Book Reviews

Robin Cook's novel, Cell

Just now I finished reading Robin Cook, the master of medical thriller’s novel, “Cell”. A happy, satisfying fare as usual. The last 2 pages containing the epilogue was especially satisfying with its poetic justice and settled my nagging uneasiness about the plot’s course! A veritable feast for all lovers of Cook’s novels.

In this novel Cook has woven his plot around the theme of a medicare device, a smart invention, experimented on consenting patients and an ominous ‘glitch’ which worries Dr.George endlessly. It is a gripping story about the ruthless nature of business magnates, intelligent brains and federal government working in hand-in-glove fashion to promote unethical, greedy and high-handed practices.

iDoc the wonder machine-an application- connected to the patient’s cell phone is a marvel indeed. It is heuristic which means the device learns in the process of its service to the person serving as a personal, handy doctor prescribing and monitoring round the clock. It is so hassle-free, convenient for the patient saving time, visits to clinics which are costly and time-consuming. 

The story deals with how this unbelievably good device can be manipulated by parties with vested interest by becoming a death panel to terminally ill patients. The argument is to ration medical care in the last months of life. There is infinite demand for health care which only people with power and money can afford.

The germ for this wonderful invention was born in George’s brain. But he is shocked to see the potential for danger it had when put into use. I fully empathise with him and am happily impressed with his honest, idealistic, ethical approach to his profession. I am especially happy to learn that he does not allow himself to be outsmarted by powerful enemies risking his very life. A very admirable character is this doctor portrayed by Cook.

The plot dallies around the concept of euthanasia, my favourite concept, and how it is grossly abused by the manipulators of this medical device called iDoc. George neatly sums it up thus:”What would I have paid to have six more months with my fiancee. But may be, she would have wanted to avoid the pain and suffering. Still, I would much rather that the decision had been hers and not an algorithm’s.”

Cook has an expertise in exposing scams in the medical profession and its associated industries. He excels in this novel also. It is a unique pleasure to see his heroes with sincere spirits, policies and ethics undauntedly standing against all cunning, scheming giants, staunchly upholding his humane, ethical, sincere values.

P.S. As usual reading about western countries' lifestyles unfailing gave me the cultural shock and I get nauseated by their concepts about sex and marriage!


More by :  Pavalamani Pragasam

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