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Noble Vision Paperback – January 15, 2005
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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The defects of government-controlled medicine are dramatized effectively in this page-turning story of the love of a brilliant physician for a beautiful ballerina who becomes his patient.
---MILTON FRIEDMAN, Nobel laureate economist
Salutary tale of what can happen to medical breakthroughs if Big Government claws even deeper into our healthcare system!
---STEVE FORBES, President and CEO, Forbes magazine
. . . an intriguing novel about how unintended consequences of good intentions can have a devastating impact on the healing professions. Unfortunately for us, Noble Vision, while a novel, comes too close to describing today's reality in medical practice. As such, it should serve as a wake-up call to free medical practice from the heavy hand of government.
---WALTER WILLIAMS, syndicated columnist
. . . Noble Vision is a chilling suspense story, with an intricate plot that thickens as the author explores deeper and deeper into the lives and minds of the characters. A well-researched . . . sensitively written . . . inherently captivating novel of suspense, Noble Vision is very highly recommended reading.
---MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
Gen LaGreca’s novel does more to debunk the theory of nationalized healthcare than 90-percent of the non-fiction rebuttals on the market. It illustrates through a well-crafted plot the evils of bureaucratically managed healthcare while entertaining the reader at the same time. . . . The mounting conflicts of this lovingly sculpted first novel will keep you turning pages well into the night.
---LAISSEZ FAIRE BOOKS
A gripping story superimposed on today's threats to quality medical care. It's a great novel standing on its own, even without any medicine in it. However, this remarkable book also demonstrates the dire results of medical decisions made by non-medical bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians. Admittedly a novel, it is filled with truths of today.
---EDWARD ANNIS, MD, Past President, American Medical Association
The novel deals with some of the most serious issues of the day, lending the story an immediacy and vibrancy. The author's prose is polished and professional.
---WRITER'S DIGEST magazine
It was a wonderful surprise and a great joy to discover Noble Vision. It is an absolute page-turner of a novel with a strong pro-market message.
---JOHN BLUNDELL, author of Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady
. . . a novel about liberty . . . If you like Ayn Rand's novels, you'll like this one.
---EZRA LEVANT, publisher, The Western Standard
. . . [Noble Vision] captivated me from beginning to end. Its grim vision of the near future---or is it the present?---of medicine is all too accurate. Can a few men and women of principle turn it around? One must have hope.
---JANE ORIENT, MD, Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
The novel both communicates and concretizes important philosophical insights and also deals with a very important practical problem, i.e. the future of medical care in the United States. It is truly a pleasure to read a first class novel which incorporates Ayn Rand's philosophy.
---JOHN ALLISON, Chairman of the Board, BB&T
A beautifully crafted and completely engaging novel. I read it in one sitting. It made me want to stand up and cheer!
---JAMES VAWTER, MD
Noble Vision takes on a controversial issue---health care and what is wrong with it. It's an inspiring, eye-opening book that the general public will enjoy and a must-read for healthcare professionals.
---HUNTSVILLE TIMES, Alabama
A remarkable first novel . . .
---GALEN INSTITUTE, Health Policy Matters
Noble Vision is a fine read. I got so drawn into the characters and plot. It reminded me of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.
---JUDITH KLEINFELD, PhD, University of Alaska psychology professor and author of Go for It!
Noble Vision is a wonderful literary achievement. An extraordinary hero, a tender love story, a fascinating medical discovery, and an intense family conflict are dramatically interwoven in a plot that surprises and delights.
---EDITH PACKER, JD, PhD, psychologist
Noble Vision is a suspenseful tale of one surgeon’s heroic struggle to save his work and the woman he loves. It inspires us to search inside ourselves for what we know to be true---and to seek the courage to live by it. Intertwined with her gripping plot, the author presents a convincing repudiation of the presumed benevolence of socialized medicine. Truly a story for every patient and every physician!
---BETH HAYNES, MD
A fiction reader’s delight! Noble Vision has villains you will despise and heroes you’d love to meet. Add intrigue, betrayal, romance---you’ll be captured till the end and long for Gen LaGreca’s next novel!
---KAREN TIERNEY, MD
Noble Vision is a medical thriller that tackles pressing issues in medicine today, and there's romance, too. The writing, plot, and pacing knocked my socks off. I'm a very picky editor, so if I say this author can write, she can write!
