Critical by Robin Cook
(Berkley Books, 2008, 527 pages)
Dr. Jack Stapleton and his wife Dr. Laurie Montgomery are NYC medical examiners. Laurie performs an autopsy of a young healthy man who died of a staph infection after a knee surgery. Laurie becomes involved in investigating this particular case since Jack is scheduled to have knee surgery in the same hospital. Laurie soon finds out several more autopsies of post-operative staph infection victims all came from the same surgical hospital chain, Angels Healthcare.
Angels Healthcare is a newly formed specialty hospital chain owned by private investors and physicians. In a few weeks the company will go public with an IPO, which will make lots of money for its top executives and investors. The CEO, a new MBA graduate and a doctor, has been working closely with the hospitals and a newly hired infection specialist. What puzzles everyone is despite a rigorous sterilization procedure, the infection continues to happen. To complicate things, it turns out an organized crime group also has a lot at stake in the IPO. At the end we learn that another force is trying to sabotage the IPO. The story is realistic and intriguing. A good mystery if you enjoy reading about medical topics.