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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Lovesick doctors need 'training'
Doctors holding hands
Medical romance novels are popular
Passionate encounters are inevitable among doctors and nurses working in emergency medicine - or at least that's what romance novels have us believe.

A tongue-in-cheek study of the genre suggests the GP surgery is also a hot spot for romantic escapades.

It would appear men and women meeting over nail-biting medical dilemmas are at risk of falling in love.

Writing in The Lancet, Dr Brendan Kelly jokingly suggested staff need "urgent training" in how to cope.

Dr Kelly, a psychiatrist at University College Dublin, said medical romance was now a substantial sub-genre in romance novels.

If you were to take these novels literally, one would think uncontrolled passion is an inevitable consequence of working in the emergency room
Dr Brendan Kelly

He decided to carry out an analysis of the plotlines after he received a lot of interest in an article he wrote on romantic medical novels for an Irish medical newspaper.

Out of 20 medical romance novels selected at random, Dr Kelly reported a "marked preponderance of brilliant, tall, muscular, male doctors with chiselled features, working in emergency medicine".

He said they were commonly of Mediterranean origin and had personal tragedies in their pasts.

Workplace romance

They would meet a beautiful, skilled female doctor or nurse over a "highly charged" medical situation, sometimes in an aeroplane or helicopter.

Both would frequently have neglected their personal lives to care better for their patients, many of whom had life-threatening illnesses from which they miraculously managed to recover.

Dr Kelly, who admitted he may have a slight conflict of interest as his wife is a doctor, said there were no psychiatrists in the novels he looked at and it seems surgeons stand a better chance of finding love in the workplace.

"It gives a good insight into how people think medicine should be.

"If you were to take these novels literally, one would think uncontrolled passion is an inevitable consequence of working in the emergency room.

"Perhaps it would be useful for doctors to look at some of these novels - although young doctors might believe this is medicine is and sadly it's not."

Karin Stoecker, editorial director at Harlequin Mills and Boon, said their medical romance programme had a loyal readership.

"Overseas, it's also a very popular programme - it's the best selling in France."

She said the medical setting offered much potential for human drama.

"We see exactly the same on televised medical dramas. In these kinds of professions, there is the need to remain emotionally distant, which spills over into private lives - there's nothing more thrilling than a damaged hero."


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