In Robin Cook's Foreign Body, a series of unexplained deaths in foreign hospitals sends an idealistic medical student on a desperate search for answers.
Jennifer Hernandez is a fourth-year medical student at UCLA whose world is shattered during an otherwise ordinary day. While half-listening to a news report on medical tourism, where first-world citizens travel to third-world countries for surgery, she hears her beloved grandmother’s name mentioned, and her own heart nearly stops: the reporter says Maria Suarez-Hernandez had died, a day after undergoing a hip replacement in New Delhi’s Queen Victoria Hospital.
Maria raised Jennifer and her brothers from infancy, and their bond was unshakable. Still, the news that Maria had travelled to India is a shock to Jennifer, until she realizes it was the only viable option for the hardworking yet uninsured woman. Devastated, Jennifer takes emergency leave from school and heads to India, where relations with local officials go from sympathetic to sour as she presses for information. With the discovery of other unexplained deaths followed by hasty cremations, Jennifer reaches out to her mentor, New York City medical examiner Dr Laurie Montgomery.
Laurie, along with her husband, Dr Jack Stapleton, rushes to the younger woman’s side. And as the death count grows, so do the questions, leading Laurie and Jennifer to unveil a sinister, multilayered conspiracy of global proportions.