Sunday, March 21, 2021

Do No Harm by Christina McDonald


Title: Do No Harm
Author: Christina McDonald
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: February 16, 2021

Emma loves her life. She’s the mother of a precocious kindergartener, married to her soulmate—a loyal and loving police detective—and has a rewarding career as a doctor at the local hospital.

But everything comes crashing down when her son, Josh, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Determined to save him, Emma makes the risky decision to sell opioids to fund the life-saving treatment he needs. But when somebody ends up dead, a lethal game of cat and mouse ensues, her own husband leading the chase. With her son’s life hanging in the balance, Emma is dragged into the dark world of drugs, lies, and murder. Will the truth catch up to her before she can save Josh?

What will a mother do for her kid?

Will she donate an organ? 

Will she give her child away to give her or him a better life? 

Will she sell her body to earn money to bring food to the table? 

Or will she sell opiates to pay for a medical treatment that is cost-prohibitive?

The last one is exactly the scenario Dr. Emma Sweeney is living.         

Emma has only wanted one thing since her parents died: to have a family. Meeting Nate and having their son, Josh has been the best thing that happened to her.  She loves her husband and adores her child. 

Emma is a doctor at a local clinic, she is still paying her student loans and her husband Nate is a detective. They live a modest life without luxury but they're happy. Then the blow comes, Josh is diagnosed with AML and he needs treatment right away. He can either have chemo and a poor prognosis or he can go with CAR T-cell therapy which will cost them 100k plus insurance. 

Emma, who knows time is of the essence and money is needed or the hospital won't help Josh, does the unimaginable. She decides to sell signed prescriptions of opiates for cash. She needs to be smart about it. She has old connections she can push to help her while making sure her smart husband, the cop, doesn't discover her. 

What a heartbreaking story! Christina McDonald does a great job at describing some of the broken pieces in medicine including the cost of cancer treatment, the opiate crisis, addiction, the power of insurance companies, to name a few. 

I was surprised how easy it was for Emma to leave her conscience behind. Yet, I understood her motives. I felt for her dilemma and her fear of losing Josh. However, I can't say that agree with what she was doing. The world of drugs is a dangerous and usually a lethal one. 

I  had some minor issues with the story and it might because of my job. Nowadays, Eforce is becoming universal. PDMP is checked regularly. Most prescription pads are under lock and key and we never have opiates at the office. 

Despite the above, Do No Harm was a gratifying thriller.

I do know now that whatever Christina McDonald writes next, I will read.

Cliffhanger: No

4.5/5 Fangs

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