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Informed Consent

By Sandra L. Glahn


Dr. Jeremy Cramer is a young doctor on the verge of a cutting-edge medical discovery. But his research is derailed when Cramer's son is infected with a rare fatal disease. Now as he races against time to save his child's life, Cramer will make a decision that could shatter his career.
Informed Consent is a pulse-pounding medical thriller that complements the current popularity of hospital dramas. With non-stop suspense, snappy dialogue, and witty humor, author Sandra Glahn takes a look at some of today's hot-button issues through this provocative story.

Book Takeaway:

An exploration of end-of-life issues; the value of good cross-gender friendships; the importance of families spending time together; how easy it is to be bitter; how life has inherent risk; the complexity of medical-ethical choices.

Why the author wrote this book:

Shortly after I graduated from college, I took a job in downtown Dallas, and there I had lunch daily with a group of young professionals. Two of my friends in that group were actively engaged in a homosexual lifestyle, and they both died of AIDS. One contracted HIV after surviving a knifing. As he walked to his car one night, he got jumped by some guys who felt they were “doing society a favor.” They sliced his kidney and he told me he didn't even realize it until he got in the shower and looked down. The water around his feet was red.
That same year, we buried the husband of a friend from church. And in another church, one that often partnered with ours, the music pastor died of AIDS. He’d contracted HIV years earlier from a dirty needle. All that was just the beginning.

Fifteen years and millions and millions of deaths later, it’s easy to get compassion fatigue. But we can’t afford to.

My more specific interest, which is why one of my main characters is a person of faith, lies in the response of the faith community to the pandemic. If you haven’t seen the “Frontline” documentary, “The Age of AIDS,” which you can watch on the web, I recommend doing so. The film itself is about the virus, but I think it also captures well the faith community’s opposing responses to the pandemic.

The first is judgment. My niece is a spiritual person, but to my knowledge she does not profess faith exclusively in Jesus Christ. And sadly, in her work with AIDS patients, she has encountered Christians who have the attitude that “AIDS patients deserve to die because their disease is their own fault.”

The second is compassion. Contrast Heather’s experience with a conversation I had. A now-retired general who directed one of the world’s largest international aid organizations, having just returned from a tour of something like thirty-eight countries, gave me a much different perspective. When I asked, “What’s the most exciting thing you see happening worldwide?” he surprised me with, “The response of Christians in Africa to the AIDS crisis.” He went on to tell how denominational hospitals and relief organizations were working with governments, pharmaceutical companies, and local pastors to lead the way in working for education, free medication, and support for the afflicted and their families.

A few months later I read virtually the same assessment from Nicholas Kristof in one of his New York Times columns.

The contrast between the North American church’s response in the past (it’s changing now) and the African church’s response troubled me. We need to keep rethinking the stereotypes and lack of compassion.

I consider what my niece encountered to be a graceless response. And I think a lack of grace is a lack of imagination—the inability to imagine how easy it would be to find ourselves in someone else’s shoes given that person’s set of circumstances.


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