Thursday, March 7, 2013

It's Nothing Personal by Kate O'Reilly

An article I read today stated that over 3 million titles are published each year, with the number rising significantly due to self-published books.  Less than 1 percent will ever make it to bookstore shelves.  Sounds quite depressing for new authors, doesn’t it?  Luckily, authors see sales through other revenues than just brick and mortar stores. (Although I SO want bookstores to stay viable businesses in this techy world.)  With the statistics so against new authors, bloggers and readers alike need to share the news when we discover someone worth reading.

When I first read about new author Kate O’Reilly’s book It’s Nothing Personal, I was intrigued.  A practicing anesthesiologist, O’Reilly was involved in an incident that changed both herself and how she viewed her career.  When advised by friends that she should write about her experience, O’Reilly decided to tell the story through fiction.  It’s Nothing Personal comes across as both medical and legal thriller packed with plenty of emotion and suspense.  O’Reilly exhibits literary talent that goes beyond this one story, and if her second book In Good Hands measures up, she will be a dual career woman.

Jenna Reiner never expected that the elective surgery she worked in January 2010 would months later threaten to ruin her reputation and career.  Despite wintery roads, Jenna arrives at the hospital with enough time to draw up the sedatives and medicines she will need to administer during the surgery, places them in a drawer on her anesthesia cart and visits the patient, all before the doctor arrives.  It will not be until later that summer that Jenna and the hospital will learn that a newly hired surgical tech stole one of Jenna’s drug-filled syringes that morning and replaced it with a used syringe filled with saline, an action she repeats in other operating rooms throughout the spring months.  After tests reveal that Jenna’s patient, along with more than twenty other patients have tested positive for hepatitis C, law suits explode.  The surgical tech, the carrier for the virus, is arrested and sentenced; her confession makes clear that her drugs often came from the surgery rooms themselves.  As suits against the hospital begin, so do individual malpractice suits against the anesthesiologists of each stricken patient.  Soon Jenna Reiner finds herself sued.

Sure that she had done nothing wrong, that her procedures met the hospital’s standard of care and security, Jenna wants to fight the suit.  However her patient’s vicious lawyers, the grueling depositions, and the fear of public accusations all begin to affect Jenna’s work and her family.  Readers will soon realize the significance of the book’s title.  The legal professionals tell Jenna that none of the proceedings are personal, but truly they are.  Jenna’s anxiety is crippling.  Fear and even betrayal keep her colleagues away.  Soon everyone is telling Jenna to settle and piece together some kind of future for her family.

While this novel will not have readers chasing across the country along with the main character as  you might in a Grisham novel, you will realistically experience the powers of the legal system and the medical world.  Missteps in both, whether intended or accidental, destroy lives.  Jenna’s alternating fits of steel-like strength and utter despair and fragility are totally believable.  I really liked this novel and sincerely hope that it is among the one percent of new titles that make it into the local bookstores.  Pass the word on!

I received a copy of this title from the author and Pump Up Your Book for review purposes.  Opinions are my own.  It you want to read other reviews and interviews about this book, check out Pump Up Your Book's author's tour.

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