2007-04-02: If It's Too Good To Be True...


Bob_icon.gif Samantha_icon.gif

Summary: Bob offers Samantha a lucrative contract under false pretenses.

April 2nd, 2007:

If It's Too Good To Be True…

It's spring. Spring in the ER has its own predictive ailments that it sees come in - wherein winter there's lots of slips, falls, flus, and road accidents, spring is the time for athletic injuries, asthma, even more car wrecks, and unexpected colds turned dastardly. Which isn't to say there aren't any slips, falls, or flus, but one can trace this sort of thing if one is curious.

At the moment, Samantha is attending a man who's requiring the removal of some barbed wire from his hand, a construction worker by the cut of his jib. She's conversing with him in Spanish quietly as she plucks the shards out with a pair of delicate tweezers clutched firmly in gloved hands.
Bob isn't here for an ailment. He's not even here as Bob. Today he is Martin Stitch of the FDA, with all of the documentation to prove it. It's /amazing/ what money can buy. So now, the hospital director is looking for someone to go talk to This Guy, because /nobody/ wants to talk to Mr. Martin Stitch.

Guess who is in Mr. Director's sights?


"I'll be right with you." Sam doesn't even turn around until she's plucked the last shard from the man's hand. After all, patient care comes first, and does the hospital need even more bad press? But after a briefly murmured word to the construction worker she rises, and calls out to a passing nurse, "Holly, could you clean Mr. Valdez's wound and move him over to curtain three? Have Dr. Gupta handle the stitches. If there's a problem, come get me."

Only then, as she's stripping off the gloves and throwing them in the special wastebin for such items, does she turn her attention to the men. "Sir." she greets affably, and offers an inclination of her head to Bob.

"Dr. Applebaum." Bob says, reading her badge. He extends a hand. "Martin Stitch, FDA." He ushers her into the hallway. "The hospital directed me to you. I've finally tracked down a sample of this rogue drug, RGN-400. I'm looking for someone to discreetly do some tests on them and report back to the FDA. There would of course be compensation for the task."

Samantha shakes the hand easily enough, with a grip that's firm but not overpowering. Certain, is perhaps the word. She seems a touch confused, but smiles, putting on her best Assured Doctor face. "Can you give me some idea of how much time you want devoted to this, Mr. Sitch? My specialties are emergency medicine and trauma care, not clinical research." She's not unwilling, but she is puzzled as to why they'd consider her for the job. "Would I need to be pulled from my rotation, or be expected to split my time?"

"Full time work is full time compensation, with three times your normal pay either way. Frankly I'm coming to you because your director didn't feel like sparing anyone. I know your specialty isn't research." Bob smiles thinly. "As the drug originated here, it needs to be independently verified here, or else anything that's said about it will be questioned. If it really is the miracle drug it's supposed to be we need to know."

Samantha's brow furrows. "Would this be a temporary reassignment in my position at the hospital, or are you talking about a new job entirely here?" It's not the money. If it was about the money, she'd never have gone to hellholes like Columbia and the Sudan. "Even if the director didn't want to spare anyone, why would you even consider me?" She smiles faintly. "Did you spin a wheel with doctors' names on it or something?"

"No, it would be temporary," Stitch says. He smiles thinly. "I'll be frank, Doctor. Most people don't want to touch this with a ten foot pole. They either have to be the bearer of the bad news that this is all just a hoax, or they have to defend a position that many people consider a hoax. I'm hoping you're the type of person more interested in doing the right thing than pleasing others."

Samantha nods slowly. "I would be working here at Sinai, or at an FDA facility?" Obviously she's leaning toward saying yes. After all, if it's only temporary, she can come back to her beloved emergency room.

"Your choice," Bob says. He smiles faintly. "I also know you already have an interest, given that you researched Dr. Gifford with the AMA and hospital records. Which of the two options would be easiest for you, Doctor?"

"I'm an attending here. Even if I'm devoted to another project I'd like to be accessible to the ER if there's a serious problem." Samantha says. "If you can accept that condition, I'd be happy to work on researching the drug. You'll want to speak to the director about prioritizing my lab requests depending on how soon you want information. How long would it take to give me everything you have thus far? This will take a few days of reading, but I can probably be prepared to start research on Monday."

"I've already brought it." Bob puts his briefcase down on one of the nearest chairs and opens it. She'll see three vials of red liquid in there as well as a stack of research papers, notes, clippings. "Its all yours. I'll need you to sign a few forms, of course."

Samantha leads Bob to an empty office, inviting him to sit down while she goes over the signature forms. Perhaps unfortunately for him, she is the sort to read what she's signing.

They're standard non-disclosure forms, no-sale forms, no-compete forms, direct deposit forms, W-9 forms, forms for the forms, criminal background check forms, and forms which say she'll send monthly reports. There's a contract outlining how much she'll be paid and what's to be done with the results. There's /nothing/ which says she may not contact the papers, the journals, anything. She just may not share the research or the samples with other interests, such as pharmaceuticals. Bob leans back and lets her read it.

It takes a while, but she gets through it, and everything's signed, sealed, and handed off to Mr. Stitch. "I'll do my best for you." she says finally. "Will you be my FDA contact, or will I be working with someone else?"

"It will be me. I can be reached at 283-1717," Bob says, passing over a business card. "Any time, day or night." His voice mail, after all, only /says/ 'you have reached 283-1717.' He has to use aliases so often. "Let me know what support you need from me."

Samantha nods. "If there's an issue with needing lab techs or an assistant, or any updated equipment, I'll certainly let you know. How often would you like progress reports?" If there's an email on the card, that's where she'll send it.
There is. "Once a month," Bob says decisively. "That will be just fine. I'll expect your reports around the 25th or so. And…I would be very careful who I talk to about this. God knows how the pharmaceutical behind it might react." He smiles thinly. "Big companies are sometimes known for getting out of line."

Samantha blinks. "Once a month." she says. "You may not need that long. I'll give you an initial summary at the end of next week with an assessment of how long the entire project will take to complete." She holds up a hand. "I quite understand. Since your contracts didn't refuse the right to publish, I may assume that I can use this work as part of my eventual submission for tenure here at Sinai, however."

"Of course, of course. I expect something so momentous to forward your own personal interests," Bob says, adjusting his glasses with a smile. "Whatever the results. I like win-win situations." He holds out his hand. "Here's to a good career move."

Samantha smiles at the balding man. She's sure he's a real ball buster, but let's face it, he just handed her a slice of pie with a cherry on top. And so she takes his hand, offering another firm shake. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Stitch. I'll be contacting you soon."

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