Against Medical Advice

Against Medical Advice

BY James Patterson & Hal Friedman

The dramatic true account of one family's struggle with a tormenting medical mystery.

One morning when he was almost five years old, Cory Friedman woke up with the uncontrollable urge to shake his head. From that day forward his life became an agony of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances. Cory embarked on a fifteen-year odyssey of medication upon medication, treatment upon treatment–a constantly changing regimen that left him and his family feeling like guinea pigs in an out-of-control experiment. It soon became unclear which tics were symptoms of his condition and which were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty was that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman's life was a living hell.

Subjected to debilitating treatments and continuous ridicule, Cory became devastatingly aware of how he appeared to others. With the love of his family and the support of a few steadfast teachers and medical professionals, he fought for his very life, and you will cheer his amazing successes.

Against Medical Advice is the true story of Cory's battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a sometimes maddening medical establishment. Written by James Patterson and Cory's father, Hal, and with the relentless pace of a Patterson thriller, this is a heartrending story of one family's courage, determination, and ultimate triumph.

Chapter 3

DAD GETS IT, too. He and I exchange fearful glances, and he lightly touches my arm.

The door opens as if it weighs a thousand pounds. When I refuse to move, my father holds on to my arm tightly and guides me into the ward. The main corridor is small, maybe fifty feet long, before it turns off at a right angle. There are no nurses, doctors, or equipment around, not like any hospital I've been in.

Three boys are standing together at the end of the hall. They stare at me and whisper to one another. Then they disappear.

A man hunched over a computer in a small office turns out to be the ward supervisor. He's dressed in very casual clothes and doesn't look like a doctor.

He keeps working for a while, and when he finally turns to us, I notice that his eyes are unfocused. He seems to be either stoned or a little retarded. If I didn't know who he was, I'd guess he was a patient.

After going over my papers, he leads the three of us farther into the ward. There are small offices on either side of the main corridor. One of them is for dispensing medicine and has metal bars over the opening.

We take a sharp right turn. All of the patients' rooms are off this corridor. There's also a common area with a TV playing, but no one is watching it.

"How many kids are here?" I ask.

"Right now, eleven. Never more than fifteen. That's a hospital rule."

As we pass by the rooms, I count about eight kids and have no idea where the rest are hiding. All are teenagers, none as old as I am.

The three boys I saw before appear again at the end of this corridor. As I get closer, they split up and walk past me, deadly serious. This is not a bunch I want to be around when the lights go out. And that includes the supervisor.

I'm getting more uncomfortable by the second. My skin is oozing a cold sweat. Hop. Hop. Hop.

I can't do this. I'm ticcing like crazy now.

In a moment we come to a large sign on the wall with rules printed in thick black letters.


I wonder about this last one, then look up at the ceiling and understand. The entire area is covered with a metal grating. The openings in the grid are too small to put your hand through. This whole ward is a giant cage.

My heart is pounding as if it wants to jump right out of my chest and die on the hospital floor. How bad must this place be if people have tried getting out through the ceiling?

"I'm not staying here!" I shout to my parents. "Don't you understand? I can't do this."

I back away, then turn and start for the main door, the only way out.

I want to run but hold myself in check so it doesn't look like I'm trying to escape; I don't want anyone to come chasing after me.

"I'm not like these people," I call back to my father.

My sudden decision throws my parents into confusion. I think coming to a place that looks like this is as much of a shock for them as it is for me.

"I'm not crazy! This place will make me crazy."

My father's expression changes slightly, and I can see in it a small ray of hope. He seems sympathetic yet angry at the same time, and I can't read which emotion is winning.

"You can't give up without trying," he says finally. "Give it time to work out."

"I'm leaving. Didn't you hear me?"

"What choice do you have? Think about it. This isn't your choice anymore."

This message sends me into a rage. I'm spinning out of control. I'll crash my way out if I have to.

I quickly rush to the door and stop when I see that there's another golden rule on it, etched on a bronze plate. This one stops me cold.


My watch says seven twenty. We've already been in this so-called hospital for more than three hours.

I try the door anyway. It doesn't move, not even a jiggle.

My anxiety spikes way past panic. If they lock me up, my life will be over. I'll die of fear. People can die of fear. I've read about it.

"Take a few deep breaths and try to calm down," my mother says when she catches up to me. "I know you're scared, Cory. We'll work something out. We always do."

"I promise I'll stop drinking on my own," I plead, my voice cracking. I'm completely helpless, dependent on her–as usual. "I swear it. Please, Mom, I know I can do it on my own. Don't make me stay!"

Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson

Read by Kevin T. Collins

Kevin T. Collins has performed in theater productions and you can hear his voice in numerous anime roles. On television, he was recently featured on Law & Order and has a recurring role on Guiding Light. Kevin has appeared in the films Inner Rage, The Sickness, and Aunt Rose. Kevin read Lone Survivor for Hachette Audio.

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Against Medical Advice
ISBN: 0316024759
304 pages
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ISBN: 9780446505246
320 pages
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