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Murder ... Can't Be Prevented

In 1994 the Pataluzans (actually Chile) had been loudly informing the world that their system of aggressive injury prevention had markedly cut their worker compensation costs without sacrificing good care. Prof. Edgar Stratham, M.D., Ellen Chapman, Esq. and Alex Steinman, M.D.(the narrator) who were involved in the Worker's Compensation Program in California, decided to visit Pataluza and study its worker compensation system while having a bit of fun down under. Due to their intelligence, powers of observation and bad luck, the Yankee trio stumble upon and unearth evil--tragic, ageless evil.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Dr. Isaac Roundsworth

Doctor Isaac Roundsworth is a practicing physician, a less than adequate basketball player and a retired army medical colonel. his travels have taken him to chile, utah and africa, which are the locales for the three adventures that comprise the alexander steinman trilogy. he resides in california with his three sons, who are adequate basketballers, and his wife. he is currently rewriting the short stories he has been honing for the last decade and - like everyone else on the west coast - trying to sell a screenplay he recently completed.

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In April 1993, I traveled to Chile with two colleagues, a lady lawyer and an MD college prof. All three of us were knowledgeable regarding worker compensation issues. Thanks to the efforts of la abogada, we were met by many people from the Chilean 'comp' community. We were lectured to, conferenced with and then wined and dined.

My take on the Chileans I met was that they were somewhat idealistic, somewhat pragmatic and reasonably competent. Although the 70s and 80s were times of travail and unhappiness in Chile, I saw none of that in 1993.

In my brief visit down under, I learned that the Chilean comp community had a program, a CAT scanner, a hyperbaric chamber and a great deal of enthusiasim. They call their comp insurance companies 'mutuales'. (In the novel, I call them 'grupos'.) I might have learned more, but I was too busy enjoying our hosts and the excellent Pisco sours that they poured. On the down side, they served powdered instant coffee -- Chileans are tea-drinkers.

My attorney colleague had been a human rights advocacy lawyer in Chile in the 80s -- she left after threats were made upon her life. It was not hard for her to see shadows as dragons, and she described them vividly to me. Since I have a lively imagination and a touch of paranoia (there are two kinds of Jews, paranoid Jews and dead Jews), it was not hard for me to envision a sinister plot and invent an evil organization.

Such plots, such organizations may exist somewhere in the world, perhaps even in Chile, but boring lectures and lively lunches do not provide evidence of a conspiracy.

My abogada colleague and I do know a place where injured workers are treated poorly in the name of fraud prevention and where the boot of greed lands on their throats -- California.

That is why I called the nation of location of my novel Pataluza, rather than Chile. Pataluza is not Chile -- it is not even in the same hemisphere as Chile.

The fictional character Ellen Chapman bears some superficial resemblance to la abogada, who is one of the true heroes of the last millennium and this one, but the important details of the novel are my inventions. They didn't happen.

The prof is also a hero -- Japanese antipollution devices are named after him -- and a gentleman. That's not very interesting, so I overlaid the bare bones of the Stratham persona with other traits -- I made him pushy, offensive... me.

BG BJ Simms, the world's most competent gasbag, is my tribute to another of my heroes,a local teacher. An old friend (also a hero in my eyes and others), inspired Rabbi Jacopo Goldspiel.

I spent an hour chatting with a Santiago lady lawyer in a restaurant there -- that gave me the idea for Teresa Sanchez.

Most of the Army medical stuff either happened or could have, but the CIA -- MI stuff is nonsense, I hope. I pray that there is no such compound as imino-methyl-cocanoic acid. Unlike COL Fred Flynne, I know nothing about the pineal gland.

The characters COL Pettett and LTC Cosgrove are compilations of all the good (Pettett) and negative (Cosgrove) traits of all of the medical staff I have worked with but anyone who thinks that the man who brought Army neurology from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first is a mirror image of Cosgrove is wrong, although I did have a lot of fun with the fictional character Cosgrove.

I would comment more about Mary Margaret Steinman, but I'm in enough trouble already. Finally, Alex. Who is he? I don't know.

As you read this book, you may find yourself asking yourself, 'Did this happen?' That is the wrong question. Ask yourself, 'Will I let this happen in the future?'