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Brier Hospital Series

Chilling Medical Thriller Novels

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FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW: His Medical Hubris Harms His Patients

“What a wonderful medical novel! I was spellbound, could hardly put it down. The drama was intense, and I even liked the love story, slim as it was. The lives of the other major characters seemed believable and significant.”

This is the first book in the Brier Hospital Series. If you believe that television, movies, or medical fiction, accurately portray what it's like to be an acute care physician or a critically ill patient in a hospital today, think again. Doctor Joseph Polk is an intelligent, charismatic, and a powerful member of the medical staff at Brier Hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he's killing his patients. No gun, knife, poison, or drug injected into their intravenous tubing, common plot lines in medical thrillers, and he doesn't plan to kill them. They die anyway because this once brilliant physician, a functional psychopath for most of his career, has decompensated. Nurses and front-line physicians see Polk's indifference, incompetence, and stubborn cruelty, but the medical staff and the hospital administration are willfully blind. Patients suffer, and worse. Jack Byrnes, finally completing his training in Intensive Care Medicine, joins the staff at Brier Hospital. Well prepared to care for patients, Jack is woefully unprepared when he runs smack into Joe Polk, the medical staff, and the hospital's administration. The strength of “First Do No Harm” lies in the authenticity of the medical setting and the struggles of patients and physicians. Joe Polk is a very different kind of villain.

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First, Do No Harm

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This Brier Hospital series novel is a mystery, suspense thriller involving Abbie Adler, a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Abbie, a victim of abuse herself, has the insights needed to make her an effective therapist. In addition, she treats adults in individual and group therapy sessions for a broad range of psychiatric problems including depression, personality disorders, psychopathy, and malignant narcissism. On a December evening, the Berkeley Police find Abbie sitting in her car at Inspiration Point overlooking the East Bay of San Francisco. She’s bruised and catatonic. They transport her to Brier Hospital where they admit her to the psychiatric ward. The nature of her condition, and its cause, remain a mystery. After standard treatments fail, her psychiatrist recommends electroshock therapy. Finally, she awakens but remembers nothing of the month preceding. In addition, she discovers significant memory gaps from the past few years. Abbie had been treating two victims of the Chabot rapist who targeted girls and as she’s making progress in their care, unbelievably, someone abducts and strangles them. Their deaths devastate Abbie. During Abbie’s difficult recovery, memories of past events gradually return. They are fragmentary and torture her with memory flashes and nightmares. Gradually, she begins to suspect that one of her adult patients may be the strangler. When the police find Abbie’s prime suspect brutally murdered, both she and the police are befuddled. Abbie struggles to discover the identity of the strangler and those who may be abetting his actions. Will he/they get away with it?

FROM FIVE STAR REVIEW: SENSITIVE TOPICS

“This book has some very sensitive topics but sometimes these topics need to be addressed. The author wrote a wonderful crime thriller that kept you on your toes every minute. I couldn't put the book down. It just kept those pages turning and turning. Abbie Adler, the psychiatrist in the book and the main character was very realistic and you just had to like her. My problem with her was, why did she keep going on with these clients who totally didn't want her help, they were playing games. They didn't give her all the information she needed. I think she was just too good for her own good. Maybe she was trying to help someone who had gone through what she had. Hoping that it wouldn't happen again. That to me is unrealistic. It has happened for years and will continue to happen. There are those people out there that are either sick, demented or just get off by these horrible acts. Some don't want help. Some take the help but don't improve. The characters seemed to click together. There was this bond between some of them. The ending was nothing like I expected. I was truly surprised and amazed. Another good Brier Hospital Series book.”

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Tortured Memory

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FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW:

“I started and finished this book in one day. I am an avid reader of mysteries. As a retired nurse, medical mysteries grab my attention before all others. The plot for this book is not only superb, it is a 10 star work in that we have more than one mystery, and all of it is woven together so well, we never loose track. The characters are totally believable and so well written that I can relate to them all. This book grabs your attention and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.

I was going to add something about the culprit here, but decided I did not want to wreck the intrigue of the book. Jacob and his wife Lola, well, if they were real, I would love to have them for parents, they are that well written.

When I selected “No Cure for Murder” as my next read, I did not realize I had already read one of Dr. Gold's books. I was almost finished No Cure when I decided to look at the list of what he wrote. Lo and behold, I saw “First Do No Harm,” and that I had not only read that one, but reviewed it as well.

I plan on reading more books by this author. His work is just totally amazing! Buy both the above mentioned books and you will never be sorry.”

