A down-and-out attorney, who has become somewhat obsessed with the case of a severely impaired woman who had suffered brain damage during the course of a surgical procedure, presses forward to prove medical malpractice. In the course of developing the case he is opposed by the Bishop of the diocese which owns the hospital in question; one of the most powerful law firms in the city; and, acting as "spy" for the defense team, a beautiful woman lawyer.

Galvin, the protagonist, is encouraged to continue his pursuit of justice by an honest former partner and his own belief in the patient's childrens' right to a settlement. Galvin wins his case by proving that the medical records have been altered.


The story is compellingly suspenseful, even though a bit melodramatic in style. It reveals the extremes of compassion and of cold practicality in both legal and medical professionals, as well as exposing some of the potential for a political dark side to organized religion. This novel, though not a great work of art, certainly raises some significant aspects of the medical malpractice concern.


First published: 1984. An excellent film version stars Paul Newman.


St. Martin's

Place Published

New York


1992 (paperback)

Page Count