The Chicago Syndicate: The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story

There are people in the know who say that Barbara Roberts caused the downfall of the New England Mafia. She did this, not by killing someone, or sending someone to jail, but by keeping someone alive, and out of prison, for about a year too long.

The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story, is the true story of a devout Catholic schoolgirl who grows up to be a physician, an atheist, feminist, anti-war activist – as well as a Mob doctor and Mob mistress. The man she keeps alive and out of prison is Raymond L. S. Patriarca, the long-time head of the New England Mafia.

Now in his early seventies, Patriarca is in poor health, although he tries to hide this. A long-time diabetic, he has known heart disease and has recently undergone a toe amputation when he is arrested on capital charges relating to an old murder, and taken to the Rhode Island State Police Barracks in Scituate. Barbara Roberts takes him on as a patient that night, and her world is forever changed.

Her testimony in various courts that he is too sick to stand trial earns her the enmity of police, FBI agents, the Providence Journal newspaper, and some of her fellow physicians. But the care of Raymond is not the only stressor in her life. The father of her youngest child is suing her in Family Court for common law divorce, palimony, and custody of their young daughter on the grounds that she is an unfit mother. Her oldest daughter suffers a nervous breakdown. She is fighting a trumped-up felony charge of breaking and entering. And less than a year after becoming Raymond’s physician and protector, she begins a clandestine affair with the alleged #3 man in the New England Mafia, Louis “Baby Shanks” Manocchio. Two years later he is convicted of accessory and conspiracy to murder and sentenced to two consecutive life years in prison, plus ten years.

This is not just a Mafia story. This memoir traces Barbara Roberts’ life story from a now vanished world almost to the present. Her commitment to feminism and medicine leads her into unexpected byways. She travels a path she never foresaw into moral dilemmas she never envisioned. It is the story of a woman born into one world who comes of age in another; who expects to live one life but finds herself ad-libbing something very different; who faces challenges undreamt of by her mother, while providing a new paradigm for her daughters.


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