Death at Brier Hospital is routine and provides the perfect opportunity to murder and get away with it. Jacob Weizman, a physician, and his wife, Lola, a psychotherapist, are holocaust survivors and need no proof of evil in this world. Jacob and Lola are unique protagonists. They’re octogenarians who take the fear out of getting old. Their intelligence, competence, humor, and sense of history make them appealing in a world that too often disdains the aged. After fifty-five years practicing medicine, Jacob is disappointed, but not surprised by several patients’ deaths, even the unexpected ones. Soon, however, it becomes clear that a killer is stalking the halls of Brier Hospital targeting Jacob’s patients. While Jacob has made enemies over the years, he finds it inconceivable that anyone would murder his patients for revenge. The killings mount even as the hospital and police increase security and pursue a vigorous investigation. Finally, unsatisfied with surrogates, the killer targets Jacob.

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No Cure for Murder

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FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW: A Thrilling Medical Suspense Novel that Kept Me on the Edge of My Chair Rapidly Flipping Pages from Beginning to End! Enjoy!

“Every once in a while I am blessed to have read so many great books and use so many great products that I press forward to experience the next without taking the time to review them immediately. That was the case with Doctor Lawrence W. Gold's book "The Plague Within."

This is a book about people who are truly ingenious and on the front edge of medical technology that will change the course of humanity. It is also a book about egos that are bigger than life.

Life saving discoveries are discovered and pushed before their time and accelerated to limits much too soon to safely evaluate their side effects on human beings.

Jack Byrnes, Medical Director at Berkeley Brier Hospital ICU and his wife Beth, the head ICU nurse are concerned with their Patient Rachel Palmer and are excited with technology that has helped her recover at a rapid, unheard of rate.

Greed, egos, overconfidence and shortcuts give way to reality and create an unnecessary catastrophe that makes for a believable stress filled and haunting suspense novel that I had trouble putting down.

Who, if anyone will come forward to report unethical harmful experiments and applications that could result in unnecessary procedures that will claimed the lives of unexpected victims and threaten more.

The Plague Within is an intriguing, breathtaking story written by a medical doctor who leaves the reader wondering if this set of circumstances could or will happen in the stage of human need to play God.

This author's writing skills and ability to tell a believable fast-paced storyline kept me on the edge of my chair frantically flipping pages from the beginning to the very end. My best guess is that you will do so too.

If you are entertained by medical suspense thrillers, you will be happy to know that THIS IS IT!”

Even in the age of the genome and sophisticated biotechnology, medical progress still moves at a snail’s pace. Seasoned investigators are matured by experience and they accept the virtue of the too-slow scientific process. The young, however, have been brought up in a world of instant gratification, and they barrel ahead never looking back to see the havoc in their wake.

So it is with Dr. Harmony Lane. In her single-minded obsession to cure her patients, she cuts corners and treats a desperately ill woman with an experimental viral vector provided by an unscrupulous research scientist. While he shares her impatience, he cares nothing for her humanistic sensibilities. She uses a similar vector on her patients with autoimmune diseases.

While the vector has remarkable curative properties, it soon becomes clear that it has devastating and lethal side effects.

The race is on to cure or at least control the vector before it kills again.

The novel proves, once again, that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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The Plague Within

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FROM FIVE STAR REVIEW:

“This is either the fifth or sixth of Dr. Lawrence Gold's books that I have read and I have loved each and every one of them. Dr. Gold never fails to keep my interest, nor does he fail to write a good book. This is a medical mystery. In this book you will learn things, get embroiled in a mystery, and have your funny bone tickled every so often. I started this book today and finished it today. I just couldn't put it down.”

Arnie Roth, a family practitioner, develops viral encephalitis. He awakens from the near-death experience with a new appreciation for life and an unexpected talent, his sensitivity to smell has increased a thousand fold.

The Sixth Sense is a highly entertaining, thought-provoking, and touching journey through a world that influences us every day, but one that we know too little about.

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The Sixth Sense

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FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW: Emotionally involved with the characters, you hope for a happy ending and prepare for the worst.

HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE

“There is enough major trauma and emotional angst in this book to provide the initial threads for four novels. Mike is a physician and Lisa is a nurse that works in neonatal intensive care that grew up in an extremely abusive home. They meet and fall in love and have a wonderful relationship where the only problem is Lisa's inability to conceive.

Disaster strikes when Mike is in an extremely serious auto accident and is comatose. The title is a reference to "locked-in syndrome" a medical condition where the patient is otherwise conscious but is completely unable to move anything other than his eyes. Since Mike is one of their own, the medical staff at Brier Hospital takes his case very personal. This is the first initial thread.

