All In Jest

It is really quite simple, the renowned French Canadian expert on pituitary surgery began his answer. Neurosurgeon defendant Sybil Norcroft, M.D., F.A.C.S., PhD steeled herself to hear the description that could possibly spell the end of her rising career. Even a glance at the imperturbable face of her defense attorney failed to convey any calm to the roiling tempest in the surgeon’s brain. Plaintiff’s Attorney Paul Bel Geddes was the attack dog who declared a jihad against Dr. Norcroft in the Brendan McNeely malpractice case and hounded her then and afterward to the point of distraction. The case seared Sybil’s soul because she had her own doubts about how and why the handsome young scion of the wealthiest family in the city had bled to death on her operating table. Bel Geddes could not let the animosity that was engendered by the McNeely case go, and he relentlessly pursued the famous woman neurosurgeon in a personal crusade. After years of harassment, Sybil Norcroft had had enough, and she applied her brilliant mind and her considerable resources to ending the war declared against her. The war was a classic example of uncivil justice both in and out of the courtroom. How the JEST comes about is worth the reading. The book is full of fun, humor, anger, fear, pathos, intense emotional conflict, and tense and riveting courtroom drama. There is a considerable amount of theater outside the courts as well. You will want to read it in one sitting and to pass it along to your family and friends the next day.

ALL IN JEST: A Novel about Litigation, Harassment, and Vindication by Carl Douglass

Introduction note: All In Jest should be recognized as the first book in the Sybil Norcroft Series. It provides the background and an insight into the remarkable character whose career is chronicled in the following 12 books. The author, Carl Douglass, is a retired neurosurgeon who writes with gripping realism. This start-off book is semi-autobiographical, and many of the stories making up the whole happened, although no one involved would even recognize themselves.

It is about a series of medical malpractice cases pitting Sybil Norcroft, a woman neurosurgeon. She is obliged to tangle with an overzealous attorney—to speak as the master of understatement. Finally, after ten years, Sybil wearies of the constant onslaughts, and determines to do something about it. You will have to read the entire book to find out the who, what, where, and the outcome of that decision.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13




I chose to use a pseudonym for personal reasons. I’m a retired neurosurgeon living in a rural paradise and am at rest from the turbulent life of my profession. I lived in an era when resident trainees worked 120 hours a week–a form of bondage no longer permitted by law. I served as a Navy Seabee general surgeon during the unpleasantness in Viet Nam, and spent the remainder of my ten-year service as a neurosurgeon in a major naval regional medical center. I’ve lived in every section of the country, saw all the inhumanity of man to man, practiced in private settings large and small, the military, academia, and as a medical humanitarian in the Third World.