The Last Rose of Summer


Medical Fiction

Date Published: June 25, 2020

Publisher: Archway Publishing

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While working independently as a pre-med student at Cleary University, the soon-to-be physician, Mary Austin, discovers a remarkable, non-toxic drug that could offer tremendous hope to cancer patients. Her work is headed for publication in a top medical journal until a drug company begins negotiations with her bosses from which she is mysteriously excluded.

Amid egregious sexual harassment, Mary's materials are blatantly sabotaged. As death threats follow and her work becomes impossible, she is accepted at Whitehead College of Medicine despite evidence that her bosses tampered with her application process. After becoming a pediatrics resident, she shares her story with her beloved mentor, Dr. Daniel Taylor, who allows her to temporarily leave her residency training to reproduce the work. Her joy turns to sorrow and then determination when she learns that Dr. Taylor is battling terminal pancreatic cancer. Even as a chain of events prompts the sabotage of Mary's drug stock and leaves her seemingly without any choice but to permanently leave academic medicine, the story of her drug is not over yet.

In this novel inspired by a true story, after a young cancer researcher discovers a breakthrough drug that could change chemotherapy, the drug industry suppresses the breakthrough and transforms her life and career forever.




The Camera Aversion of Scientists

If you want to see a lab empty out like the place is on fire, get a camera. Almost everybody who works in labs is camera shy. This can be a problem if you’re in that large majority and land in a prominent lab where the university (or even local media crews) might be around on a regular basis depending on what’s been discovered. These poor guys, who are just trying to do their jobs, want to film scientists doing science, but the problem is that almost all of the scientists want to run away.

One postdoc I remember even hid in the lab’s “hot room” to avoid a news crew. That’s the term for the room where all the radioactive materials are stored— very safely, really; there’s little to no risk to going in that room despite its off-putting appearance. The university’s radiation safety staff inspects those rooms regularly, and nobody’s allowed in there without knowing what they’re doing.

But the door has those giant radiation warning signs on it, and my colleague correctly guessed that the camera people sure as hell wouldn’t follow him there.

…That guy in the hot room stood around for almost an hour with nothing to do, until he was sure the crew was gone. Having successfully avoided appearing in the video, he went back to work and faced nothing but a bit of ribbing from the rest of us.


About the Author

Mary Austin is the pseudonym for a physician who, in order to publicize a suppressed discovery in cancer research, had to sacrifice first her academic career, then a career as a board-certified pediatrician, and then her personal safety. She would do it again.

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