The trial, Diana Gray thought as she stumbled out of the personnel director’s office that Friday afternoon. It had to be the drug trial. There was no other explanation for her first negative performance review after 12 years at GyneTech. “Brusque demeanor, lacking interpersonal skills for a leadership position . . . too critical of other researchers . . . pattern of unexcused absences.” Tell that to the participants in GyneTech’s Stage 4 invasive ductal breast cancer drug trial.
Or better yet, tell them about the side effect her superiors were covering up: slow-developing bone tumors, conveniently written off as a normal pathway in the aggressive late-stage cancer patients to whom her own life partner, Tracy Vitello, had devoted her career. And how could she tell Tracy that this review had cost her a promotion to head the lab responsible for the trial? What was next—losing her job? Diana had a PhD in biochemistry from Stanford, but as her mother would say, a graduate degree didn’t automatically make you stupid.
Diana punched in the security code that controlled access to her lab. Her staff had left, and the night crew had not yet arrived. She walked through the lab to her office and sank into the chair in front of her computer. Going up the chain of command had accomplished nothing but lay the groundwork for her to be fired. But maybe she hadn’t gone high enough. Thoughts racing, her fingers hesitated on the keyboard.
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