Human Harvest

Alex Stern was living a relatively normal life until at the age of sixty-four a blocked blood vessel interrupted it, sending him to the local hospital for heart bypass surgery. It should have been a routine affair, a short stay in the hospital followed by a few weeks of convalescence. After all, he was otherwise in good shape, doing a hundred push-ups twice a day and regular walks and workouts with weights. But he had not reckoned with the malignant corruption of the medical industry.

A careless nurse injected dye into a kidney, and he was quickly transferred to another hospital to avoid blame. The other hospital performed the surgery, but then allowed a ventilator to fail, leaving him with no oxygen and in cardiac arrest for seventeen minutes. Believing him to be brain-dead, the hospital looked for a place to dump him.

The presence of another hospital seemed fortuitous, as it was ostensibly a long-term acute care (LTACH) facility. It seemed a good way to dispose of the problem and distance themselves from the consequences. There a doctor both incompetent and avaricious pumped him full of dangerous psychoactive drugs, rendering him indeed mentally barely functional, in order to collect millions of dollars from the insurance company. But it seemed the medical industry was not prepared for the resilience of this one particular victim.

A mildly autistic genius, once out of the hospital and free of the drugs, Alex was now also thoroughly angry. Suspecting the corruption at the hospital went beyond his own case, he began to investigate and make contact with other victims. Or more often the family members of the victims, as many of them were dead or permanently disabled.

But his problem wasn't just the one hospital. The other hospitals had a financial interest in keeping the matter quiet. A big financial interest. He was about to shine a light into some dark places, and exploring them would be dangerous. Potentially lethally so. Because not only was the local medical industry corrupt, the hospital in which he had been abused was part of a nationwide criminal cartel, using hospitals and corrupt doctors to harvest their human prey.

All about the money. A lot of money. The kind of money people would kill for without a second thought.