“He spread the cancer,” Karen said in disbelief. “He spread the Cancer.”
Even Doctors Cry tells the story of Dr. Alvin Reiter, his success as a prominent plastic surgeon, his love for his profession and his pride in his work. That work, included being the lead surgeon on the team that reconstructed the shattered face of Rodney King, whose name became a household word after he was beaten by the LAPD. “I always felt like Clark Kent putting on my surgical outfit,” Reiter wrote about his transformative role.
Then came, however, a time when even Superman could not help.
In 1994, Alvin was diagnosed with incurable Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and was given less than a 40% chance of living six years, while his wife Karen was diagnosed with early breast cancer in 1999
And given a 95% chance of total cure.
The doctor survived, but Karen did not. She died of metastatic breast cancer in May 2003. Her premature death was aided and abetted by her oncologist, breast and liver surgeons and the gross failure of the medical system in which human error, negligence and hubris can, and did, take a life. The facts are chilling and irrefutable.
In the midst of his own cancer battle, Dr. Reiter endured another injustice that would permanently taint his view of his chosen profession. He describes how he was made a pawn at the hands of some of his colleagues he had most respected, in an investigation by the FBI at one of the facilities where he performed his surgeries. After a legal battle which reads like “LA Law” and faced with the onset of Karen’s disease, he was forced to reevaluate his place in the medical establishment. Up till the time of her illness he had been living for his surgery, his patients, his wife, their cats and their garden. His paradise was a fool’s paradise. He had no idea what evil lurked under the Southern California sun.
Even Doctors Cry tells a riveting story of love, death, scandal and a terribly flawed medical system.