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A Case of Need

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  23,147 ratings  ·  951 reviews
Written as Jeffery Hudson in 1968.
A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's award-winning debut novel, written shortly after he completed his medical internship. Set against the ever-building pressure and pace of a large Boston medical center, the tensions flare-and explode-when a surgical operation tragically ends in death, raising countless questions. Was it accidental malpra
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Signet (first published April 1st 1968)
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Supersagebrod If you enjoy shows like Grey's Anatomy of ER, I would strongly recommend you to read it.

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Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Crichton's first published book. PUblished when he was 26. Oh, the envy. You can really see his medical training here, as well as the unavoidable road to his eventual creation of ER.
I'm a sucker for a book that I'll learn something from and this one has footnotes and appendices for further medical background and explanations. There is a good look into the behind the scenes of a hospital.

The plot revolves around the issue of abortion in the late sixties. I'm guesstimating at the year because it
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
I really liked it. Fast paced, interesting and with unexpected turn at the end. Little unrealistic that one doctor can go around and does what John Berry did, and that's the only reason for my 4 stars review.
1968. I was in college near Boston. One of my housemates, a girl I didn't know well, was pregnant. Her roommate learned that the ex-boyfriend and father, a pre-med student, was planning to perform an amateur abortion. This was 5 years before Roe v. Wade. My housemates, all urban people, were galvanized into action, calling friends and even their mothers to locate a safe abortionist. I really had nothing to contribute except hand-wringing. The girl eventually decided to have the baby, and I think ...more
After a long time read a medical thriller.....
And enjoyed it....

This is the story of a pathologist who fights for.his ObGyn friend who is prosecuted for the alleged abortion leading to uterine trauma, exsanguination and finally, death due to penicillin anaphylaxis shock of a young , rich, well connected female who is surrounded by prominent doctor relatives.
The pathologist is an upright doctor who fights for justice to his friend, Lee, who denies having performed that particular abortion.
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Got this free on kindle and can see why. Michael Chriton's first novel is a dated medical thriller dealing with the death of a young girl by an illegal abortion (the book was written in 1969). Thoroughly unlikable narrator, way too many characters and medical jargon, and a convoluted and confusing plot. Obviously his writing improved with age as demonstrated in his later novels like Disclosure and Rising Sun.
Jenny Boyce
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Meh- just an ok read. Interesting but not super thrilling.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Michael Crichton has the rare ability to produce stimulating fast-paced fiction mixed with intelligent technical description. The book is a whodunit centered around an abortion that may or may not have been preformed. A good fast paced read.
Kevin McGinn
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book!!!
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall a very enjoyable read. For me it was a fantastic insight into the behaviours and attitudes of the time. The beginnings of black people emerging into a predominately white society, the role of women, views on coloured immigrants, the climate of the time, the attitudes towards abortion. A fantastic picture of the time was painted.

I was happy to note that even the protagonist was imperfect in his ways and it came through naturally, not as if it had been added for flavour. All characters we
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A very fast paced medical thriller. Till the end I was sure of it being a 5 starrer or at least 4. The end well, besides being disappointing did not really sync with the rest of the story.

