Visiting with us today are secondary characters from Critical Condition, Dr. Whittaker, intern Dr. McCrae, and nurse Alice Bradshaw. To help you better follow the interview, allow me to first share a brief description of the main characters.
Zach Davis (aka Zach Reynolds) ~ Undercover cop working as an IT specialist at Miller’s Bay Memorial Hospital to figure out if a murderer is behind recent suspicious patient deaths.
Tara Peterson ~ Head nurse of the cancer ward at Miller’s Bay Memorial. She brought the deaths to the police’s attention after a patient and the patient’s husband died. The husband’s dying request was that Tara stop the killer
Between you and me, I haven’t informed our guests that they are suspects, nor are they all the suspects in the book.
Sandra: Alice, I understand that you were pretty upset that Tara Peterson was recently appointed head nurse instead of you.
Alice: Of course, I was upset. I have ten years seniority to her. That should count more than the couple of extra years of schooling she’s had. Experience is the real teacher in our profession.
Sandra: Some would have us believe that you were upset enough to sabotage her work, to make her look incompetent.
Alice: That’s ridiculous. She’s quite capable of digging her own grave without any help from me.
Sandra: Dr. McCrae, I understand you’re pretty passionate about helping cancer patients find cures. Can you tell us a little bit about what drives you?
Dr. McCrae: All doctors are passionate about helping their patients become well, but I have a particular heart for cancer patients, because I lost my brother to cancer.
Sandra: That’s admirable, but as an intern, you must have a heavy debt load from your years of education. Heavy enough perhaps to be tempted to pilfer a few pills here and there to sell on the street.
Dr. McCrae: Absolutely not. I’m the one who requested more security cameras to combat precisely that concern.
Sandra: Does that mean you believe a thief killed the husband of that patient, because the husband caught him stealing the patient’s pills?
Dr. McCrae: As I explained to the police when they questioned me, it is my medical opinion that the patient died due to complications from a seizure, and the husband died of a heart attack. Since Miss Peterson claims someone else had been in the room and rushed out upon her arrival, it seems reasonable to assume that perhaps this person had a confrontation with the patient’s husband before his heart attack.
Sandra: You report to Dr. Whittaker is that correct?
Dr. McCrae: Yes.
Sandra: Has he ever asked you to falsify reports so that patients, who normally wouldn’t qualify, might be allowed to participate in experimental treatment protocols?
Dr. McCrae: Absolutely not. I would never do such a thing and he knows it. Personally, I have serious questions about the efficacy of his current pet project, but clearly, his rapport with the pharmaceutical companies brings much needed funding to the hospital, as evident by the newly built cancer wing.
Sandra: Ah yes, the wing they named after him. Are you suggesting he’s testing drugs that he knows are of no value purely for the profit it brings him?
Dr. McCrae: He’s not interested in the profit for himself. He thrives on prestige. You’ll have to decide for yourself if that hinders his judgment with respect to his patients’ treatments.
Sandra: Some of his patients have started to request to see you rather than him. Can you tell us why?
Dr. McCrae: I care about getting them well, not about satisfying a treatment protocol.
Sandra: But I thought patients called Dr. Whittaker Dr. Wonderful because of his wonderful bedside manner.
Dr. McCrae: (laughs) I believe that’s what the single nurses call him, which probably has more to do with his good looks.
Sandra: Dr. Whittaker is it true that you’ve solicited donations from patients toward the construction of the new cancer wing?
Dr. Whittaker: Absolutely, and I’m proud of the level of donations brought in by such personal requests.
Sandra: I understand one couple donated their entire estate, then died soon after.
Dr. Whittaker: Yes, very sad case that. But at least their money will go on to help others.
Sandra: Tell us a little more about the experimental drug you’re providing patients.
Dr. Whittaker: Only terminal patients are permitted into this program, and yet we have seen some stunning reversals in tumor growth in several participants.
Sandra: Isn’t it true that those shrinkages of tumors occurred after the patients withdrew from your program?
Dr. Whittaker: Yes, several withdrew due to the side effects. But clearly the drug has a remarkable latent effect. There is no other explanation. Unless of course you believe in miracles.
Sandra: And what about those who suddenly died? How would you explain those deaths?
Dr. Whittaker: As I said, all of the participants are terminal. We cannot predict whether they will react favorably or unfavorably without further testing.
Sandra: Are you concerned that Tara’s allegations about murders on the cancer ward will have negative repercussions on the hospital’s reputation?
Dr. Whittaker: Of course I am. They couldn’t help but sour people’s opinion of our work here.
Sandra: Are you concerned enough to put a stop to the allegations?
Dr. Whittaker: Yes. I’ve warned Tara several times to keep her opinions to herself.
Your Turn: If you would like a chance to receive an autographed copy of Critical Condition, please leave a question in the comments for one of today’s guests. (no spoilers please) Winner will be announced on Friday’s blog and asked to email me. You do not need to leave your email address here.
EVERYONE’S AT RISK
There’s a murderer in the hospital, and nurse Tara Peterson is determined to prove it. With mysterious deaths in the cancer ward, anyone could be next. But no one wants to believe her…except undercover agent Zach Davis. The murderer wants Tara’s suspicions silenced, permanently. To protect Tara, Zach lets her in on his secret, and unwittingly into his heart. Tara and her three-year-old daughter are like the family he lost years before. Zach will risk everything to keep them safe, no matter the cost.
“Alice” Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Dr. McCrae” Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“Dr. Whittaker” Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Alice, what color are your eyes?
I read that nasty author’s intro. I know what you’re trying to do. But I’m sure Tara didn’t see the color of her attacker’s eyes. So I’ll tell you that my eyes are blue. ~Alice
Dr. Whittaker, it’s obvious you are very passionate about this trial. To what lengths would you go to see it succeed?