Meanwhile, Lisa's pregnancy is a constant battle to keep her and the baby alive and together. As an experienced nurse of premature babies, Lisa knows very well the seriousness of her case. She is aided by her dear friend Phoebe but faces difficulties with Mike's relatives. This is the second initial thread.

Harvey is Lisa's obstetrician and his daughter Roberta has severe chemical dependency issues. Her problems, encounters with the legal system and Harvey's reaction to it are the third initial thread.

Problem patients and malpractice threats are a part of the practice of medicine and Gold takes a brief tangential path down this thread as well. There are two instances where the medical people have to deal with the threat of a malpractice suit as well as the formal launching of one. This is the fourth potential thread.

In my work as a reviewer, I occasionally criticize authors for packing too many stories into their books. It tends to overload the reader and take away from what I often consider to be an excellent primary storyline that should be completely developed. That criticism is not valid here; Gold weaves all of them together so seamlessly that he has created a page-turner that kept me up very late at night. You find yourself deeply involved emotionally as you want something good to happen to these people that you empathize with.”

While medical students suspect that every headache is a brain tumor and that every chest pain is a heart attack, experienced physicians know diseases along a spectrum of horror—the ones they dread the most. Among these are cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). As the list continues, we come upon locked-in syndrome, a neurologic disease where a victim is awake and alert, but cannot move or communicate due to paralysis of all voluntary muscles in the body except for the eyes

In Trapped, a Brier Hospital Series novel by Lawrence W. Gold, M.D., the reader enters the neonatal and the adult intensive care units. Medical fiction works, not only due to its intrinsic drama, but because of the crucial ethical issues that arise, especially in intensive care.

Lisa Cooke is the product of a passive mother and an abusive father. She finds her way into pediatric nursing, a world filled with men in control, especially the director of the Neonatal ICU, Mike Cooper. As Mike reminds Lisa of her father, it’s no surprise that they don’t get along.

Ultimately, they fall in love and have a fulfilling marriage except that she’s unable to have children. They try everything, but fail. When an automobile accident severely injures Mike, Lisa is devastated.

Shortly afterward, she discovers that she’s pregnant. Mike’s injuries are life-threatening, and he nearly dies on several occasions. Mike suffers from locked-in syndrome and his survival is constantly in jeopardy, as is Lisa’s pregnancy.

Will he/she/they survive?

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Trapped

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Well-crafted Medical Fiction

Multiple threads and story-lines find their resolution in a carefully orchestrated medical treatise. This piece speaks well of the profession, but exposes challenges and vulnerabilities that go along with it. A good read for those who want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes in the privacy of the doctors' lounge.

When we enter the hospital, we place our lives in the hands of physicians. Most are worthy of that trust, but a few are unable or unwilling to provide the care we need and expect. The reasons are as complicated as the physicians themselves.

The reader gets an insider’s view of medicine and its practitioners behind the closed doors of The Doctors’ Lounge.

If you enjoy thoughtful medical fiction, take a look at The Doctors’ Lounge, a Brier Hospital novel that helps the reader understand the ethical issues that take their toll on medical personnel, patients, and their families.

FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW:

“The Doctors’ Lounge is an exploration of the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), right to die, and the medical responsibility to not desert patients for whom life means only suffering both personally and for the family and loved ones. To accomplish this in story form he uses Jacob Weizman, ‘the popular character first introduced in the novel, No Cure for Murder, who has, after sixty years of exemplary medical practice, suffered a crisis of confidence and has withdrawn from hospital practice. He spends mornings in the Doctors’ Lounge where he becomes a sage, a sounding board, consultant, adviser, and all around mentor for physicians, nurses, and even for hospital administrators. Through Jacob’s involvement, we observe the realities of medical practice and how it affects practitioners and patients alike.”

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The Doctors’ Lounge

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FROM FIVE STAR REVIEW:

“This is the brand new (just published 1/21/15) novel by my favorite author of medical mysteries/drama. Lawrence W. Gold. MD now author extraordinaire will keep you captivated with the story lines in all his novels. I have read every one of his novels so far. You don't have to worry about reading this series in order--they are all stand alone. Dr. Gold, with his vast knowledge of the medical profession writes about timely topics within a fictional setting. State of Mind is about research and the ethical problems that can arise--especially when dealing with psychiatric problems.”

Dr. Kimberly Powell, a Ph.D. in neuropsychology, works in a research lab trying to understand the roots of violence by stimulating the brains of aggressive rats to reduce their savagery. Her successes lead to phase I safety trials in volunteers and prisoners, and then to phase II and III studies in patients.

