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"Oxygen": Patients don't feel the pain, but main character does
Date of Review: 
Published Work: 
Wingate Packard
Seattle Times

In Carol Cassella's strong first novel, the protagonist, Dr. Marie Heaton, is an anesthesiologist in a fictional Seattle hospital whose life is turned upside down by the death of a child on the operating table on her watch. In "Oxygen", a malpractice suit ensues; but when criminal charges are filed against Heaton, the stakes are dramatically raised.

Cassella's musings on medicine are astute and probing . . . The ethics of the drama, and Cassella's portrayal of the very real and contemporary flaws in our health-care system, make this novel a promising debut.