Emergency medicine departments are popular venues for passionate romance in numerous romantic novels, according to a Correspondence in The Lancet, this week’s issue.

According to Dr Brendan Kelly, University College Dublin and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland “Romantic fiction generates US$1•2 billion in sales annually and accounts for 39•3% of all fiction sold in the USA. In recent decades, medical romance has emerged as a substantial subgenre within romance fiction, and, to explore this area further, I studied 20 randomly selected medical romance novels.”

Dr. Kelly explains that he found that the majority of plots took place in emergency and primary care settings, including emergency departments and airborne medical teams. The most popular pair that writers seem to go for are a male doctor with a female doctor, the second most popular being a male doctor with a female nurse.

“There was a marked preponderance of brilliant, tall, muscular male doctors with chiselled features, working in emergency medicine; they were commonly of Mediterranean origin and had personal tragedies in their pasts. Female doctors and nurses ended to be skilled, beautiful, and determined, but still compassionate; many had overcome substantial personal and profession obstacles in their lives. Protagonists of both sexes had 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 writes.

“These novels draw attention to the romantic possibilities of primary care settings and the apparent inevitability of uncontrolled passions in the context of emergency medicine, especially as practised on airplanes. These novels suggest that there is an urgent need to include instruction in the arts of romance in training programmes for doctors and nurses who intend working in these settings,” Kelly concludes.

“Medical romance”
Brendan D Kelly
The Lancet – Vol. 370, Issue 9597, 27 October 2007, Page 1482
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Written by: Christian Nordqvist