I’m passionate about getting people well, or at the very least, giving them more time with loved ones. I believe this experimental treatment is showing a lot of promise so I urge patients who qualify to try it. I would never do anything to compromise the results, however, I would go to great lengths to help someone qualify if they wished.
Dr. McCrae, do you feel strongly that a person in the room caused the husband’s( patient’s) heart attack…..that is scary. ??? I guess I wonder this since my dh was in a hospital for heart surgery, and some of the workers were “kinda tough” on patients!!
Jackie, I’m very sorry to hear of your husband’s experience. In the case of the incident at our hospital, it’s difficult to know if the person Tara saw was really a staff member. He or she was wearing a lab coat. That’s all Tara saw. But of course, anyone could pick up a lab coat and poise as hospital personnel to gain access to a patient’s room.
Very careful answer, doc. Interesting. Especially for someone who gambles with peoples lives for a living. See you on the pages soon (if I can ever find you at a local walmart!)
I assure you, young lady, I never gamble. ~ Dr. Whittaker
I have a question for Dr. Whittaker, please: Dr., I’m curious about the wealthy couple who donated their entire estate and then sadly died not too long afterwards. Could you tell me how the couple died? Signed, The Curious CatLady
Yes, Miss Curious, that was very sad. Lovely couple. The wife was one of my cancer patients. We believe her husband died in distress at seeing her seizures. He was babbling to my head nurse about stopping a killer, but I suspect he might have been delirious, seeing us work on his wife and thinking we were trying to hurt her instead of help her. Very sad. They actually weren’t wealthy, but had a sizable life ins policy that ended up paying out to the hospital.
Alice, you said Tara was attacked but isn’t able to identify the person who did it. I don’t know if this was after she voiced concern about murder. If so, do you think it proves she’s right? If not, why do you think she was attacked? And also if not, might she have started the murder rumour for her own personal reasons?
Ooh, Janet, I like the way you think. I wouldn’t put anything past, Tara. She must have done something to connive her way into the role of head nurse after all. She didn’t voice concern about the murder until after the first supposed attack. She claims someone rushing out of the room knocked her over. But you know, maybe she made it up to take the doctors suspicions off her incompetence in not getting to the patient sooner!!
I have a question for Dr. Whittaker, please tell me how you warned her?
I simply took her aside and stressed how much such bad publicity for the hospital would hurt our fundraising campaign. When she persisted, and it became clear that she might bear some of the responsibility for the patients’ deaths, I made it clear that she would be held accountable. ~Dr. Whittaker
I would like to ask Alice: Why did you not monitor the people who came and went in the patient’s hospital room more carefully?
That particular night, as Tara will attest, I’m sure, the ward was crazy. Call bells were going off in patients rooms every few minutes. I cannot be watching the halls and attending to patients at the same time. ~Alice
Dr McRae do you expect us to believe both a woman who was a patient and her husband visiting dying doesnt strike you as just a little bit odd?
It is certainly disconcerting, but the patient was terminal and her husband has been under a lot of stress for many months.
Zach – does it get hard not to blow your cover as a cop and always remember that you are an it person?
Thank you for the chance to win
griperang at embarqmail dot com
Since I wouldn’t normally spend my days in a hospital, and I really am doing IT computer work, this undercover assignment has been easier than some to stay in character. Reminding myself that Tara is an informant, not someone I’m free to date, has been the tough part! ~Zach
I have a question for Dr. Whittaker,
How do you feel now that some of your patients have started requesting to have Dr. McRae see them instead of you?
To be honest, I wasn’t aware of this until it was mentioned here today. I will certainly be looking into it. If my patients are dissatisfied with their care, I want to know and take measures to ensure they’re satisfied.
I’d like to hear more about potential side effects of this tumor drug.
The most common is nausea, which to a certain extent we’re able to treat, but those treatments aren’t always effective either. Persistent nausea can of course lead to dehydration and general malaise. Depression is common, although this could be more a reaction to a patient’s unfulfilled expectations than the drug itself. If you’ve ever watched a pharmaceutical commercial, I’m sure you recognize that I could rattle off a list of other potential side effects. In the end, the patient must decide if the potential benefits outweigh the risks and discomfort.
Dr. Whittaker said that a couple donated their estate to the new cancer wing. Very convenient. How did they die?
The wife was one of my cancer patients. We believe her husband died in distress at seeing her seizures. He was babbling to my head nurse about stopping a killer, but I suspect he might have been delirious, seeing us work on his wife and thinking we were trying to hurt her instead of help her. Very sad. ~ Dr. Whittaker
Dr. Whittaker, did any of the people still in the trial have tumors that shrank or just ones that left it?
We’ve had several patients still on the trial experience tumor shrinkage. ~Dr. Whittaker
Alice, have you always worked in the cancer ward?
Ah Shauna, a fellow nurse, you must understand how it is. I’ve worked in the ER and almost every ward in the hospital. I have much more experience than Tara. Experience that more than qualified me for the head nurse position she usurped.
So, Alice, just how is Tara “digging her own grave”?
Well, for one thing she wears this long-sleeved sweater all the time. Sure it’s cool on the ward, but she wears it to pick her daughter up from daycare and we all know how many germs children carry. You can imagine how many germs she might be transferring from the cuffs of those sleeves. We’ve had several cases of infections that could have resulted from such carelessness.
Alice, as the choice of head nurse has already been made, wouldn’t it make sense for you to employ your extensive background to assist Tara as much as possible in obvious ways so that both the patients and your reputation would benefit when further promotions are being considered?
If, as you say, Tara is incompetent, might not that opportunity be apt to come sooner than later?
Yes, of course, I always do my best.