'Paperless' - the Headlines that Inspired the Novel

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Health Care Fraud is Rampant

This is something that should make you mad - plain and simple.  Those with much, ripping off those with little. As fraud causes health care costs to rise, the level of care has no alternative but to go down; for the simple reason that personally we can't afford increasing costs and nationally we simply don't have the additional resources required to pay for inflated health care.  As costs go up value for the dollars we have available to spend on health care must go down.

Health care fraud is one of the central themes of 'Paperless'.  It is a theme that is at the forefront of our news and at the top of our list of concerns.  Relevant?  Absolutely!  To each and every one of us.

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Human Organ Trafficking is Reprehensible

Human organ trafficking is reprehensible.  Likely most of us cringe at the very thought and yet it is rampant in many countries.  In fact many folk, who can afford to do so, are travelling many miles from home for the express purpose of purchasing illegally harvested organs for their own health care needs.  Organs are harvested from children, young adults and adults without a full understanding of what they are doing and, in many cases, forfeit their lives.

In the mid 1990's illegal organ harvesting was out of control in the UK health care system.  Known as the Alder Hey Organ Scandal, the outcry that arose resulted in the Human Tissues Act of 2004 (more on that here).

The illegal harvesting of human organs is a thread that runs throughout the pages of 'Paperless'.  Should we all be aware of this blight?  Some would say 'No!' simply because it is too hard to bear.  Others want to be informed of the depths to which human nature can stoop.

Children's Health

Most of us would agree that the health of our children is paramount.  Celebrities travel to foreign lands and collect video of disadvantaged children.  Hospitals are created where the talent, expertise, equipment and money can be focussed on the needs of children.  Foundations are formed to fund child health care.  Entire organizations are dedicated to providing free health care to children.  We are all affected emotionally when we are confronted with images of children with cancer or heart disease.

We love our children and we are passionate about caring for their needs.

The world in which 'Paperless' takes place is a hospital dedicated to children in which serious abuses are being perpetrated by those who just don't seem to care.

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'Paperless' Embodies These Three Themes

This story was inspired, in part, by the atrocities against children and their families that took place between 1988 and 1995 in the United Kingdom. The ensuing scandal, labelled as the Alder Hey Organ Scandal, initially focused on the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool but quickly spread to include a majority of the hospitals governed by the National Health Service. The scandal led to the Human Tissues Act of 2004. The primary perpetrator was never criminally charged.

'Paperless' is a crime novel that exposes these three themes bringing them forward into our thoughts so each one of us can do our small part to support our children and eradicate their abuse. Emotionally charged from the outset and fast-paced throughout, the story involves aviation, computer technology, health care fraud and the persistence, in the face of personal sacrifice, of two very different people in their pursuit of justice for those that could not speak for themselves.

Julius Barlow, a well-respected computer engineer, inadvertently accesses, from a local children’s hospital, electronic records that suggest doctors are manipulating billing data. When the ring leader, Dr. Atchley, learns his scheme may be threatened, he hires ex-KGB operatives to eliminate Barlow – a hunt that begins in the Texas skies and moves swiftly to a murky bayou. A fatal car crash prods Julius to confess his actions to Rikki, a local detective. Together, with the help of Huri, the ‘secret weapon’ of an insurance investigative group, they begin to unravel the health care fraud which leads to the arrest of Dr. Atchley, but not before they find themselves immersed in a ring of human organ traffickers. This novel explores the seedy realms of health care fraud and the intrigue of organ trafficking, set in a hospital specifically created for the purpose of attending to the welfare of children.

Meanwhile Julius’ wife, Cora, is dying from a rare disease that only one doctor understands and he may be involved in the fraud … or something worse. Julius must choose between the welfare of his wife and justice for strangers.


International In Scope

'Paperless' takes place in two small US towns: Marshall, Texas and Spring Hill, Louisiana.

But the historical background of the story actual begins in the United Kingdom with the Alder Hey Organ Scandal.  The perpetrator of that scandal fled the UK to Canada and served in a hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia before fleeing back to Europe.  In the story the perpetrator flees to the US - Marshall, Texas - and continues plying his trade in human organs.

Click the link in the menu bar to read the story from the perspective of a Canadian newspaper or click Learn More to continue to learn about the book and how it was written.

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