---KATHARINE O'MOORE-KLOPF, KOK Edit
From the Inside Flap
Noble Vision was a ForeWord magazine Book-of-the-Year Award winner and a finalist in the Writer's Digest International Book Awards contest, one of only six picks in mainstream fiction. It also was a finalist in the Midwest Book Awards competition and took second place in the Illinois Women's Press Association Fiction Contest.The novel is considered very highly recommended reading by Midwest Book Review, and it earned endorsements from American Medical Association past president Edward Annis, syndicated columnist Walter E. Williams, magazine magnate Steve Forbes, and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.The novel portrays the love story of a beautiful ballerina of the New York stage whose life is shattered by a tragic accident and a young neurosurgeon determined to save her. The dancer's only hope is the surgeon's breakthrough procedure to repair damaged nerves. The treatment, however, does not have the required approval of their state-run health system, CareFree, a bureaucracy wracked with cost overruns and other, politically motivated priorities. The doctor must ultimately take on the entire health system to fight for his work, his ideals, and the woman he loves.As innovative as its surgeon-protagonist, Noble Vision breaks the mold that encases much of today's fiction. In an age in which plot stories and character studies, not to mention romances and thrillers, appear in separate categories of fiction, and thought-provoking themes are rare, Noble Vision combines a rich mix of story elements in one satisfying read. It is a nail-biting thriller, a passionate love story, and a duel of the conflicting ideas piercing the heart of medicine today.Noble Vision is published by Winged Victory Press, whose mission is to publish stories of unusual people doing unusual things, stories with something important to say, and stories that inspire us to achieve our dreams.
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I knew when I bought the book that it would take a slam at government rules and regulation of medical care. I hoped I might learn something and approached it with an open mind. Unfortunately it's clear by the time I finished the first chapter that the author has little real knowledge or experience with kids who get placed in foster care or with what state medical licensing boards actually do. Get ready for a steady stream of over-the-top sarcasm, insinuation, and innuendo with little connection to the real world.
**Spoiler alert** Brilliant surgeon working in a regular hospital emergency room also rents his own lab space and does solo research on his own time and expense on rats he got out of the sewer and develops treatment using phamaceutical substances that regenerate separated and damaged nerve tissue (a surgeon remember? developing new cutting edge pharmaceuticals). Condescending medical licensing board takes the rats away and euthanizes them to "save them" from poor animal welfare treatment and tell him he can't continue research on his own resources because the state medical licensing board believes there are higher priorities for medical research than this "luxury" medical procedure. If you think this story line sounds incredibly clumsy and far-fetched - more like the sort of thing you'd expect from a budding 13-year old storywriter than an adult author - well you're right. The story is like this at every turn.
I got as far as p. 46. So far the book already has a steady tally of damning life-and-death situations that insinuate any government licensing of medical care or payment for private medical services is single-handedly responsible for everything that's wrong in medical care. They're mostly similarly fantastic situations with no connection to what real-world state medical licensing boards and private nonprofits actually do.
Part of the opening story is the young ballerina who grew up in foster care. I volunteer at a temporary shelter for kids who sometimes return to their families after brief respite and other times must ultimately be placed with foster parents and other out-of-home placements. Frankly I was insulted with the way the author characterizes all social workers, who must make tough decisions every day about whether a kid is at serious risk of abuse (or death) and needs to be removed from their home, or whether family team meetings and parent networks and parenting skills training or other similar approaches can help a family learn better skills at raising kids. We never actually meet any of the nuns at St. Jude's or learn a single thing they did, she just insinuates repeatedly they're the only ones in this young girl's life who did anything right. I doubt the author knows a thing about peer support networks or what a family team meeting is. I doubt the author knows that the vast majority of private for-profit staff helping these kind of kids are getting the money from taxpayer dollars and not from private donations.
It struck me as funny how real world experience at both the personal level and the corporate level tells a story that's almost the exact opposite of the picture she tries to paint in Noble Vision.
News flash - doctors in practices are often pressured to spend less time with each patient by insurance companies, the profit motive, and all sorts of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with whether the government pays for private medical care of people over 65 or below poverty. Real-world story: The hands-down best doctor at the clinic my parents went to was forced out by the other doctors because she spent too much time with each patient - and in the process was a lot more likely to figure out what was wrong the first time. The clinic got paid the same for a visit whether they solved your problem or not. The clinic made more money if they spent 10min with each patient, quickly prescribed some pill, rushed them out, and had the same patient come back many more times. The clinic made less money when this perceptive doctor got it right. Fortunately, when the good doctor went out on her own and lots of patients followed her. They lost so many patients the clinic had a "change of heart" and asked her to come back. Nothing doing! In the real world it wasn't government rules that threatened to keep her from providing good care. It was the profit-motive of counterparts who didn't care much about helping patients and who she made look bad by her example.
