Damages

Damages

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by Barry Werth
     
 

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When Donna Sabia went into labor on April 1, 1984, she was expecting healthy twins. Instead, one baby was stillborn-and the other just barely clung to life. Caring for their son would exhaust the Sabias emotionally, financially, and physically, and put a nearly lethal strain on their marriage-but after deciding that a lawsuit might bring them some relief, they

Overview

When Donna Sabia went into labor on April 1, 1984, she was expecting healthy twins. Instead, one baby was stillborn-and the other just barely clung to life. Caring for their son would exhaust the Sabias emotionally, financially, and physically, and put a nearly lethal strain on their marriage-but after deciding that a lawsuit might bring them some relief, they discovered that what it brought was a seven-year-long maelstrom of conflict, stress, and further expense. This examination of the Sabia family's story brings us not only into their lives but into the lives of the doctors, lawyers, insurance carriers, and countless other players in this heartrending tale of human sorrow which is also, in the words of The San Francisco Chronicle, "a disturbing biopsy of a system in serious need of an overhaul."

Here is the book that A Civil Action fans have been waiting for. "Deserves to be read and thought about and discussed by people on all sides of the complex and often ugly collisions of law and medicine." (New York Times Book Review)

"Fascinating and detailed... Damages makes excellent reading...a great book and not just for doctors and lawyers. Anyone who enjoyed Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action will enjoy Damages." -Journal of the American Medical Association

"In the same league as Jonathan Harr's masterpiece, Civil Action." -St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Richly detailed...a gripping, page-turning story...revealing and troubling." -Kirkus Reviews

--Praised for its "meticulous detail" (San Diego Union Tribune), Damages is already being used in law-school courses
--A timely, serious, evenhanded book that gives a human face to the health-care crisis
--Takes readers behind the scenes of both the legal and medical professions

Editorial Reviews

Journal of the American Medical Association
This is a great book and not just for doctors and lawyers. Anyone who enjoyed Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action will enjoy Damages. I was left wondering what sort of system could be devised that would serve the needs of parents faced with catastrophic loss, prevent substandard care, and protect doctors who are unjustly sued.
New England Journal of Medicine
For readers steeped in the literature of medical malpractice, this excellent, well-written book takes a novel, insightful, and humane approach....Unlike so many works on the subject of medicine and the law, this book neither exalts nor demonizes the lawyers and physicians who were cast as opponents by circumstances and events.
New York Times Book Review
Deserves to be read and thought about and discussed on all sides of the complex and often ugly collisions of law and medicine.
San Francisco Chronicle
A disturbing biopsy of a system in serious need of overhaul.
Library Journal
Werth (The Billion Dollar Molecule, LJ 2/1/94) integrates the story of one family's travails after the birth of a profoundly disabled son with an unbiased view of medical and legal issues. Werth reviewed files and interviewed most of the people involved in the medical malpractice case brought by the parents of Tony John Sabio. This meticulous, even-handed approach results in a book that is both an engrossing look at the experiences of one family and a serious glimpse into the American medical malpractice industry. It also touches on the serious question of whether, given the competing interests involved, a medical malpractice suit can be an effective tool to discover the truth or achieve justice. This is the book that Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action (LJ 9/15/95) aspired to be but was not because Harr did not put that particular lawsuit into the larger context. Recommended for any library where medical and/or legal true stories are in demand.Suzanne Pierce Dyer, Alameda Cty. Law Lib., Oakland, Cal.
NY Times Book Review
Deserves to be read and thought about and discussed on all sides of the complex and often ugly collisions of law and medicine.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425168639
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/1999
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Jonathan Harr
A meticulous, detailed and yet highly readable account of how the lives of one family that suffered a great tragedy intersected with those of doctors and lawyers....An important and powerful book.
— Author of A Civil Action

Meet the Author

Barry Werth is an award-winning journalist and the acclaimed author of six books. His landmark first book, The Billion-Dollar Molecule, recounts the founding and early struggles of Vertex. Werth’s articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and GQ, among others. He has taught journalism and nonfiction writing at Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Boston University.

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Damages 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fascinating and frustrating. It gives a very good insider's look at what I do -- which is sue doctors in big damages cases almost exactly like this one. It is fascinating because of the way the book successfully balances and tells the story from both sides. The description of the bargaining strategies of the two sides may seem looney to an outsider, but this is exactly how it goes. Years of delay with a sudden move to resolve the case on the eve of trial. The description of the role of expert witnesses is also on point. Frustrating is the way that some obvious points are unwittingly (deliberately for dramatic effect[?]) brushed aside. For instance, much is made of whether the 'deep pocket' hospital can be kept in the case. But with the hospital's nurses and midwives seeing mom in the clinic and handling the delivery and with violations of hospital protocols all around, what was ever the problem? And since when is an insurance company ever 'stuck' with an expert's opinion -- especially when it's the plaintiff's expert. Don't like an opinion? Get a new expert. All-in-all, however, a very informative book which will keep you going until the end.