Before he came up with “Dead Head” Allen Wyler came up with the premise of this novel which was released back in 2005. Despite the premise which could all too easily happen, nothing has been changed that I know of at least, to really prevent such occurrences. If anything, electronic medical records are becoming more and more common. The concept of electronic medical records (EMR) is often touted as a way to save costs and lives while preventing human errors. As authors have repeatedly pointed out, an over reliance in computers and technology can have grave if not disastrous consequences for all. Neurosurgeon Allen Wyler explores both ideas and blends them together to create an interesting, occasionally graphic, read.

Dr. Tyler Mathews works at the Maynard Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. A hospital that never could have afforded the technology on its own became a test site for the Med-InDx Electronic Medical Record system. Everything about the patient is recorded into the system and according to the company, human error has been eliminated. The system is perfect and will save thousands of lives while speeding medical care. But as Dr. Tyler Mathews knows, it has taken a life.

Dr. Mathew’s patient, a young man suffering from epilepsy, received far more radiation than he should have reducing his brain to mush. As Mathews pushes the hospital management to investigate an error that seems to have vanished, his own medical expertise comes into question. Could he have made the mistake? He soon realizes he didn’t because he begins to hear of other similar treatment errors. Other cases where infallible records where changed, treatment was compromised, and patients died. The deaths may not stop there as someone is seeking the final solution to shut down Dr. Tyler Mathews permanently.

I’m not a big fan of novels purported to be medical thrillers as often then seem to cross over into the horror genre. However, in this case, while there are a couple of scenes that are rather graphic involving patients, they aren’t gratuitous and are used to push the story forward. As such, they are necessary and while they may make those of us who have had lots of medical problems a bit squeamish, the primary focus is on the mystery of why things are happening. That core mystery is very good and done very well.

With realistic detailed characters, plenty of scene description and an excellent premise, the author has created a twisting tale of greed, deception, and the low value some would place on human life. Written by a man who has been there and clearly done that, the author details the risks of such technology and the consequences should the technology fail while providing an excellent mystery read.

Deadly Errors

By Allen Wyler

Forge

July 2005

ISBN 0-765-31311-1

Hardback

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Honorable Mention Winner in Mysterical-E’ s Skeletons in the Closet –“Burning Questions”
http://www.mystericale.com/

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