The Doctor's Former Fiancee(6)

By: Caro Carson


Still, she’d have to ask Everson why the p-values hadn’t been clearly listed on the graph itself, where they typically were in medical studies.

“Those numbers are wrong,” Braden said in a tone as certain as if he’d said the sky is blue.

“How can you say that off the top of your head?”

Braden only raised an eyebrow.

Of course, he knew that she knew he was a math whiz. He probably could look at a bar graph and come up with a p-value without touching a calculator, let alone performing a page of equations.

“Never mind.” Lana turned to Dr. Everson, who was looking younger and less reliable by the minute. “Who prepared these slides? Who ran our numbers?”

“Uh, well, I was instructed to do some preliminary work, and then Dr. Montgomery finalized it.”

Dr. Montgomery, who couldn’t stay one more hour to take this meeting. Lana had a sinking feeling. Had Dr. Montgomery been so desperate to keep this funding that he’d do something unethical? Surely not. This had to be an honest mathematical error. An error that just happened to be in their favor.

One that, had it gone unchallenged, would have kept more than one million dollars coming into the hospital.

How badly in debt was her department? How hard would the cancellation of this study hit them? Her?

She was determined not to find out; she was going to save this study.

“Myrna, Dr. Everson. If the two of you could excuse us, I’d like to take the rest of this meeting one-on-one with Dr. MacDowell.”





Chapter Three

Lana had never groveled to Braden, not even when she’d so desperately wanted him to stay in Texas instead of moving across the country to Boston. Now she groveled. Begged.

“Please, give me a day to run these numbers again. I just left Washington, where I was involved in the sister study to this one, the pediatric study. Our results were clearly significant. If the pediatric results were good, then odds are that the adult results are as well, so if you’ll just give me time to calculate—”

“I ran the numbers myself, Lana, before I came here. Personally.”

An old, defensive feeling resurfaced. “Because you knew I’d be here? It’s been years since I needed your help to pass statistics class. I know how to interpret data.”

He cut her off before her indignation could build more steam. “I always run the numbers myself before committing millions of research dollars.”

She couldn’t stay impersonal; the memories were just too bitter. “I should have known it would come down to making a profit for you.”

His expression stayed impassive, but she caught the movement of muscle as he clenched his jaw.

Don’t bite the hand that feeds you—or feeds West Central Hospital.

Lana buried her personal feelings. “I was running that pediatric study in D.C. To be studying migraines in pediatrics was rare enough, but even more unusual, the results were positive. Please, Braden, I’m pleading for a second chance here. Let the second half of the study go forward.”

“There’s no gain in—”

“We’ll gain knowledge. Practically every study has shown that adult migraine medicines work poorly in children. This could be the exception to the rule. Even if the adult trial fails, the significance of a drug working for pediatrics but not adults will be novel and worthy of further research.”

She could recall the individual faces of children enrolled in the Washington study. How miserable they were, in pain. How much happier they were when the drug started working. As their pain receded, their personalities emerged, happy kids who made her laugh. She couldn’t let them down. Losing the adult study here at West Central would hurt her professionally, but keeping the pediatric one funded was personal. Those children, her patients, mattered. Not profits.

“Even if the results are novel, who is going to fund that further research, Lana? PLI isn’t going to.”

“Why not?” She wanted to pound the table in frustration. “I’m telling you, the data in peds is rock-solid.”

“Because there’s no money in treating pediatric migraines.”

No money in it?

She’d told herself a hundred times that the man she’d once loved cared only about profits. That he’d chosen not to practice medicine with her because he’d wanted the bigger dollars offered in the business world. She’d clung to that as her justification for ending their engagement.

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