"Follow the money!"
That's the advice Dr. Virgil Sampson gives his three students in the Health System Science Program at fictional Florence College. Those students gathered around Dr. Sampson's seminar table are: a hotshot surgeon, a brilliant nurse practitioner, and Dr. Dante ("Don") Newman, a very capable resident haunted by his past and unsure of his future. Should Dr. Newman continue his training at Boston's prestigious University Hospital? Or will the months he spends guided by Dr. Sampson into health-care hell turn him into an advocate for medical reform?
Those are just a few of the questions in the novel The End of Healing by Dr. Jim Bailey, professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, which makes Dr. Bailey as good a guide as Dr. Sampson to what's wrong with U.S. health care. How wrong is it? Based on the evidence in The End of Healing, it's enough to make you sick — and, if you're not already, outraged.
The novel is designed in part as a seminar too, with research findings and teacher/student interactions on the pros and cons of a health-care system that often puts profits ahead of patients. And Bailey, in a recent email from Italy (where he conducts his own annual "Healthy City" program on contemporary health issues), was right when he characterized that system as an industry "spiraling out of control." He was equally right when he promised readers that this story "will change your perspective on the U.S. medical system forever ... and give you the insight you need to find real healing in today's world."
Bailey's advice to readers seeking that healing for themselves, their families, and their country? "Follow young Dr. Don Newman."