One day it struck me—at 2:00 in the morning in the midst of another grueling 24-hour shift. I had just finished interviewing a nice lady with an appendix about to burst—we’ll call her Linda. I had done my best not to yawn as I went through the routine questions that an anesthesiologist is obliged to ask. She appeared nervous, which soon gave way to tears. I did my best to comfort her, took her hand, told her I would take good care of her. That I would watch over her carefully in the operating room and see her through surgery. And be there when she woke up in the recovery room. She appeared to calm down a bit. I wrapped up my pre-op assessment and asked her to sign the anesthesia consent form, while assuring her the risks would be minimal. She raised her eyebrows at this and the fearful look returned. I wondered: What the hell does minimal mean when you’re talking about life and death? More tears. She told me of her two young daughters at home that desperately needed a mommy. I felt my own throat tighten. I quickly buried my emotions, tried not to think about my wife and three sons, and focused on the task at hand as we wheeled her litter back down the hall to the OR.
After Linda, sans rotten appendix, was safely tucked in the recovery room, operation a success, anesthetic uncomplicated, I lay down in the call room to try to catch a couple of z’s. My mind wandered as I lay there. Rarely, I thought, does a person willingly surrender control of their mind and body to a virtual stranger. Yet, this is exactly what happens when the person is a patient being wheeled in for surgery and the stranger is their anesthesiologist, whom they have just met minutes beforehand. Talk about an extraordinary amount of trust. This degree of trust made a distinct impression on me that night, some twenty years ago.
Other thoughts followed soon thereafter. What if the trust Linda had exhibited earlier was ill-conceived and her doctor was actually bad? Not just incompetent or sleepy, but downright evil. Being an avid reader of thrillers, I thought this chilling concept would make for a good story. Too bad I wasn’t a writer. (Disclaimer time: I don’t want to scare people here. All the docs I have known in my 30 years of medical practice are highly competent professional people, who would never purposely hurt anyone.) But I still couldn’t shake the evil concept; it kept gnawing at me until eventually I had to put it down on paper—lack of writing experience be damned. So Adrenaline was birthed, my first medical thriller novel that explores this issue of absolute trust implicit in the anesthesiologist-patient relationship—specifically, what happens when that trust is abused and replaced by fear. Adrenaline was finally published twelve years after my encounter with Linda.
Dr. John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered medical school at Penn State University College of Medicine. While there, he also completed an internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. He currently works as a physician/anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Benedict has been writing stories since high school, but his creative side was put on hold to pursue a medical education and start a family—he now has a wife and three sons. Finally, after a 15-year pause, his love of writing was rekindled and his first novel, Adrenaline—a gritty medical thriller with a realism borne of actual experience—was born.
Besides creating scary stories, the hallmark of Dr. Benedict’s writing is genuine medical authenticity—something in short supply these days in thriller fiction. He draws on his 25+ years of experience as a board-certified anesthesiologist to infuse his writing with a realism that renders it both vivid and frightening. As one of only a handful of anesthesiologists throughout the country writing fiction, he gives readers a taste of what really goes on in the operating room, the human drama inherent in this high-stress, high stakes environment where lives are continually on the line. Readers will find out what it’s like to hold a patient’s life in their hands, as the author provides an illuminating glimpse into the fascinating, but poorly understood realm of anesthesia.
Author: JOHN BENEDICT
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About the Book: A sensational, skillful and highly suspenseful tale, Adrenaline introduces anesthesiologist protagonist Doug Landry. About Adrenaline: When patients start dying unexpectedly in the O.R. at Mercy Hospital, Doug Landry finds himself the focus of the blame. Is he really incompetent or is there something more sinister going on? As Doug struggles to clear his name and untangle the secrets surrounding these mysterious deaths, it becomes exceedingly clear that someone is serious—dead serious—about keeping the devastating truth from ever seeing the light of day. As he launches a pulse-quickening race against time to prevent more deaths, Doug soon finds that the lives of his patients aren’t the only lives at stake. Seems that someone will stop at nothing to keep Doug from revealing the truth. Could it be that murder is the ultimate rush?
About the Author: Pennsylvania native John Benedict graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and entered post-graduate training at Penn State University College of Medicine, where he completed medical school, internship, anesthesia residency and a cardiac anesthesia fellowship. Benedict currently works as an anesthesiologist in a busy private practice in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania