Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest, Dr. Robert S. Goodman co-author with Louis Kraft of The Discovery.
Dr. Goodman practises internal medicine in Tarzana California and completed his medical training at the UCLA Medical Center. He has served as Chief of Medicine at two Los Angeles hospitals and was chief of staff at a hospital in Encino, California. A number of malpractice attorneys have called upon him as an expert witness to defend doctors and hospitals.
Norm: Good day Dr. Goodman and thanks for participating in our interview.
What has been your greatest challenge (professionally) that you’ve overcome in getting to where you’re at today?
Dr. Goodman: The greatest challenge professionally was initially struggling to get into medical school and usually in the 1950s, less than one hundred were accepted. Also, at that time many schools denied acceptance to Jews. After finishing residency, another major challenge was starting up a practice with all the necessary medical equipment required.
Norm: What motivated you and Louis Kraft to write The Discovery and is the story based on a real event?
Dr. Goodman: Speaking for myself, I was motivated to enlighten readers of the major impact of malpractice on the accused doctors. The story is partially based on a call from the L.A. County Medical Association 40 years ago, asking for donations for the defense of a paediatrician being sued for millions when he had little malpractice insurance.
Norm: How did you divide up the writing between you both?
Dr. Goodman: I wrote the initial draft and my friend and patient, a known author, was called upon. He revised it, added to it, and made it into a novel form.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of the writing process?
Dr. Goodman: The most difficult part of the writing process was researching the history of retrolental fibroplasia blindness. Also, researching malpractice and the statute of limitations.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Dr. Goodman: I enjoyed portraying the characters and how they related to one another and the impact on each other during the lawsuit.
Norm: How did you go about creating the characters of Dr. Harry Chapman and Greg Weston?
Dr. Goodman: The character of Dr. Chapman is a reflection of one of my OB professors at UCLA. He was tall, distinguished looking and very professional with a great reputation professionally and a great teacher. Greg Weston reminded me of one my favorite patients – blind but handsome and very intelligent.
Norm: As you have been called upon as an expert witness in several malpractice suits, what is the most important thing that people don’t know about this kind of litigation that they need to know?
Dr. Goodman: People have to know that most malpractice cases are frivolous. Plaintiff malpractice attorneys are well aware that they can always settle a case for $35,000 or less because then a doctor will not be reported to the state medical board. They need to know that in a valid major malpractice suit there are hours of discovery, depositions, calls for many expert witnesses involving tons of money and no guarantee of a favorable outcome. They should know the tremendous stress placed on the defendant doctor and the enormous expenses for the plaintiff lawyer.
Norm: How does it feel to be cross-examined by the attorney of someone bringing a malpractice suit against a doctor who questions your knowledge?
Dr. Goodman: I never had a problem being cross examined in a malpractice case. I always prepared reviewing the entire case, the medical records, the depositions and other expert witnesses. On cross examination, I was always confident knowing some malpractice law but confident that I knew far, far more medicine than the opposing attorney. Another trick when being cross examined by an aggressive and arrogant attorney was visualizing him standing in front of the jury stark naked.
Norm: What process did you go through in having your book published?
Dr. Goodman: The
process of going to publish The
Discovery was very well done by Louis
Kraft as he has done it many times, and I have not.
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
Dr. Goodman: The purpose the story serves is to enlighten the reader about the impact a major malpractice suit has on all concerned and the potential disasters that face a well-respected but vulnerable obstetrician. Bottom line…what matters to me is what the readers think about the novel.
Where can our readers find out more about you and The
Dr. Goodman: So far, readers can purchase the novel on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Dr. Goodman: I am considering writing a novel involving medicine and physicians, and how a young, aspiring physician goes through the process of attempting to succeed. There are many anecdotes from my early career that I would include.
As this interview comes to an end, what question do you
wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Dr. Goodman: I would love someone to ask me, “Are the characters portrayed real or fictitious and are the malpractice laws the same now as they were in 1952 and 1971?”
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.