Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Out Of Warranty-Haywood Smith

Out Of Warranty

Haywood Smith

St. Martin's, Jan 22 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9781250003522

The medical profession universally agrees there is nothing wrong with fifty-something widow Cassie Jones except inside her head. One doctor after another concludes she is a hypochondriac though she complains about arthritis and counters their claims with her twenty-four surgeries and four joint replacements. Cassie desperately misses her late Tom for what they planned to do together in retirement. However, it is medical costs that are destroying her as she has too much income for Medicaid and too little income to pay her bills rejected by her Green Shield Health Insurance provider.

In Buckhead, Cassie meets COPD sufferer Jack Wilson at Doctor Shamlan Patel’s Fungal Institute office; neither likes the other. Dr. Patel tells Cassie she suffers from a rare genetic form of arthritis and an extreme allergy to yeast, mold and fungus. She cannot afford the cure and knows her Antichrist insurance will reject her claims. Cassie tries employment but finds only minimum wage jobs. Deciding she needs a husband with money, she tries dating; that proves worse than her employment opportunities. Her only hope is to marry the one-legged grouch she met in Patel’s waiting room as she needs his insurance and he needs her pristine abode since his farmhouse hoardes tons of dirt and whatever resides in filth.

Out Of Warranty is a biting satire that rips the American medical system through two captured customers. Cassie brings amusing caustic asides while Jack adds likable grumpiness though both at times become irritants (in fairness each stays in character). Mindful of Michael Moorer’s Sicko documentary with a deep storyline Obama could have used a few years ago, Haywood Smith lampoons the essence of the health system in which profit supersedes caring.

Harriet Klausner

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