Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Discovery by Louis Kraft, Robert Goodman

"The yarn is action filled and a great study in the psychological price paid by a defendant in a malpractice suit. The authors mesmerize their readers as they skillfully capture the devastating experience and anxieties endured by Dr. Chapman and his wife. [...] I have to admit that The Discovery has all the polish and finish that we would expect from more experienced authors and is a fine accomplishment." - Norm, Goodreads


In THE DISCOVERY by Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft, a young obstetrician/gynecologist delivers a premature baby after attending a dinner party. The child survives the delivery, but complications lead to a malpractice lawsuit two decades later.

In 1952, a pregnant seventeen-year-old gives birth in a Los Angeles hospital. Two nurses attend to the young woman while they wait for the doctor on call to arrive for the delivery. Dr. Harry Chapman arrives at the hospital clearheaded but with alcohol on his breath. The premature baby is born blue and placed in an incubator. The nurses turn the oxygen to the level recommended to pediatricians for preemies the year before to prevent blindness. When the baby’s color doesn’t change, Harry instructs the nurses to turn the oxygen up to maximum. They protest, but Harry insists that the nurses comply to save the baby from brain damage or death.

In 1972, Greg Weston, a twenty-year-old paralegal meets a young woman who works with a renowned pediatrician. When she questions the attractive young man about his blindness, Greg reveals that his adoptive parents told him he was born blind. After agreeing to see the doctor Gail works for, Greg becomes aware that his blindness may have occurred as a result of physician error. Greg requests his medical records from the hospital and the adoption agency, and he finds that the hospital records tell a different story about what took place after his birth. In both records, Dr. Harry Chapman is indicated as the doctor who delivered him. Greg shares his findings with a partner in his law firm, and they build a case against Dr. Chapman based on fraudulent changes in the hospital records, which allows the statute of limitations to be thrown out.

After Harry receives word that he is being sued, his attorney advises him that the malpractice insurance he carried in 1952 will not cover even a fraction of the multimillion-dollar lawsuit. The stress and uncertainty of the case, along with the accusation of fraud, breaks Harry, leading him down a road of depression and alcohol dependence. As Harry’s wife, Helen, watches her husband deteriorate, she makes an unthinkable choice to put an end to the plaintiff’s case.

In THE DISCOVERY, the authors connect the lives of two individuals across two decades, exposing vulnerabilities, bitterness, and frailties. As the case moves forward, a key witness’s testimony alters the lives of both men.

In writing THE DISCOVERY, Goodman and Kraft’s intentions were to offer readers multidimensional characters with real-world problems and to bring awareness to the severe affect malpractice lawsuits can have on physicians’ professional and personal lives.

by Dr. Robert S. Goodman, Co-Author

The reason I wrote the novel is complex. First I recalled an incident 40 years ago that caught my attention.

I received a call from the L.A. County Medical Association. They were seeking donations to help defend a pediatrician being sued for millions of dollars, he had $25,000 in malpractice insurance. He faced ruin professionally and financially. I never forgot it.

Finally, I decided it might make a great novel. What happens to a doctor in this circumstance, what happens to his profession, his wife and people around him, it would be devastating.

Then secondly I wanted to give readers an insight into the world of malpractice.

How it is initiated, the depositions, the investigations, the courtroom drama, and the testimonies and expert witnesses.

I think the novel does that and could greatly interest the reader.

When asked, what motivated me to become a doctor, it was simple. As a child my family had us cared for by a pediatrician in Los Angeles. I never forgot him, his name was Dr. Creed Cherry. A fiery tough doctor from the south. I loved him. He always smiled and examined me thoroughly, often slapping me on the ass as I left. At age 12, I already knew that I wanted to be a doctor and worked hard for years in preparation. I even turned down my father, a wealthy businessman who wanted me to join him in his business. I could have been far richer, but I never regretted my decision.

I created the characters easily. Greg, the blind man was based on a patient of mine, blind, intelligent and good looking. 

Dr. Chapman, was based on one of my old UCLA medical school internist professors. He was tall, dark, handsome and very bright.

He always dressed well in either a blue suit or a professors long white coat. Dr. Chapman's wife reminded me of Elizabeth Taylor, gorgeous, sexy and always loaded with expensive jewelry. I remember as an intern at UCLA, her private doctor had her in the hospital. At a teaching hospital, even the private patients were to be seen by the house staff. He told me to go in and examine her. 

So with my white shirt, tie and white coat, I entered her room, as I approached her she screamed "get that kid out of here".

My favorite character Sid Shapiro was made up from one of my uncles, who I adored. he was Jewish, short, fat and bald. 

A highly successful lawyer, confident and a close friend of Dr. Chapman, who also had a great sense of humor.

About the authors:
Author/historian Louis Kraft has focused his energy on producing work that highlights racism and the human experience of people who have put their lives on the line to prevent war. He has written articles for magazines, including Research Review and Wild West, as well as fiction (The Final Showdown) and nonfiction (Gatewood & Geronimo) books. Kraft returned to fiction writing when he collaborated with Robert S. Goodman on The Discovery.

Robert S. Goodman, MD has been in private practice since 1966, specializing in internal medicine. During his fifty-plus-year career, Goodman has been involved in hospital politics and served as chief of staff at Encino Hospital Medical Center. Dr. Goodman’s experience testifying as an expert witness in defense of hospitals and doctors contributed to his interest in writing The Discovery.

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