In February, 1991, Elliot Gilbert checked into the hospital for routine surgery.
One day later, he was dead. Wrongful Death is a searingly frank and gripping
account of his family's experience with a medical disaster that occurs often but is
rarely discussed. It shows how vulnerable we all are to the power of the medical
Writing about the loss of her husband during routine prostate surgery--an unexplained
""wrongful death""--the author examines the legal questions surrounding such an event
and shows how vulnerable we are to the power of the medical establishment.
A wrenching tale of medical mistakes, death, shock, grief, and frustration, told with
love and anger....Her descriptions of her failure to get straight answers from the hospital
and its doctors---and her sessions with the lawyers who handled the lawsuit she eventually
felt compelled to bring--give a human dimension to the controversy about medical malpractice
litigation and its cost.... Powerful testimony to the painful truth that worst-case scenarios
really do happen.
Despite first appearances, this is not a novel. Rather, it is a levelheaded, detailed account
of the death of Elliot Gilbert, the author's husband, a college professor then 60. He had gone
into the Medical Center of the University of California at Davis for a routine operation for
prostatic cancer. Shortly after the operation, he died, apparently because hospital staff failed
to adequately monitor his blood levels. Sandra tells how she and her daughters became suspicious
when their questions were answered with obfuscation and lies. She called in lawyers, and after
investigations and much backing and forthing, the two sides reached a settlement before trial.
Sandra's account of her feelings and actions during the stressful process should have broad appeal
for individual readers as well as discussion groups. ---William Beatty