By Umanath Nayak. Grade: A
In a revolutionary new thriller by Dr Umanath Nayak, Head of the Department, Head & Neck Oncology at Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, and author of Enduring Cancer, Fatal Margin talks about how a famous doctor is penalized for medical malpractice and negligence. The book outlines his trials and tribulations as he conducts a revolutionary cancer trial involving hundreds of patients, but in turn ends up getting caught in a whirlwind of bureaucracy and red-tape. Is a doctor’s ability to treat and heal his patients better than his peers really a crime? Will the famous Dr Veer Raghavan be indicted for his crime, or will he emerge triumphant? This is a riveting courtroom drama that raises questions on modern medical ethics.
The book’s protagonist is an intelligent, hard working and revered surgical oncologist Veer Raghavan who is the face of a growing cancer center in Mumbai. Veer is an ambitious surgeon recognized for his indisputable surgical prowess. He is confident, dynamic and influential, the perfect character for this medical thriller, yet he isn’t flawless.
Written in a racy style, the book traces how even the best of doctors can, if they aren’t watchful, falter from adhering to ethics. Fatal Margin goes beyond exploring the nexus between pharmaceutical companies and doctors for financial gains. It explains how a surgeon like Veer could ‘under-perform’ cancer surgeries so as to leave ‘positive margins’ that could cause relapse of cancer and thereby necessitate patients to cough up huge sums to undergo another cutting edge procedure. The catch lies in the fact that the new method, executed with a high-end gadget, hasn’t received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval. Veer also siphons funds with the hope of starting his own cancer specialty hospital.
As a collection of riveting reveries, the book flits between past and present with utmost ease, the courtroom juxtaposed with the thrills and almost-insurmountable challenges of the medical world, where Veer decided to let his morals a little loose to introduce to his cancer centre a plethora of ground-breaking research and experimentation. His rising popularity is a sore for his co-worker who embroils Veer in a case which turns into a full blown CBI drama. The narrative is easy and retains the intensity of the science without having to dumb it down. The detailed work speaks volumes about the writer’s creativity and knowledge, the advantage of this book being an accurate portrayal of the medical world. With the usual allowances made for action and revelations, the plot remains firmly in the realm of believable. In all, a very interesting and absorbing read for a weekend.