~ S P E C I A L ~ F E A T U R E ~
"Is It Humane?"
~ an excerpt from the new book ~
by Gen LaGreca
The excerpt, below, is from the new book, Noble Vision, a thinking
person's thriller that blends medicine, romance, and individualism.
Noble Vision is the story of brain surgeon David Lang,
on trial for performing unauthorized surgery under a state-run healthcare
This excerpt involves a confrontation between protagonist Dr. David
Lang and Dr. Alice Cook, director of medical research at the Bureau
of Medicine (BOM). The BOM manages New York State's healthcare program,
CareFree, which all medical facilities and practitioners were forced
to adopt in the near past. Dr. David Lang has just presented arguments
for funding his research, which promises to revolutionize the treatment
of brain and spine injuries using a process for regenerating injured
nerve tissue. It is up to the BOM to decide whether or not to allow
this research to proceed.
Author Genevieve "Gen" LaGreca holds degrees in chemistry and philosophy.
She has worked as a pharmaceutical chemist, business owner, and healthcare
writer. She writes accurately about the human brain for those who enjoy using
theirs. More information about the author and the book, Noble
follows the excerpt. Enjoy!
"Is It Humane?"
by Gen LaGreca
Dr. Alice Cook stepped behind the podium, as if to maintain
a barrier between her and the green eyes [of David Lang]
staring insolently from a seat at the table.
"Dr. Lang, after careful consideration, the committee finds
that although your work is valuable, it regrettably falls
outside the scope of our more pressing social needs. Many
people now question the wisdom of spending large sums for
the benefit of a small minority when the majority funding
universal health care has other concerns. We must weigh the
relative value to society of offering one ground-breaking
surgery to the few individuals needing it against
providing, for example, one thousand pairs of contact
lenses to those needing better vision."
Dr. Cook paused as if expecting a polite nod from David but
"You know, of course, that your research has been attempted
by countless others and always ended in failure, despite
the initially promising outcome of a few isolated
experiments. I'm afraid we have a responsibility to
allocate public funds for projects benefiting more people
and having greater chances of success."
David scanned the faces of committee members, who nodded in
agreement. Like a jury in the presence of a judge, the
others let Dr. Cook do the talking.
"Unfortunately, our budget is limited, and for every
project we approve, there are twenty we must decline," Dr.
Cook continued. "However, we want to thank you, Dr. Lang,
for the opportunity to consider your research. Please feel
free to submit other proposals to us. And we wish you
success in your career."
Dr. Cook smiled, but David did not return the courtesy.
"Frankly, Dr. Cook," he said, his voice solemn, his eyes
intense, "I don't want the public to fund my research. I
don't want to have to fit in with what this committee
thinks it needs or feels will succeed. I just want to be
left alone to finish my work. I want to procure laboratory
animals and conduct experiments at my own expense or with
the aid of investors as a private venture. I'm prepared to
do that. Now if my work doesn't cost the public a dime,
then this committee should not have the power to object."
"But we do have that power, Dr. Lang. You know the law," replied Dr. Cook. Her voice remained coolly polite, despite
the flush that formed on her cheeks. "Animals are
protected. Their use in research is limited to projects
approved by the state. We can't allow anyone who feels like
it to butcher animals. That wouldn't be humane."
"Is it humane to squash seven years of research and stand
in the way of progress?"
"It's not progress, Dr. Lang, when researchers go off half-cocked and
are unaccountable to society," said Dr. Cook, her voice rising.
"To conduct animal experiments without the proper authorization
would be a serious infraction of the law."
One person folded his glasses into a case; another reached
for her purse. Dr. Cook gathered her papers. The meeting
was over for all but David.
"Where does that leave me and the thousands of patients who
would want my new procedure, Dr. Cook? Would these patients
think it humane of you to spare the animals and prevent me
from properly testing the treatment on them first?"
"You know perfectly well that I don't mean you can
experiment on humans instead. You first have to complete
the animal trials."
"But thanks to this committee, I can't do the animal
"To perform your procedure and use your untested drugs on a
human subject without first obtaining exhaustive animal
studies and the proper regulatory approvals could expose
you to serious consequences, Dr. Lang, including loss of
your license" -- Dr. Cook's voice dropped -- "and even
charges of manslaughter. Consider yourself warned."
