Passion Rules in the (Fictional) ER
Psychiatrist Weighs In on Medical Romance Novels
Oct. 25, 2007 -- Move over, Grey's Anatomy. An esteemed medical
journal is brimming with unbridled passions among fictional doctors.
The Lancet's Oct. 27 edition includes an Irish psychiatrist's review
of 20 medical romance novels.
The psychiatrist is Brendan D. Kelly, MD, MRCPsych, of the adult psychiatry
department at Ireland's University College Dublin.
He randomly chose and read 20 romance novels that took place in a medical
setting, mostly in emergency rooms or in airborne medical squads.
All of the couples were heterosexual. The central male characters were all
doctors; the women included 11 doctors and nine nurses.
"There was a marked preponderance of brilliant, tall, muscular male
doctors with chiseled features, working emergency medicine; they were commonly
of Mediterranean origin and had personal tragedies in their past," writes
He adds that the female doctors and nurses in the books "tended to be
skilled, beautiful, determined, but still compassionate."
The male and female characters "frequently neglected their personal
lives to care better for their patients, many of whom had life-threatening
illnesses from which they nonetheless managed to recover," Kelly
Of course, those books are fiction. And of course, Kelly isn't taking them
Otherwise, doctors and nurses would need training to deal with the
"apparent inevitability of uncontrolled passions in the context of
emergency medicine, especially as practiced on aeroplanes," writes