General), but the man's a butcher--he botches simple thyroid surgery. contributes to the death of a three-year-old child who's in for an uncomplicated operation, and fouls up a heart-valve job on one of Abrams' patients, a bus driver (the man has a stroke). Naturally, the powers-that-be at the hospital don't want to upset the status quo, even after Ryan and Abrams collect evidence of McIlhenny's incompetence. All changes, though, when Abrams discovers that his beloved former history teacher is going to let McIlhenny perform open-heart surgery on him. Abrams spirits the man away to Dr. Ann Payson, the brilliant young surgeon who is also Abrams' lover; in the most satisfying scene in the novel, she successfully fixes the teacher's heart, while an enraged McIlhenny rants and raves helplessly. He does bring Ann up on charges, but Abrams and Ryan use this as an opportunity to expose his unfitness to a medical board, and McIlhenny is banished to the outer darkness. Much less involving than Ravin's previous novels; insider medical lore is kept at an unfortunate minimum this time around--and what's left is a too-familiar anticlimatic tale that could've used a little radical surgery itself.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
Publisher: Scribners