Soon it becomes clear that Kim’s brain-stimulating techniques, besides controlling aggression, offer the potential to cure a number of medical problems including Parkinson’s disease, depression, PTSD, and many others.

When the court instructs her to treat a psychopathic killer, she’s appalled. What would such a killer, if cured, still owe to his victims and to society? The ethical implications of the research and especially its application on humans are substantial, but so, too, is her altruistic desire to help. Where is the balance and how far and how fast should these trials proceed—and, at what cost?

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State of Mind

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An automobile accident shatters the near-perfect lives of David and Luke Hyatt, identical twins. David survives intact, but Luke nearly dies from his injuries. The residue of Luke’s head injury is an acquired form of Asperger’s. The twins had graduated from medical school and were about to enter an internship at Brier Hospital in Berkeley. Although Luke is gifted with savant-like intelligence, can he continue his career in medicine? Will health professionals, administrators, and patients themselves accept Luke as a physician or succumb to the petty fear of someone different, or is it time for the world to consider the value of an individual beyond his or her label?

Adding Family Drama Related to Asperger Syndrome Leads to 5+ Medical Thriller!

“When Joyce and Norman had twin boys, they knew their family was just about perfect...Both boys were gifted and went on to into Medical School...

Until the Accident...

But both boys survived thankfully. It was Luke, however, that had been seriously hurt and, afterward, they realized that he had acquired Asperger's Syndrome, which is normally discovered at birth. Additionally, it was discovered that he was a Savant now...and with most of the symptoms of Asperger's, Luke became a stranger in a strange world he hadn't a clue to live in... Perhaps a part of my love for this book is because of my personal relationship with a relative of mine, as I was reminded of the various issues that we saw as our little boy grew up... I'm not going to tell much about Part I which is about the twins and the family adjustments and decisions that needed to be made. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, the latter because of the closeness of the family and, in particular, Luke's twin brother, David...

In fact. I was so involved with the family drama, that I was shocked when suddenly the whole story switched into an entirely different story! But that's when the medical thriller for which Dr. Gold is becoming well know with his Brier Hospital Series, really takes off...and, as always, the main character for the series. Dr. Jacob Weizman, who represents the spirit of the series, takes on his important role at the Hospital...

Once again, we are looking at the actions of government operations and find that there is much being done that could lead to catastrophes, by accident, but also on purpose! And, when there is somebody watching, the type of criminal acts can be stopped through the sometimes dangerous action of a whistleblower...I am thankful he took the chance...

But even the exciting action you'll be reading did not deter me from watching and mostly enjoying the work of the twin doctors who soon were in the spotlight whenever some puzzling case needed to be solved. Dr. Gold has done an outstanding job in creating medical settings in which our new Savant could not only help, but add his skills to solve many cases that were not able to be addressed by others. Kudos, Dr. Gold, for tackling and sharing about this important problem, autism, as it increases for many more people than in the past...

I believe this one is a must-read so that readers will become more informed about Asperger Syndrome... But, adding this drama into an exciting, suspense medical thriller made this book a personal favorite for 2017. Highly recommended!”

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Stranger in a Strange World

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FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW: Dr. Lawrence Gold has done it again.

“This book is a mystery which has intrigue, suspense, and educates you at the same time.

It is well written, flows well, and is easy to understand. The characters are believable and easy to relate to.

I have read all of Dr. Gold's books including this one and have never been disappointed. I have noted that one of the reviewers did not like the ending. I found the ending to be a valuable lesson of life and reality.

This is a story about a couple, Denise and Gabe, who had trouble conceiving so went with in vitro. It took them a good amount of tries before it was a success. Their child, Zack, was born and they were thrilled. They soon learned that Zack was very gifted. They did everything possible to ensure that Zack's gifts were nurtured while still giving him as close to a normal life that they could. .As time went on Zack made some wrong choices and had to learn his maturity was not as advanced as his mind.

This book has no sex scenes in it at all. I do recommend this book for ages 14 on up. A word of caution. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to read it through. Once you start, you will not want to put it down.”

Denise Berg, a professor of psychology, and her molecular biologist husband, Gabe, expected an intelligent child. When Denise gave birth to Zack, they were thrilled. They were not surprised to find that Zack had physical and mental gifts, but were astounded by their magnitude. By every parameter, Zack was extraordinarily gifted and they took pride in their genes and in their good fortune. What they didn’t know was that Zack’s gifts were the result of more than good luck and Berg family genes, but depended on genetic material from an unusual source. Zack’s abilities would ultimately attract others with less than benign interests. Professor Jorge Moneo had grown up in Basque Country, a place of violent confrontation between Spain and the Basque people’s struggle for independence. When the Spanish security forces murder his parents, grandmother, wife, and child, Jorge swears revenge. He attacks the leader of the group responsible for the murders, but fails to kill him. Subsequently, Spain deports him to the United States where his plans for retribution continue unabated. Jorge’s obsession for revenge eventually involves Zack and his family. The novel interweaves the development of a gifted child, his family, and the political intrigue of Basque Spain.

