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The Patient (2000)

by Michael Palmer

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6331031,867 (3.69)1
Dr. Jessie Copeland is a respected neurosurgeon who spends her days waging life-and-death battles in the OR and her spare time holed up in a lab, spearheading the development of a robot that could revolutionize brain surgery. It could be months before the robot is ready for use on human beings--or so Jessie thinks, until her ambitious department head jumps the gun and uses the robot in a high-profile case that nets worldwide attention.… (more)
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Near the beginning of the book, Jessie, our protagonist neurosurgeon, is doing a practice run with "Artie," the robot that will assist her in removing brain tumors.
"... This particular cancer, a glioblastoma, was among the most virulent of all brain tumors."
I had a sister, who suffered with brain tumors growing and being removed, and going through chemo and radio, for 21 years. She finally succumbed to a most virulent tumor, that had the least success of being treated by chemo and radiotherapy. She died at the age of 46. She was a sister who always had my back, and it was so fucking unfair that life treated her like that.
The tumor she had before the one that killed her was called a malignant anaplastic oligodendroglioma. They give ugly frightening names to ugly frightening killers.

This protagonist neurosurgeon character is given lines that I have my doubts any neurosurgeon in real life would use:
"Sarah reached out and took Jessie's hand.
'My chances this time?'
Jessie pondered the question with solemnity.
'That depends,' she said finally. 'have you been giving generously when the plate's been passed around?'
'of course.'
'in that case, I think we're in good shape. I'm a pretty experienced surgeon, and God only knows you're a damned experienced patient. Together with the power of your offerings to the church, I don't see how we can miss.' 'Well what if I said I never give anything when that plate comes around?' ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Palmer's books are my reading Halloween candy. I'm just a sucker for their plot goodness and easy reading. The patient is no exception. A veteran assassin has a brain tumor and chooses assassin methods to get rid of it. ( )
  susandennis | Jun 5, 2020 |
I do enjoy a good medical thriller however I kind of thought this balanced on the edge of being a medical thriller and, well something else.

Yes, it's set in the world of neurosurgery, the 'villian' does have a brain tumor that he needs to have removed and yet I felt that the medical side of things was merely a vehicle for the hostage situation and action sequences to be portrayed with. To me the story of the inflate ego of the chief surgeon who ends up killing a patient through incompetence and failure to acknowledge his limitations could have been a novel in its own right without the additional hoopla the criminal-with-a-tumor aspect brought to the book.

Overall, the book was decent but I don't think it was on the same level as the better Robin Cook medical thrillers. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Sep 11, 2019 |
This medical thriller was an easy read. A terrorist with a brain tumor needs surgery; the surgeon performing the surgery must be successful or suffer the consequences. ( )
  gbelik | Jan 16, 2013 |
I found it a bit predictable and slow. ( )
  kaylol | Dec 9, 2010 |
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For Beverly Lewis
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Sylvan Mays, M.D., stood by the vast window of his fifth-floor office and gazed out at the countryside, where late afternoon shadows were lengthening across the Iowa River.
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Dr. Jessie Copeland is a respected neurosurgeon who spends her days waging life-and-death battles in the OR and her spare time holed up in a lab, spearheading the development of a robot that could revolutionize brain surgery. It could be months before the robot is ready for use on human beings--or so Jessie thinks, until her ambitious department head jumps the gun and uses the robot in a high-profile case that nets worldwide attention.

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