opposite sex had never finished the book, having com-
pleted maybe half.
Another physician told me about the book that he had
written, and then another physician and so on. So many
people had written a book, but yet none had finished them.
Me, I finished my book, someone published it, and a
distributor distributed it. And, there was a second book. And
a movie was coming out. So, would you not think that all
these writers of their own masterpieces would really think I
had accomplished something? Not a chance. They wished
me well, but remember the Rolls?
Only one of my colleagues, an anesthesiologist, asked
the real poignant question: Is writing therapeutic?
The answer is yes, increasingly so.
David B. Rosenfield, MD, is a neurologist in The Methodist
Hospital Neurological Institute, Texas Medical Center. He has an
active practice in neurology, has published numerous scientific
articles, served as a major in the United States Army Reserves
assigned to Special Forces at Fort Bragg, and formerly wrote a
weekly book review column. Dr Rosenfield lives in Houston, TX,
with his family.
Commentary to bbbbbPhysician-authored medical
espionage: who and why QQQQQ
As a child, we learn to read and to write. The process
begins in elementary school and continues through college
and professional or graduate school. Along the way, some of
us choose to become the writers whose literary contributions
others will eventually read.
Please submit contributions to this section to Philip R. Cohen, MD.
What prompts an individual to become a writer? And,
what encourages physicians to become authors? The writing
of nonfiction is prevalent amongst members of the medical
profession— indeed, health science libraries are filled with
volumes of journals that contain papers describing research
results and clinical observations.
Albeit less commonly, physicians write fiction. The
number of doctors who want to become fiction authors
continues to increase. Indeed, there are conferences dedi-
cated exclusively to medical fiction writing for physicians.
One of the earlier physician authors of fiction was an
ophthalmologist, Dr Arthur Conan Doyle, whose stories
featured Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson. More
recently, several doctors have become successful medical
espionage writers. In addition to Dr Rosenfield,
this group of
physicians includes not only Robin Cook and Michael
Crichton, but also Michael Palmer and Tess Gerritsen.
Philip R. Cohen, MD
Bellaire, TX 77401-2806, USA
E-mail address: email@example.com
DOI of original artilcle: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2005.05.001
1. 6th Annual Medical Fiction Writing for Physicians, Cape Cod, October
21-23, 2005. Sponsored by SEAK, Excellence in Education since 1980,
PO Box 729, Falmouth, MA 02541: www.seak.com.
2. Rosenfield DB. Physician-authored medical espionage: who and why.
Clin Dermatol, 2006;24:143- 5.
Physician-authored medical espionage 145