David sprang from his chair and approached the podium to
retrieve the briefcase he had left there. He walked unduly
close to the petite woman, his tall form towering over her,
his face hot with anger, his voice heavy with contempt."Seven people sitting in a room don't have the right to
tell me how to do my work. Seven people don't have the
right to deny thousands of patients a treatment they'd want
to have. Seven people can't run medicine for the rest of
us, Dr. Cook!"
Cool air rushed into the stuffy room as David swung the
door open and left.
About the Author
Author Genevieve "Gen" LaGreca holds a BS cum laude in
chemistry from Polytechnic Institute of New York and an MA
in philosophy from Columbia University. She has worked as a
pharmaceutical chemist, business owner, and staff writer
for a management consulting firm in the healthcare
industry. As the ghost-writer for renowned educators in the
healthcare field, Ms. LaGreca has written dozens of
magazine and newsletter articles that offer timely
commentaries on managed care and other business issues
facing medical professionals.
Her first novel, Noble Vision, was a finalist
in the Houston Manuscript Contest and garnered praise from Steve Forbes,
Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, economist and writer Walter Williams,
Past AMA President Edward Annis, and other influential thinkers. The
author's soon-to-be- published second novel was a semi-finalist in the
Pirate's Alley William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition. Both novels
offer a riveting plot and strong romance as they delve deeply into the
struggle of characters who seek freedom and individuality in a controlling
About the Book
by Gen LaGreca
Published by Winged Victory Press
(ISBN 0-9744579-4-9, 338 pages, soft cover, $14.95)
Available through this site or directly from the publisher:
or phone 1-800-844-2114.
Also available at bookstores, Laissez
Faire Books, and Amazon.com.
Distributed to the book trade by Biblio/NBN.
In a chilling medical suspense novel, author Gen LaGreca
creates two powerful characters -- Nicole Hudson, the
lovely ballerina who rose to stardom from a deprived
childhood only to have her life shattered by a tragic
accident, and Dr. David Lang, the impassioned neurosurgeon
who is determined to restore her health no matter what
price he must pay.
The trouble is that Lang's revolutionary treatment -- a way
of regrowing injured nerve tissue to cure paralysis and
other neurological disorders -- is rejected by New York's
state-run health system, CareFree, a bureaucracy bogged
down in budget overruns, red tape, and political
On one level, Noble Vision is a tightly plotted, beautifully
written story, with intense conflicts and startling twists -- pure entertainment.
On another level, it is a duel of conflicting ideologies, a struggle
between private care and socialized medicine. If the current health
care system has ever left you feeling frustrated, helpless, and afraid,
this book will tell you why.
"The defects of government-controlled medicine are
dramatized effectively in this page-turning story of the
love of a brilliant physician for a beautiful ballerina who
becomes his patient."
-- Milton Friedman, economist and Nobel laureate
"A gripping story from beginning to end, superimposed on the realities
of today's threats to quality medical care."
-- Edward Annis, MD, author of Code Blue,
Past President of the American Medical Association
"Salutary tale of what can happen to medical breakthroughs
if Big Government claws even deeper into our health care
-- Steve Forbes, President and CEO, Forbes magazine
"Noble Vision resembles an Ayn Rand novel -- only in
color rather than in stark black and white. It captivated me from beginning
to end. Its grim vision of the near future -- or is it the present?
-- of medicine is all too accurate."
-- Jane M. Orient, MD, author of Your Doctor Is Not In,
Exec. Director, Assoc. of American Physicians & Surgeons
"Genevieve LaGreca has given us an intriguing novel about
how unintended consequences of good intentions can have a
devastating impact on the healing professions."
-- Walter E. Williams, professor, George Mason University
"Noble Vision is a wonderful literary achievement. An extraordinary
hero, a tender love story, a fascinating medical discovery, and an intense
family conflict are dramatically interwoven in a plot that surprises
-- Edith Packer, JD, PhD, psychologist
Copyright (c) 2005 by Genevieve LaGreca. All Rights Reserved. Please feel
free to duplicate and distribute this file, as long as the excerpt is not altered
and this copyright notice is intact. Thank you.