The Silent Cradle

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Dr. Rae Duprey is exhausted from staying up all night to deliver two babies when she is called upon to handle an emergency cesarean section from the competing Birth Center across the street. The birth goes badly, and she relives her mother’s death in childbirth, the reason she decided to become an obstetrician.

Afterwards, she attends a hospital board meeting as vicechair of Obstetrics, only to learn that the department might be closed down in favor of the moneymaking cardiac department. When she protests, she finds herself accused of purposely botching the birth to force the closure of the rival Birth Center. In her arrogance and single- mindedness, Rae cannot believe the accusations and does not adequately defend herself.

Soon after, Rae must attend another problem birth. She begins to suspect that someone at the Birth Center is sabotaging patients, but she is not sure why. Although everyone else thinks Rae has the best motive, she finds reason to believe that the sabotage has something to do with a proposed new cardiac center that needs the Birth Center’s location. When her best friend, Bernie, is severely beaten while helping Rae find information, Rae no longer knows whom to trust. Her passionate involvement with Sam Hartman, an anesthesiologist and friend of the hotshot cardiologist she suspects, complicates her life further.

Still unable to comprehend that people will not believe her theory that someone is spiking IV bags with oxytocin, a powerful drug used to induce labor, Rae manages to get suspended from hospital privileges. Refusing to listen to Sam’s pleas to watch out, she nearly gets herself killed in pursuit of the truth.