While on call for the trauma service, third-year medical student Michael Higgins finds himself in an extraordinary situation. He is summoned to the ER to participate in the evaluation and management of a critically-injured patient and soon discovers that the unconscious man lying before him is the same man who, two months earlier, committed a heinous act of violence that shattered Michael’s personal life. Following a lengthy emergency operation, the patient—known only as John Doe—is now under the care of the trauma team, of which student doctor Mike Higgins is a member. As John Doe’s condition gradually improves, Higgins’ personal life deteriorates further, but there might be a way to reverse the downward spiral: if he sees to it that John Doe never leaves the hospital, Michael Higgins’ world may right itself.
I’m a former heart surgeon turned fiction writer. I write what can be described as medical mysteries, medical thrillers or novels of medical suspense, but I prefer to think of them as novels of surgical suspense.
What is surgical suspense? Surgeons, surgical diseases and the operating room are all inherently dramatic. As a former surgeon, I’ve experienced this drama first hand and thought it would make for good fiction. My surgery training took me from the knife-and-gun-club of LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, to the famed Bellevue Hospital in Midtown Manhattan. My education as a writer includes an MFA degree where I was mentored by New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane, among other accomplished faculty.
I know a lot about medicine and surgery, I know a lot about writing and storytelling, and I believe that combining this vast and unusual right-brain/left-brain experience will make for interesting reading and discussion, so please visit often.
... so third-year medical student Mike Higgins convinces himself that the only way to save his wife is to take matters into his own hands. But time is running out.
The Final Push
But John Doe didn’t die. Instead, over the past month he had improved, and as he got better, Lisa got worse. It was like he had tapped into her life force and was draining it. The drug-addled waste-of-life was slowly healing. The beautiful young woman full of promise was slowly dying. She ate very little, drank even less, and spent most of each day in bed. She’d lost an alarming amount of weight, her temples hollowed out, eyes sunken and ribs showing, as though she had metastatic cancer. Higgins had seen enough cancer patients succumb to the disease to know that Lisa’s current state—her failure to thrive—was not compatible with life, not for very long. But she refused intervention—from him, from her family, from anyone who loved her. So, as Higgins stood quietly at Doe’s bedside, with a nasogastric tube in one hand, and a syringe containing a lethal dose of potassium chloride in the other, he knew that this time he had to act. No more dry runs. It was his last night on call for the trauma service. Monday morning he’d start his psychiatry rotation, in a different hospital, blocks away. He’d no longer have access to John Doe.