Noble Vision Paperback – Jan 15 2005
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". . . a suspenseful tale of one surgeons heroic struggle to save his work and the woman he loves. . . . Inspiring . . ." -- Beth Haynes, MD
". . . extraordinary hero, a tender love story, a fascinating medical discovery, and an intense family conflict are dramatically interwoven . . ." -- Edith Packer, JD, PhD, psychologist
". . Youll be captured till the end by villains youll despise, heroes youd love to meet, plus betrayal, romance. . . " -- Karen Tierney, MD
"A beautifully crafted and completely engaging novel. It made me want to stand up and cheer!" -- James Vawter, MD
"Salutary tale of what can happen to medical breakthroughs if Big Government claws even deeper into our health care system!" -- Steve Forbes, President and CEO, Forbes magazine
. . . intriguing novel about how unintended consequences of good intentions can have a devastating impact on the healing professions. . . . -- Walter E. Williams, syndicated columnist and John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University
A gripping story superimposed on today's threats to quality medical care. -- Edward Annis, MD, Past President, American Medical Association, and author of Code Blue
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
Noble Vision resembles an Ayn Rand novel . . . It captivated me from beginning to end. -- Jane M. Orient, MD, Executive Director, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and author of Your Doctor Is Not In
The defects of government-controlled medicine are dramatized effectively in this page-turning story . . . -- Milton Friedman, economist and Nobel laureate
About the Author
People who are inspired by the novels and philosophy of Ayn Rand will enjoy this author's first novel, NOBLE VISION, and will also want to read her new, second novel, A DREAM OF DARING. Gen won two national literary awards for her medical and romance thriller, NOBLE VISION. The novel won a ForeWord magazine Book-of-the-Year Award and was a finalist in the Writer’s Digest 13th international book awards---two of the most prestigious honors in the world of independent publishing. It also was a finalist in the Midwest Book Awards and a second-place winner in the Illinois Women’s Press Association Fiction Contest. Gen is a former pharmaceutical chemist and healthcare writer, and she also pens political and social commentary. Her commentaries have appeared in The Orange County Register, The Daily Caller, Real Clear Markets, Mises Daily, Rocky Mountain News, Gainesville Sun, and other publications. She has been a lively guest speaker at the national conference, FreedomFest, and she has discussed her gripping novel on the Barry Farber Show and other talk-radio programs. She was also a guest on Glenn Beck’s national television program. Asked what moved her to write NOBLE VISION, Gen replies, “After years of working in the healthcare industry, I feel as if I’m witnessing the slow death of something great, something that shouldn’t be allowed to die---America’s gold standard of medicine.” Why did she choose to write fiction? “Ever since I read Gone With the Wind at age 13, I’ve been enthralled by sweeping novels that capture a historic moment in an unforgettable way. I wanted to tell the story of what’s happening in medicine today---how it, too, could be gone with the wind---through the spellbinding magic of fiction.” Gen is working on a third novel, and she's also completed the screenplay adaptation of NOBLE VISION.
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The basic plot of the novel is really quite simple, but the philosophical ramifications are profound. Dr. David Lang, a noted and successful neurosurgeon, has discovered a way to regenerate nerve tissue. The government (of the state of New York, in this case) will not allow him to try his experimental procedure on Nicole Hudson, a professional ballerina who has become blind because of a fall which occurred during an explosion at the theater where she was performing. And why can't Dr. Lang help Nicole to possibly regain her sight with his new medical breakthrough? Well, because medical practice in New York is now regulated by the state's socialized medicine program (named, interestingly enough, "CareFree"), and Dr. Lang's procedure has not yet been "officially" approved. It doesn't matter, of course, that Nicole, as his patient, has granted him permission to try the new procedure.
There are a number of subplots in the story, adding complexity to both the major theme of the novel and the suspense experienced by the reader, and a cast of characters who are clearly drawn and with whom the reader will either identify or vilify. The state's governor is an exemplar of the truly corrupt politician; the head of the state's socialized medicine program is a compromised physician (who just happens to be Dr. Lang's father!); and Marie Lang, David's wife, who is also a physician but one who has caved in to the powers-that-be, has given up her dream of being a cardiologist to be a general practitioner because that was the "socially correct" thing to do. Other characters grace the pages of this fine novel and the reader has no trouble determining where they stand in relation to the main theme of the book. Yes, it's pretty much black and white, and that's the way good fiction ought to be when it's trying to get the reader to think about an important issue. This is what fiction in the "Romantic" tradition is meant to be. In LaGreca's novel there are no namby-pamby gray areas of moral indecisiveness; there are no colorless characters who couldn't be heroes or villains because they wouldn't know the difference; there is no compromise between true individualism and the suffocating policies of state collectivism. Hurray for that!
Remember Hilary Clinton's proposed healthcare program back in the 1990s? One thought that occurred to me as I read further into this novel was how close this story was to what probably would have occurred if her healthcare program had, in fact, been implemented. One point that stood out was this: in the Clinton program, as I recall, a physician could be fined and/or imprisoned for treating a patient privately. I found such a proposal shocking at the time. In "Noble Vision," this possibility becomes "real," in the sense that a novel can actually serve to illustrate just how such an immoral policy would be applied if executed, and the consequences of such a misguided program. I am old enough to remember the days when the practice of medicine was considered a "calling," and physicians were more concerned about treating their patients than about becoming rich or meeting the arbitrary whims of some bureaucrat. The practice of medicine does not mix well with politics; in fact, I would argue that politics would be (and yet may be) the death of good, sound medical practice.