What's more, many of these good old boys on the clinic board who pressured her to leave had issues with either substance abuse or faced accusations of making sexual advances over and over again on female patients. What do medical licensing boards actually do? The only reason I've heard they ever actually take away a license to practice medicine and other similar heavy-handed actions is for precisely these kind of abuses of patient trust and quality care. Now Gen LaGreca, please document for me one real-world example of a skilled doctor anywhere in the United States (or any other country with "socialized medicine") who lost their license because they developed breakthrough medical research. Anybody? Anybody? Honestly! Without the medical licensing boards that Gen LaGreca detests so much, tell me how society will keep such doctors from treating you or your family members while their judgement is impaired by addictions or they are repeatedly harassing patients?
A big part of the reason doctors today are encouraged to get you in and out and just prescribe a quick pill - any pill - is because of pharmaceutical companies that spend more on marketing in heavy TV advertising, delivering free meals to medical offices, and offering other freebies to doctors than they do on new pharma research. Check out Merck's latest investor financial statement for a real-world story on pharmaceutical and medical R&D that has little to do with Gen LaGreca's far-fetched fable about groundbreaking medical research stifled by dimwitted smug medical licensing boards and coverage of the uninsured. Merck bought out Schering-Plough in Nov 2009, and from 2010 to 2011 marketing and administrative costs grew from $13.1 to $13.7 billion while pharmaceutical R&D dropped from $11.1B to $8.5b. In the same year that R&D shrank by almost one-fourth, pharma profits grew from $23.9 to $25.6 billion. Taxes on Merck income went from $0.7B to $0.9 billion - also hardly to blame for the $2.6 billion single-year drop in R&D. Clearly the bottom line is the only "efficiencies" from that corporate merger was laying off medical researchers.
If you want heavy-handed science fiction that offers a single demon to blame for all the world's problems, here's a good novel for you. Otherwise take a pass on this one. You aren't going to read this one for the enjoyable gripping story unless you're already a true believer of her political message. To anyone else it rings pretty hollow.
OK , here's why this is appalling. It's a completely politically motivated piece of writing (bad writing) disguised as a novel to warn against the horrors of socialized medicine. David Lang's brilliant work is thwarted on every bureaucratic front. Even the animal health authorities (read PETA) condemn the quality of the air in which he keeps his rats for experimentation. I am convinced that some right-wing freak paid to have this novel written, but to illustrate just how wrong this whole take on socialized medicine is I'm going to share a personal story.
I live in Italy. While health care isn't exactly free (it's paid for with taxes and patients also have to pay some fees) and while ity true that some citizens often take advantage, going to the ER with a bang nail, by and large the system works very well.
On my 60th birthday I discovered a lump in my breast. I was given a scan, then sent to a specialist at a hospital in Bologna where I lived at the time. The specialist inserted a needle into the lump, aspirated clear liquid, smiled and told me I was fine.
Some months later, back in the States for a visit, I discovered that the lump, though much smaller. had returned. I was given a scan, a mammogram and sent to a Park Avenue specialist with perfectly manicured red nails, Laboutin heels, and a caged bird in her office. She too a inserted a needle and aspirated something that caused great pain. She yelled at me. "This is not some little cyst!! You need a biopsy. Did the Italian doctor (this said with great contempt) send the aspirated liquid to be analyzed? "
I had no idea, but I knew that had there been a problem the hospital would have notified me. She continued to admonish me no doubt for the tape recorder she had going to prevent a lawsuit for failing to make full disclosure.
Just before I left to return to Italy I got a call from her with results of my test. She spoke very quickly and used only Latin terms. But I, who had six years of Latin in Catholic school, recognized the words "dead flesh."
"So," I said, " what you aspirated with great pain I might add, was scar tissue resulting from the first procedure."
There was l o n g pause followed by a hushed "Yes." Cost to me: $4,000. Cash.
I have been hospitalized twice here in Italy and have received the best of care. So I really resent this clumsy attempt to vilify a system that, while flawed in some ways, works. Italy, research revealed just yesterday, is the second healthiest country IN THE WORLD. I shudder to think where the United States falls on that list.
In the end I found the book to be repulsive (I did not waste my time finishing it), not only for its political agenda, but also for its atrocious writing, predictable plotting and characters not just one dimensional, but transparent as tissue.