~ S P E C I A L ~ F E A T U R E ~


"Is It Humane?"

~ an excerpt from the new book ~

NOBLE VISION

by Gen LaGreca

INTRODUCTION

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 system.

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 Vision, 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 received none.

"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 trials!"

"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 society.


About the Book

NOBLE VISION
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:
http://www.wingedvictorypress.com 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 corruption.

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.

ENDORSEMENTS

"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 system!"
-- 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 and delights."
-- Edith Packer, JD, PhD, psychologist

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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.