There are, in my considered opinion, three types of people (or institutions) one should absolutely avoid: Those who say (1) "I know what is best for you"; (2) "I'm only doing this for your own good"; and (3) "This will hurt me more than it will you." Substitute the "State" or "government" for "I," or "I'm," or "me" in the above statements and you'll get my point and, I think, the warning that this novel provides. Socialized medicine is, in reality, "antisocial" medicine, and the evidence can be found in the failing programs implemented in countries such as England and Canada. LaGreca's novel simply brings this idea into "reality" by showing what would inevitably happen.
A brief word about the writing itself. I am supersensitive to sentence structure and word usage when it comes to fiction. I will cease reading any novel when I begin to pay more attention to the writing itself than to the story. Fortunately, in this case, I have nothing but praise for the writing style of the author. She writes excellent prose; there is no excessive description, which means no superfluous adjectives and adverbs (so common these days), and no complex sentences to confuse the reader, but just a comfortable "flow" of words, driven by nouns and verbs, which propels the story forward and doesn't interfere with the readers' involvement in the story itself. LaGreca is not only a great storyteller, she is also a great story-stylist.
Now, does Dr. David Lang get to perform his experimental procedure on Nicole Hudson (with whom he is secretly in love), and does it all end well? I am not one to give away the ending of a book which will, I guarantee, keep you turning the pages into the night. An excellent story, highly recommended by one who doesn't do so lightly, especially when it comes to fiction. But, this novel is truly "fiction that makes an important point."
As with any work of futuristic fiction, a certain degree of 'suspension of disbelief' is required. But in Noble Vision, that degree is not very high because the state of medical care, the book's milieu, is so eerily close to what we have today under Medicare, Medicaid, and the myriad HMOs across America.
The two main characters, 23-year old ballerina Nicole Hudson, and neuro-surgeon /neurological researcher David Lang, want nothing more than to pursue their own lives and personal dreams --- undictated to by others. But while Nicole has attained her hard-won goal by dancing the lead in a unique, classical ballet, before a packed house on Broadway, Dr. Lang is deeply frustrated by having to work under the constant watchful eye of a fledgling bureaucracy called CareFree, New York's state-run HMO. Not only must he justify every operation on every patient, but his breakthrough discovery in nerve regeneration, to which he's devoted seven years of research and his own funds, is now under CareFree's thumb as well. He must present his progress toward proving his theory to CareFree's Department of Medical Research in order legally to continue his nerve tissue experiments.
When Nicole sustains a life-altering injury that will end her dancing career, she and other victims of an explosion arrive at the one hospital where David has operating privileges. Upon examining her with a colleague, David sees that Nicole is an ideal candidate for his nerve re-growth treatment. But the procedure is still experimental; it is nowhere near ready for human trials. Not only is CareFree unlikely to approve his treatment in such tragic circumstances, but David knows he must operate almost immediately --- and he must ensure that Nicole understands the limited odds for a successful outcome.
Once you reach this point in Noble Vision, I can almost guarantee you won't want to put it down.
When it comes to health care in America, you and I both know that the government is not our friend: to wit, Medicare and Medicaid, and the FDA, ('which speaks with forked tongue'). But then, neither are the insurance conglomerates, with their over-priced 'benefit plans' and ever-changing drug formularies --- dictating to highly trained professionals what diagnostic tests to run, what treatments to give, what drugs to prescribe, and what fees to charge.
While Medicare and Medicaid are in the red, private HMOs and other health plans are very much in the black. In my personal view, what we have in this country is a combination of socialized medicine and corporate medicine-for-profit. Health care companies are making plenty of money for their top executives and for their shareholders, at the expense of patients and practitioners, and the overall decline in quality of medical care.
Because health care professionals have not protested long and loudly during the past 50 years, we no longer have the finest medical care in the world. But we certainly have the most expensive ... just as we have the biggest government money can buy.
In a few scenes, Noble Vision is a bit melodramatic, probably due to early influences from the works of Ayn Rand. I do agree with one pre-publication reviewer, (Judith Kleinfeld, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the Univ. of Alaska) that ... "[reading Noble Vision] reminded me of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead." Readers familiar with Rand's other works of fiction, as I once was, will no doubt recognize stylistic touches reminiscent of Anthem and Atlas Shrugged.
This does not detract, in my view, from Gen LaGreca's abilities as a storyteller. No doubt she will develop her own voice before very long. With vividly drawn characters entangled in an extremely clever plot, coupled with an exquisite but quite possibly doomed love story, Gen LaGreca has created a rollercoaster read with her very first novel. I strongly recommend it to you, while I eagerly await novel #2, which I hope is well underway.
Being in the healthcare field (dentist), this is a topic that's near and dear to me....but it was just a little too predictable, as if she set out to write the "medical Fountainhead."
If you believe in her philosophy (I do), then you will like this book's message, but find the story kind of weak. If you are a died in the wool socialist/government healthcare/populist kind of person, you will find it to be uninspired propaganda.
I wouldn't recommend my friends buy this book, but they are welcome to borrow mine.
Or better yet, tell them to read Fountainhead and make the leap themselves.