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Hybrid

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Isabel Kramer’s dream of running competitively, frustrated since age seventeen, reveals itself when, on a lark, she joins her daughter in the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. Now age sixty, Izzy challenges her misgivings, the sage, and well-intentioned advice of family and friends, and prepares for long-distance running. Izzy, a psychiatrist and professor of psychology at UC Berkeley has no illusions about the likelihood of success and the possibility of injury, but amazingly, she outperforms the running world’s and her own expectations and trains for the Boston Marathon. Barriers of every type obstruct Izzy’s path to Boston. Can they stop her? Supporters of every age see in her the will and the talent to win, and they joyfully join her in the realization of a destiny too long delayed.

FROM FIVE-STAR REVIEW:

“Great story. Loved the characters and the whole book. Too many times people get caught up in the win at all costs syndrome. And a lot of people will do anything to win. In this story, it's not about winning or losing, it's about keeping your mind set on the sport and how you handle the pressure. The author did an excellent job, not only on the story, but on the main characters’ motivation in her struggle to come to terms with her reasons for running. Love it.”

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Never Too Late

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“Above excellent medical and legal mystery drama

Many topics are covered including hospital staff frictions, life and death decisions and hospital dynamics. Terrific character portrayals and ongoing suspense as well as surprises make this book hard to put down. It describes how a young girl was able to escape a horrible dysfunctional background and somewhat overcome the numerous residual traumatic memories. Relationships between men and women are thoroughly explored. Even after finishing it, the plot remained in my mind for a lengthy time. The ending was truly outstanding and amazing.”

“Out of Darkness” deals with the abhorrent problem of human trafficking, the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21st century, and ranking second after drug smuggling.

There are more young American girls entering the commercial sex industry—an estimated 300,000 at this moment—and their ages have been dropping drastically—the average starting age is an alarming thirteen.

“Out of Darkness” follows Cynthia Lange from despair—her mother selling her into sexual slavery, to her rescue by the FBI, and her difficult transition to a prominent physician at Brier Hospital in Berkeley, CA.

While she had escaped from “the life,” she can’t rid herself from its aftereffects. She deals bravely with them and begins a new life. While the FBI-created “legend” obscures her past, circumstances threaten to reveal the truth and destroy all she had worked so hard to create.

We discover in this novel that the human spirit can triumph over evil.

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Out of Darkness

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The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention ended research on the offensive use of biological weapons, or has it? Features of the Patriot Act giving the US immunity from violating its own bioweapons laws have increased suspicion of US bioweapons activities.

While the world has a high degree of certainty that countries like Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Sudan, and Syria have continued offensive bioweapons research, the United States has limited itself to such research of a “defensive” nature only.

Teens and young adults returning from missionary work in Arizona come home with severe and sometimes fatal bacterial infections. Is this an epidemic? Are these individuals contagious? The infections are unusual as common environmental bacteria, usually benign, have suddenly become aggressive and life-threatening.

Is this government policy gone awry, or is there a more nefarious explanation?

“Who determines if weapons of mass destruction are for offensive or defensive purposes? Are we prepared or will others obtain them? Medical and safety issues are discussed. Decisions in research are highlighted but delayed by government and military. There is humor and romantic flirting. There is a fascinating review of wound healing. Characters are vividly portrayed reflecting humane interactions. Biological warfare and moral, physical and emotional components are included in the amazing plot. It is clear we must be prepared and the author has done a masterpiece. It is likely his best novel yet. I can't wait for more of them.”

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Vector Red

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Back cover

Margaret Tucker, age ninety-eight, enters Brier Hospital in Berkeley in heart failure. As Margaret improves, her nursing class picture from the 1930s catches Patricia Teller’s eye. Pat is a nurse at Brier Hospital. As the daughter of a physician father and a nurse mother, Pat has a realistic understanding of the nursing profession, its virtues, and its deficiencies. Her identical twin sister, Eileen, a pediatric nurse in Chico California, shares her feelings.

Pat is suffering from overexposure to medicine and she has become increasingly intolerant of the frustrations of modern hospital medical practice.

Suddenly, Patricia finds herself at Brier in the year 1937. If nursing is frustrating in 2019, imagine Patricia’s reaction to her new role as a nurse in that era.

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Just in Time