The Rogue Medical Character

The dream of getting published has been a long one for me. And today, that day, has arrived! The day I’ve longed wished came true.

To celebrate, anyone who leaves a comment on my blog during this weeks posts will be eligible to win a free copy! I’ll also be drawing from my followers/subscribers lists as well. So, plenty of places for you to win. Drawing cutoff will be Sunday, June 3rd. Winners announced Tuesday, June 5th. To claim, you must e-mail me with your info so definitely check the June 5th post. Must live in the USA.

Then, there’s always where real life and dream life meet in some sort of fantastic collision. What you expected is far from what happens. Both good things and bad things.

Mostly good things.

Running a medical blog for authors is a great source of fun. But even I’m not a medical expert in all areas. My first novel, has an OB physician as a major character. Now, I have never been an OB nurse nor do I have any desire to be. That’s why I had other specialists review my novel to make sure everything was authentic and not just the part that I knew about.

The best medical expert to get to review your work is someone actively working in the area currently. These are the experts I sought out and through that process I learned some important lessons that I’d thought I’d share here.

If your novel has some heavy medical aspects, it is best to have it reviewed by someone who works the area. I recently reviewed a manuscript for someone who was writing about diabetes. The character was newly diagnosed and she had done some research to try and determine what the treatment would be. Let me give some kudos here and say she was close. But close is like not scoring a touchdown when you’re on the one yard line. Wrong route giving insulin. Hanging clipboards at the end of the bed (which is not done anymore people!!) and not providing for rehydration which is the #1 therapy for DKA. It’s the little details that will trip you up.

People don’t want their profession to be disparaged. Now, as a writer, I understand characters needing to do bad things for the sake of the plot. So, how do you handle a medical person gone bad without people practicing in that profession lighting your manuscript on fire?

I recently read a contest entry where the author had two nurses doing very bad things to a patient. Even the “bad” nurses I know would never do the things these nurses were doing– very demeaning things.

Here is how I’ve determined the best way to handle the issue. You must have one character in the profession in the scene who points out the bad behavior and shows how the real medical person is going to act. It’s the seasoned charge nurse that comes into the room and dresses down the two horrible nurses. Now, beauty of this, adds conflict! Particularly if the patient is awake (which in real life should never happen in front of a patient.)

It’s okay to have bad, rogue, medical person as long as another character in the story is pointing it out. Then, the reader will know you know what you’re writing about.

What do you think? How do you handle rogue characters without people in that profession being offended?

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