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Fatal Cure (1994)

por Robin Cook

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1,1231013,675 (3.38)4
Public health care is one of the most important issues in America today. Now Robin Cook, the bestselling master of medical suspense, confronts this controversial subject with an all-too-possible scenario as powerful--and terrifying--as his groundbreaking blockbuster, Coma. With its state-of-the-art facility and peaceful Vermont setting, the Bartlet Community Hospital seemed like a dream come true. It offered doctors David and Angela Wilson new career opportunities, a chance to work within an enlightened system of "Managed care" and a perfect place to raise their daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis. But then, one by one, their dreams turned to nightmares. And day by day, their patients began to die.… (mais)
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I have read several books by Robin Cook because I find the medical aspects interesting, most of the time. I took this one from the book box at Starbucks because I wanted some escape reading, frankly. Good thing I wasn't looking for something earthshaking medically.

As is often the case with Cook, the hospital system is under attack. The hospital in this case is in bed with a new HMO, and the HMO calls the shots. Meaning no consultations with professionals outside the network, no "unnecessary" admittances to the hospital, encouragement to cut short times with patients, and so on. A litany of issues we have heard about (or experienced) before.

The HMO issues are the background for the mystery here. Certain patients, who come in for minor issues, are dying unexpectedly. Except that their deaths are not entirely unexpected because they have histories of serious illnesses: cancers, diabetes, other longterm issues that can crop up again. Some doctors are concerned and express that concern but others, and the nursing staff, don't see problems. Symptoms are remarkably similar.

When David and Angela Wilson join the teams (Angela as pathologist for the hospital, David as doctor for the HMO), they are excited about the small city, the clean air, the lack of traffic, the potential for a good life, especially for their daughter, who is afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis.

But it isn't long before they both run into issues. Angela faces sexual harrassment from her supervisor while David faces these strange deaths of his patients. He notes that the symptoms are similar to each other and even when he brings in specialists nobody can find a cause. However, because of the previous illnesses, even the specialists are willing to accept the deaths as "normal". David initially has doubts about his ability as a doctor, but finally comes to realize it isn't his doing. It takes some time for him to come to this conclusion, however.

But what really is happening? and why?

Adding to the complications is the grisly discovery in the family's new house.

It's a story. It hangs together. There is the usual cast of evil characters, primarily administrative types. And there is the usual crusading doctor, David, who is a little less than an understanding husband much of the time. In fact, the discussions between husband and wife often jump to defensiveness and accusations rather quickly. I didn't buy the simplified characters, but that is typical for Cook. The overall story takes precedence.

It's good enough for the airplane.
( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
Medical mystery thriller - Like junk food, a Robin Cook is a treat once in a while. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
A hospital struggles to make budget after signing a capitation agreement with a HMO. Meanwhile patients begin mysteriously dying as a new doctor struggles to balance patient care with the demands to lower costs and reduce consults & testing.

I found this to be quite suspenseful as is often the case with Robin Cook novels, the plot unfolds nicely as does the escalating problems had by the doctors in the story before coming to a nice finale. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Mar 29, 2017 |
In Fatal Cure, David and Angela Wilson are young doctors who have relocated to Vermont to work in a state of the art medical facility while raising their daughter, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. All is not as happy as it seems in this little small town Nirvana. The hospital is in financial trouble due to a contract with an HMO. Patients are dying unexpectedly, and the people at the hospital don’t care.

This novel is very heavy handed in its approach. It’s more about making political statements than telling a good story. This is something that Robin Cook suffers from. He often has good ideas, but his prose and storytelling is weak, as evidenced in this story. Ultimately the story is really about the current situation with healthcare and medical insurance, and not a tale of intriguing fiction. This was a weak novel, one that I would recommend skipping.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street ( )
  Carl_Alves | Mar 2, 2017 |
From Publishers Weekly If Cook's skills as a writer were as finely tuned as his sense of timing, his 14th medical thriller (after Terminal ) would be a lot more rewarding. Current political events guarantee that a suspense novel centering on health care management will be topical and at least potentially fascinating. Unfortunately, stock characters, stilted dialogue and improbable heroes and villains make for difficult reading here. Idealistic young doctors David and Angela Wilson take positions at a state-of-the-art medical center in a small Vermont town partly because they see it as an ideal spot for their daughter, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. But the town is not as idyllic as it seems, and the hospital is in a desperate financial bind due primarily to its contract with a local HMO, David's new employer. Worse still, patients are dying unexpectedly almost daily, and no one seems to care very much. The deaths are not normal, of course, and astute readers will quickly determine who is behind them, why and--most likely--how. Cook raises troubling questions about the conflicts between medical and financial priorities in managed care (albeit in a somewhat distorted fashion), but it's difficult to get emotionally involved in a scenario as improbable as this one. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection; Mystery Guild alternate; Reader's Digest Condensed Book.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Recent medical school graduates David and Angela Wilson find the perfect setting for both their careers and family in rural Bartlet, Vermont. Not even the recent suicide and disappearance of two other physicians dampen their enthusiasm as they begin their jobs and buy their dream house. David's confidence is soon shaken, however, as his patients begin dying-not from their terminal diseases but from a mysterious illness. The deaths, coupled with attacks in the hospital parking lot, give the Wilsons the uneasy feeling that Bartlet is not what it seems. When a gruesome discovery prompts the Wilsons to hire a private investigator, the lives of several patients-and they themselves-are in danger. Physician and writer Cook once again terrifies and intrigues with this realistic and intense-to-the-end thriller, which is enhanced by actor Barry Bostwick's remarkable range of voices. For most popular collections.
Susan McCaffrey, Legg Middle Sch. Lib., Coldwater, Mich.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
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This book is dedicated to the spirit of health-care reform and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. It is my fervent hope that they need not be mutually exclusive.
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February seventeenth was a fateful day for Sam Flemming.
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Public health care is one of the most important issues in America today. Now Robin Cook, the bestselling master of medical suspense, confronts this controversial subject with an all-too-possible scenario as powerful--and terrifying--as his groundbreaking blockbuster, Coma. With its state-of-the-art facility and peaceful Vermont setting, the Bartlet Community Hospital seemed like a dream come true. It offered doctors David and Angela Wilson new career opportunities, a chance to work within an enlightened system of "Managed care" and a perfect place to raise their daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis. But then, one by one, their dreams turned to nightmares. And day by day, their patients began to die.

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