Dr Lee is accused of the death of a seventeen year old girl after an illegal abortion. She happens to be the daughter of a famous and arrogant cardiothoracic surgeon. So things are on the move and Dr John the narrator a friend of Dr Lee and a pathologist at the same hospital takes it up. There are many twists
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A doctor is anxious to prove his colleague is innocent of killing a young girl in a botched abortion. As he tries to find who did the abortion many other medical professionals are implicated in this fantastic book with an unsuspected outcome. I recommend this book as a fascinating great read.
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book would be classified under, “Medical Fiction” because it deals with medical surgeons, and doctors trying to unravel the mystery of the murder or suicide of Karen Randall. Dr. Lee a young pathologist is accused of an illegal abortion. Art Lee’s lawyer didn’t want to deal with the case so he abandoned him with no help. When John Berry heard about this crisis he came to help his friend and try to find the real story of the death of Karen Randall. As he finds later in the novel, the history ...more
John Mcconahey
If you’re a doctor, you’ll probably love this book. After all, Crichton attended Harvard Medical School and is certainly knowledgeable of the medical practices and techniques in effect at the time of publication (1968). If you’re a determined layman, have a dictionary close at hand while you follow this plot. Just be aware, this isn’t a book for fast reading (if you really want to know what the terms that are used mean) and it's heavily footnoted and apendicized. But, don’t let that discourage y ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
This book started really well. There was a dead patient, a daughter of a famous doctor and a friend of the protagonist was accused doing the abortion that led to the death of the patient.
It was intriguing (though I am not sure that a layman could enjoy reading it uninterrupted without consulting google or dictionary) and the plot was built really well.
Half through the book, I have to admit that I couldn't put it down until I finished
My problem with this book is there was some unsolved mysteries
Jose  Seco Sanz
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, thriller
Great book. I'm always amazed (and envious) when I see how young some of my favorite authors were when they wrote some books I have loved. I think Michael was 26 when he wrote this. It doesn't fit into my head that I could write like this when I was 26. I don't think I could write like this now.
Anyway, a good thriller, good pace, intriguing case, good research and explanations. To me, it feels like a bit of a trick, because I think the reader could never guess for sure who was the culprit.
Cara Hinton
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am so happy to have Michael Crichton back in my life, I don't care how long ago this was written. For the was a very thought provoking book. The end notes were great and also thought provoking. One of my favorite authors, I'm so happy I found his early stuff. You can see where he was always thinking about big issues and how they affected people and government, etc. So happy!
Victor Sonkin
Reread: the first novel by Michael Crichton, who is best known for Jurassic Park the movie (which was way, way inferior to JP the book) and ER, the ur-mother of today's TV show boom. A young girl dies in EW (=ER) from loss of blood, seemingly from a botched abortion (the setting seems to be mid-1960s Boston, and abortion is illegal — this is a world before Roe v. Wade (1973), and, certainly, a book that was one of the paving blocks toward it. The victim allegedly named Dr. Art Lee, who is Americ ...more
Barbara Radisavljevic
Nov 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like medical suspense novels.
Shelves: fiction-mystery
This is the first Michael Crichton book I've read, and I couldn't put it down. The pervading theme was the moral and ethical decisions doctors had to make concerning abortions -- performing them, knowingly not reporting (and, in fact, covering for)reputable doctors who performed them in hospital settings. This book was originally published under the name of Jeffery Hudson in 1968 when abortion was still illegal in the USA, and may have been intended to stir the public to legalize it. I personall ...more
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I gave this one 2 stars because it was certainly fast-paced and had a really interesting subject matter. I just had a problem with the “believability factor” at times. The main character is an important pathologist but never seems to work in the lab again once we’re introduced to him; it seems he has all the time in the world available to play the role of detective. The reveal is sudden and pit-pat, and there are elements of the story line that are never concluded. It just felt shallow in places ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is was Michael Crichton's first published novel written under a pseudonym. To many characters that I really didn't care about set in the 60's about a doctor trying to prove his friend was innocent of a botched illegal abortion. It try's to raise the ethical and moral questions of the legality of abortion through the eyes of the medical profession. It was a quick and forgettable read that showed that Michael Crichton's writing got better with age and experience. My favorite is still The Prey ...more
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Description: Written as Jeffery Hudson in 1968. A Case of Need is Michael Crichton's award-winning debut novel, written shortly after he completed his medical internship. Set against the ever-building pressure and pace of a large Boston medical center, the tensions flare-and explode-when a surgical operation tragically ends in death, raising countless questions. Was it accidental malpractice? A violation of the Hippocratic oath? Or cold-blooded murder?
Aug 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like medical fiction....medical thrillers really, and this is just okay. It's more like he's SHOWING you a story instead of telling you a story.

It's very dated. Written in 1968, when abortion was illegal. The names are dated, the way they dress, some of the settings. Why would a random middle aged guy be allowed to sit in a girl's dorm alone to "question" her without suspicions being raised? Some of line of med and law is blurred.

It's an ok read. It passes quickly.

Matthew Amis
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic; a very engaging read, with a compelling premise. As an added bonus, the fact that this book was written in the 60s provides for an interesting cultural 'insight' into that time period. I wouldn't normally seek out medical thrillers, but this book has piqued my interest in the genre.
Sam H Arnold
Sep 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my sort of thing this although I normally love Michael Crichton. The story was too weak. The plot was held up with either complicated medical information of padding that had no real reference to the plot at all.
Mar 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
A Case of Need was Michael Crichton's first novel and it showed. The book was decent, but it lacked the polish of his later work. I was interested, but not engrossed and could have put it down and never missed finishing it. Forgettable.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome Chrichton!!!

A cannot put down, read all night until you are done Michael Crichton!!! A racing Medical thriller from the first chapter!!
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una muy buena historia que toca el espinoso tema del aborto, aunque no profundiza en las posturas si evidencia la doble moral de muchos de quienes se proclaman anti aborto.
Me gusta la combinación medico / investigador del personaje principal.
A very good story that touches the thorny issue of abortion, but does not deepen the positions if it shows the double standards of many who proclaim anti abortion.
I like the medical / researcher combination of the main character.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Chricton's Edgar Award-winning debut novel under the pseudonym of Jeffery Hudson (one of two he used). Published in 1968 (the year before I started medical school). This fast-paced medical mystery tackles abortion when it was illegal five years before Roe v. Wade. Fascinating glimpse into an earlier era of medicine, when doctors (all men) smoked, enjoyed high-income privileged lifestyles while leaving most hospital care to neophyte residents, interns, and medical students; where all phys ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was Michael Crichton's debut book, written under a different pen name. It came across as a free Kindle book, so I couldn't resist. A good novel. It is outdated (it was released in 1968) but I found that interesting - the words used, the fact that abortion was illegal, needing pay phones, etc. I enjoyed the story. 3.7 stars from me.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crichton--even "med school Crichton"--will always be a favorite

I feel as if I have just had a tall drink of cool water. I don't think I appreciated before what a clean prose style Crichton had, and it was used to great effect in this 1968 medical mystery. Having lived through this time, it is really interesting to read something written during the period; it shows how much our world has changed.
Alert: There are a lot of triggers in this book, from racially-charged language to the "prehistoric"
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  • Five Patients
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“Morality must keep up with technology because if a person is faced with the choice of being moral and dead or immoral and alive, they'll choose life everytime.” 19 likes
“One reason abortion remained illegal was because it was so safe.” 6 likes
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