THE PRICE OF A LIFE: One Woman's Death from Toxic Shock by Tom Riley

THE PRICE OF A LIFE: One Woman's Death from Toxic Shock

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Corporate villainy, human tragedy, courtroom drama--in the right hands an almost foolproof combination. When 25-year-old housewife and mother Pat Kehm died of Toxic Shock Syndrome while using Proctor & Gamble's Rely tampon, husband Mike asked attorney Riley to help him sue P&G. Riley's account of their battle--to establish the link between TSS and tampons, and to bring it into court--makes suspenseful and disturbing reading. Winning a case takes more than having right or even sympathy on your side, and Riley's pragmatic explanation of what he could and could not do, and the mistakes he sometimes made, here serves only to increase the reader's ultimate sense of triumph in his victory, Scientific testimony was hard to come by--P&G funded toxic shock research heavily, unavoidably influencing researchers if not their results, and the Center for Disease Control, which first investigated TSS, does not permit its staff to testify in court. Riley is particularly good on the perils of having key testimony in the hand (or mouth) of a maverick scientist, whose interest in TSS was initially prompted by his wife's concern about tampons. The exposure of P&G's strategy to avoid liability, and of the uneasy and imperfect way in which government and private industry finally agreed to deal with TSS, give this chronicle a universal message, but it's the human drama and suspense of the story that are going to get the message out. A non-fiction page-turner.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1986
Publisher: Adler & Adler--dist. by Harper & Row