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Welcome! This blog is for all those writers and readers of medical fiction, and all its subgenres: be it thriller, crime, mystery, romance, drama, or all the above. All those characters: docs, nurses, dieticians, medics, speech paths, psychologists, and everyone else and of course all those settings: OR, ER, ICU, PACU, Med-Surg, Locked Psych, and everyplace else. Share Your Thoughts and Ideas. This is an unpretentious, intellectual and fun-loving blog about this wide-open, expanding and fascinating genre of fiction- MEDICAL FICTION

Monday, July 11, 2011

Technical Aspects of Medical Ficiton-Getting it Right....

I recently read a work of medical fiction by a New York Times Best Selling Author. I am a specialist in psychiatry. This book involved a character with a major psychiatric issue. The Best Selling Author is a physician but not a psychiatrist.
In my opinion the technica and l clinical aspects of the psychiatric problem were way off and not accurate.  I looked at the credits and acknowledgements in the book and I saw a mental health person or two, -no physicians.
Now with all that said, does anyone really care? If the general public would not notice, does it really matter? What if you are in the general ballpark of accuracy, it is just fiction right. No one says the technical clinical aspects have to be accurate. Certainly for a NYT Bestseller, it does not matter, if only a specialist in the field would notice.
It bothered me a bit because I think the fiction works with inaccuracies in mental health might not do much to dispel myths and ignorance around mental health issues. Of course with that said , these are works of fiction and the writer has no ethical, moral, or literary obligation to get technical aspects correct, even when the fiction is a real life story and not fantasy or sci-fi or supernatural.
Basically in fiction the writer can do what he or she wants. If it sells, does that mean its good? What do you think?


  1. Well in great fiction writing there is the caveat that it is FICTION. That being said, I'm a nurse. It always bothers me when the medical aspect of something doesn't ring true. I can't even watch "medical" shows on TV because of the lack of realism.
    I think that a decent writer will get some things correct. I think an extraordinary writer will do the research needed to get all the facts correct and work it into their story appropriately.

  2. I've been writing medical fiction for many years. In 2007 I published First, Do No Harm, now available in Kindle format and very soon my novel, No Cure for Murder will be released. I agree with previous posts about lack of realism in medical fiction which makes no sense as reality and accuracy only enhance the narrative. I do my best to 'keep it real' and to help the reader understand the medical complexities inherent in good medical fiction. I don't understand why producer/directors don't employ medical consultants in their work, although mispronunciation and inverted x-rays does add humor to their work.

  3. I think that physician owes it to his readers and the mental health community to do his research and get all the facts correct. I'm also a nurse and would not dream of publishing anything (including a work of fiction or even a blog) without researching first.

  4. Even though the work is fiction I think the writer has a responsibility to present up-to-date information especially as it relates to diagnoses.There are plenty of professional medical people who are readers and would notice this.

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