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By Ken McClure

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By Ken McClure
Ulverscroft Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7089-4376-4
Genre: Mystery - Medical Thriller

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - June 19, 2001

Medical thrillers' have long been associated with 'big' names such as Robin Cook. Now a new name has entered the roll of outstanding medical writers - Ken McClure. McClure has written a number of medical thrillers including Resurrection and The Tangled Web. In Donor, McClure has penned a chilling tale of science at its worst...

In this tale, McClure follows Dr. Steven Dunbar, a Home Office Sci-Med Inspector as he goes under cover at the Medic Ecosse, a private hospital, to investigate the death of Amy Teasdale. Amy was admitted to the Medic Ecosse in order to undergo a kidney transplant. Shortly afterwards she died, and one of the nurses in attendance, Lisa Fairfax, claimed that Amy had been given the wrong organ! Two years before Fairfax raised her concerns, another nurse, Sheila Barnes had made the same claim after her patient, a young boy, died after a kidney transplant. Both nurses were highly skilled, and both ridiculed for their concerns, especially as the children had been under the care of Dr. James Ross, a renowned transplant surgeon and researcher.

Alone, the two complaints could be simply chalked up to disgruntled employees. Or the fact that both women truly cared for their patients and may have been seeking any excuse they could find to reconcile themselves with the children's deaths. But while these complaints could be easily overlooked, their might still be a kernel of truth to their complaints - hence Dunbar's is sent in to investigate, just to make sure that the complaints are unfounded. He is sent in, undercover, as a glorified accountant who is charged with overseeing the use of public funds at the hospital.

Dunbar, however, quickly begins to see that the nurses might have had some real reasons for concern. And he must race the clock to discern the truth. Shortly after assuming his role as public fund overseerer, Dunbar gave the go-ahead for seven-year-old Amanda Chapman to be admitted to Medic Ecosse as a charity case. She has suffered severe renal failure, and the public hospital did not have the wear-with-all to keep her alive until a new kidney became available. It was thought that her best hope was to be admitted to the Medic Ecosse, where, with their state of the art equipment, she could be kept alive until a donor kidney became available. But was she at greater risk in the 'best hospital around' than at the public hospital? And if so, why? Answers that Dunbar must uncover before Amanda receives her new kidney.

McClure presents a sinister look at the world of transplant surgery. As well as the awesome possibilities that exist if animal to human transplants were a reality. He also probes the inequalities that exist in any 'free' or 'managed care' medical insurance program. Programs in which the rich always have the opportunity of going elsewhere, and paying for the best services available. Everyone else has to make do with what is provided - even when it is not enough.

Donor is a well-written and medically accurate novel. The story is intriguing, well plotted, and the story line all too realistic. Donor will keep you on the edge of your seat, in this excellent, yet terrifying novel.

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