Authors: Robert S. Goodman and Louis Kraft

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 9781519745064

Robert S. Goodman's debut novel, The Discovery, which he co-authored with Louis Kraft features Dr. Harry Chapman a prominent OB/GYN physician being sued for malpractice that occurred twenty-one years prior.

Apparently, since the 1940's there had been an virtual epidemic of blindness in premature infants worldwide which could have been prevented. The cause of the blindness was due to excessive oxygen administration in the incubators of the premature babies causing a disorder known as “retrolental fibroplasia.”

In 1952, a young Dr. Chapman was on call at the Westside Hospital in Los Angeles when he was paged by two nurses of the hospital. At the time, Dr. Chapman was attending a colleague's dinner elsewhere and when he received the call he immediately drove to the hospital. Arriving at the hospital he was informed that a seventeen year old woman had broken her waters and was about to give birth to a premature baby. He was also informed that neither a pediatrician or a neonatologist were available to assist him.

No time to waste and working only with the assistance of two nurses Dr. Chapman delivered a small baby boy who unfortunately was born blue and was not breathing or crying.

One of the nurses set the oxygen in the incubator at the recommended low level that was established by the pediatric committee in September 1951 and then published as part of protocol.

Noticing that the infant still remained blue, Dr. Chapman ordered the nurses to bring the oxygen to the maximum. One of the nurses was very reluctant to follow Dr. Chapman's instructions and told him of the committee's protocol indicating to him that there was a risk of blindness from high levels of oxygen in premature babies. Dr. Chapman's reply was that since a pediatrician was not present, the buck stops with them and they were to follow his orders.

When Dr. Chapman left the room, the two nurses agreed that he was wrong and furthermore what also bothered them was that they detected alcohol on his breath. The nurses decided to protect themselves in that they are obliged to record the facts as they happened. They indicated that the level of oxygen had been elevated contrary to their protest. In addition, they also mentioned that Dr. Chapman's breath smelled of alcohol even though they knew that this may lead to his having a problem down the road.

The story shifts to 1972 when a young blind man, Greg Weston meets a young woman, who is employed by a pediatrician. Greg is introduced to the pediatrician who tells him about “retrolental fibroplasia.” As it turns out Greg was the premature baby that was delivered by Dr. Chapman in 1952. We also learn that his birth mother had given him up for adoption and that both of his adoptive parents are deceased.

Greg had become a paralegal and when he learns about the possibility that his blindness was due to the negligence caused by Dr. Chapman, he decides to launch a malpractice suit against him whereby he asks for millions of dollars in damages. Although, it may appear that the prescribed time to take action may have expired, something unexpected is thrown in wherein the nurse's report sent into Greg's adoptive agency differed from the one that was kept within the records of the hospital. Large chunks of the yarn are devoted to the legal proceedings that follow and all the drama that one expects in this kind of litigation.

The yarn is action filled and a great study in the psychological price paid by a defendant in a malpractice suit. The authors mesmerize their readers as they skillfully capture the devastating experience and anxieties endured by Dr. Chapman and his wife. Both feel over-whelmed and “out-of control” and their abilities to function are compromised which leads to Dr. Chapman's alcoholism as well as his wife's atrocious behavior. In addition, the legal proceedings address a wide spectrum of subjects illustrating that all is not black or white when it comes to this kind of litigation, one that is the most difficult an attorney will handle and unfortunately for the victim, it is most difficult to prove. I have to admit that The Discovery has all the polish and finish that we would expect from more experienced authors and is a fine accomplishment.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Dr. Robert S. Goodman