STANDARD OF CARE: A NOVEL by David Kerns (Sentient Publications, 2007) is a tale of ethical crisis and redemption, one doctor’s tumultuous journey as a senior executive in America’s largest and most predatory hospital corporation.
Weary of the tedium and diminishing returns of twenty-five years of private practice, Dr. Daniel Fazen becomes the new senior medical executive, the guardian of quality patient care, at Walnut Creek Memorial, his long-cherished community hospital. Without warning, eleven months later, Memorial is acquired by the Olympia Healthcare Corporation, the largest and, he knows, the most ruthless for-profit hospital conglomerate in America. At age fifty-five, with a taste for the good life and years of costly education ahead for his kids, Dan ponders a six figure incentive. With reservations – and rationalizations – he stays with Olympia. And so begins a downhill debacle…
“David Kerns’ chilling but ultimately redemptive first novel dramatizes our crisis in health care with empathy and aplomb. Kerns has made tragically personal a health care corporations death-or-life power over its most vulnerable clients.”
– JAMES MCMANUS, author of Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, Positively Fifth Street, and Physical: An American Check-Up
“Standard of Care is a novel of conscience and consciousness.”
– TOM CASEY, author of Human Error and Strangers’ Gate
“Standard of Care is a frightening portrait of for-profit health care run amok, and an uplifting odyssey as Kerns’ hero, everydoc Dan Fazen, becomes David to the Goliath of the hospital mega-corporation in the era of managed care. With first-rate prose and indelible characters, Kerns escorts us through the medical inner sancta, the power centers the patients never see. No physician-as-gumshoe potboiler, this is a smart, powerful, and entertaining novel about a front-page crisis in American society.”
– OSCAR LONDON, M.D., author of From Voodoo to Viagra and Kill As Few Patients As Possible