The Causa Mortis...or...The Medical Student

by Jacob Appel

tragicomedy

cast:  0m,6w

60 minutes

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Eleanor Powell has been the victim of a one-of-a-kind medical error:  During the removal of a benign brain tumor, when she was a teenager, a Swiss surgeon accidentally left his wristwatch inside her skull.  Now, forty years later, the watch is a ticking time-bomb that has rendered the aquarium keeper bedridden and facing an impending death—unless the offending chronometer is quickly extracted.  However, every time a neurosurgeon attempts the procedure, he drops dead in the operating room as he raises his scalpel.  Now, believing that she has “murdered” her doctors, Eleanor refuses further attempts at surgery.  She blames herself not only for the deaths of these medical men, but also the future patients that they will not be alive to save.  Neither of her daughters, the lawyerly Paige and the befuddled Gloria, can convince their mother otherwise.  To make matters worse, the hospital’s usually hyper-scientific chief of neurosurgery, Gwendolyn Falk, begins to fear that there could be some unexplained medical phenomenon behind the deaths of her colleagues.  This places her in the moral bind of her career:  Will she talk Eleanor into the operation and then risk her own life attempting the procedure?
           

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 ​Watercolor by Mikyong Rodgers

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