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Literature / A Case of Need

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A Case Of Need is a 1968 mystery novel written by Michael Crichton, who went under the name "Jeffery Hudson" at the time. This novel was adapted into a 1972 film titled The Carey Treatment. There is a 1993 re-release of this book under Crichton's actual name.

Dr. John Berry, the protagonist, is a pathologist working in Boston during the 1960s, a time when abortion was illegal in the United States. The story opens with an introduction of the various requirements and challenges of the medical profession during the era. Subsequently, Dr. Berry is notified that his friend, an obstetrician named Arthur Lee, has been accused of performing an illegal abortion that led to the death of Karen Randall, a prominent member of an established medical dynasty. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Lee is already well known amongst the medical community as an abortion provider and that Berry has in the past helped Lee disguise medical samples to hide the fact that Lee's dilation and curettage patients were pregnant. Berry is trying to prove his friend's innocence, and he finds out quite a bit along the way.


This book provides examples of:

  • Amoral Attorney: Wilson is quite the unscrupulous lawyer.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Randalls are wealthy and powerful in the medical world. However, they are willing to bribe people, and Karen Randall's uncle performed abortions on her three times before.
  • Scary Black Man: Karen Randall's African-American boyfriend is a very disagreeable person, who will resort to murdering people just to cover up his involvement in Karen's death.


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