An aspiring physician struggles to resolve professional and ethical issues that plague him

NOTE: Dr. Richard Berjian (1929-2019) With sadness the family of Richard A. Berjian announces his passing while visiting family in California on Monday, December 9, 2019 at the age of 90 vibrant years. 

Givers and Takers, by Dr. Richard A. Berjian. Wings ePress. 418 pages. Trade Paperback $18.95.

This highly engaging novel combines several popular genres and numerous centers of interest. It is part thriller, part romance, part investigation of corruption, part a look inside the medical establishment, part a family saga, and part a remembrance and attempt to assure proper acknowledgment of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Turkey. 

The focal character is Raffi Sarkissian, who was raised by his unmarried mother in New York City. She had left Turkey for a new start in life after her lover vanished, and she obtained a job at the United Nations. The present time is June 2011. Raffi is the chief surgical resident at Manhattan Medical Center. His working life is a series of medical emergencies that continue to test his skills, occupy his thoughts, and deprive him of sleep. Suddenly, two concurrent emergencies over which he has authority threaten the hospital’s resources and reputation. A young black boy dies without even being treated because, simply put, nothing can be done to save him. Meanwhile, Traci Doss, a gorgeous and wealthy addiction-prone socialite, benefits from Raffi’s attention.

This coincidence feeds the cause of black activist Reverend Coleman Sanders, who accuses Raffi and the hospital of racial prejudice in prioritizing patients. The accusation could end Raffi’s career, and a court victory could help the reverend launch a political campaign.

Traci’s combination of beauty, sexuality, neediness and irresponsibility is a dangerous trap for the soft-hearted, sympathetic young doctor. The author skillfully presents the temptations that she offers, as well as her unfortunate lack of self-worth.

Raffi’s mother, Ani, is an attractive, capable, and caring woman. An independent person with a strong streak of common sense, she is a good role model and sounding board for her son.

Dr. Richard A. Berjian

She is the middle-aged echo of Lorig Balian, a young Armenian schoolteacher with whom Raffi has been more and more involved, even as Traci pursues him.

Ani, and the man who fathered Raffi, are surviving descendants of those slaughtered in the Armenian Genocide. She has a large stake in the political war going on between the desires of the Turkish government, technically a U. S. ally, and those who would advance a proclamation in congress that recognized Turkey’s unadmitted responsibility. Officials are being bribed to block the success of that proclamation. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the December 18, 2019 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the December 19 Bonita Springs and Charlotte County editions, and the June 2 Naples edition, click here: Florida Weekly – Givers and Takers

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