John Bishop, MD is an orthopedic surgeon based in Houston, Texas. On his website, he says that “the thing I liked about orthopedics was that most of the patients were healthy and well. They were, however, temporarily injured, and both patient and doctor could expect a recovery after an appropriate healing time following surgery.”
The appropriate healing features in the book ‘Act of Deception’ on various levels raging from financial independence to mental health.
The year is 1995. We are in Houston, Texas. James Robert ‘Jim Bob’ Brady, MD is happily married to the love of his life, Mary Louise. Their son J.J. lives on his own and runs a successful business. The home front is completed by pets Cat and Tip.
Bishop gives us a detailed overview of Brady’s life, practice, and the events that lead to his malpractice lawsuit. Patient William ‘Bill’ Jones suffered from arthritis in his right knee joint. As a farmer, he is constantly on the move. He suffered from pain, then walked with a cane, took medications, until after X-rays the talk about possibly replacing the aching joint came up.
Some of the risks with joint replacement include but are not limited to loosening of the prothesis with the risk that it has to be removed again. With any surgery, there are risks of infections. And in Jones’ case, if the prothesis is not accepted by the body the alternatives could be nerve damage, the fusing of bones, and worst case scenario, amputation.
Jones had knee replacement surgery on May 14, 1992. It was uneventful, got antibiotics, and all seemed to be well. However, after two weeks his knee was red swollen and painful if you place weight on it, let alone walk. Brady saw him again in his office. His knee was inflamed, not infected. This made me go online to get better informed about the differences between inflammations and infections.
Jones kept suffering, was readmitted, and eventually, on October 27 of 1992, he had to have his leg amputated. You can imagine his stress about missing his leg not to mention the difficulties he’d face farming. He was discharged on November 10, 1992.
And then the lawsuit came in June 1994.
Now it is Brady who faces a stressful time. He had a clean record until this lawsuit. Going over his medical notes, he could not find what went wrong with Jones. The lawsuit preparations, dispositions, and financial consequences start to take a toll on him, mentally and physically.
To top this off, Brady is assaulted in the parking garage and is unconscious for ten days. What happened and who did this? And who slips into hospitals to give patients their business cards in case they wish to talk about their rights and options in financial settlements?
We face the financial consequences of a malpractice suit, insider information trading, and criminal activity. But most importantly, what detail was missed that caused Jones to lose his leg?
The story itself is not fast-paced. Bishop details the retracing of steps needed to solve this case meticulously. He does this with a lot of attention to detail but it slows down the story. The characters are well-rounded but none created an emotional attachment for me. The plot is very well done and it unfolds in a dramatic manner in court. Pay attention to Judge Barbara Woods!
The book is well-written. The medical procedures and the legal proceedings are very interesting and well described. Despite the fact that I did not bond with any of the characters, or thought that the pace was slow, is just my personal opinion. The book is a good medical whodunit.
This is the only book that I have read in the Doc Brady Series so this review is about ‘Act of Deception’ only and not the entire series.