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Hospital Romance May Largely Be Fiction
Date:10/25/2007

Life on the ward doesn't match plots of steamy novels, one doctor says

THURSDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Is working in a hospital or doctor's office a prescription for passion?

If you believe the stories in the burgeoning and steamy genre of medical romance novels, the answer would be a resounding "yes."

But a psychiatrist writing in the correspondence section of the Oct. 27 issue of The Lancet did a study of these novels and claims the real world of medicine is a lot less torrid.

"The real ER is a lot less exciting, I regret to tell you," said Dr. Brendan Kelly, senior lecturer in psychiatry at University College Dublin in Ireland.

Others, however, beg to disagree.

"The potential for romance is high in emotionally intense settings such as hospitals," said Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, professor of medicine at the University of Michigan who recently found -- and married -- his true love at an academic medical center.

There's a caveat, though: "The dismal record for medical marriage longevity shows once again that fiction does not mimic reality," Fendrick said.

According to Kelly's letter, romance fiction rakes in some $1.2 billion in sales annually, accounting for almost 40 percent of all fiction sold in the United States.

The medical romance novel appears to be a major subgenre within this category. Kelly came upon his first medical romance (novel) some years ago and reviewed it for an Irish medical newspaper.

"I often write in Irish medical newspapers. Indeed, I write research papers, but this stimulated more response than all of my life work put together at the time," he said. "Many of my colleagues said, 'Oh, you've started writing for medical newspapers.' Well, I've been writing for years, but nothing stuck in anyone's mind except for this."

Kelly's initial review poked fun at "the dashing Italian hero who kept arriving upon emergen
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