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Over My Dead Body [Paperback]

Hazel McHaffie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 2013
Mother of two Elvira Kennedy is 35, and recently widowed. When she's fatally injured in a car accident her mother, Carole, is distraught and in no mood to listen to a stranger - claiming to be her new boyfriend - who appears at Elvira's bedside, insisting she wanted to donate her organs. But there's a darker reason behind her resistance to consenting: a secret she's kept hidden for three decades. Something which, if it emerged, could shatter all their lives. Pressure mounts. Time is running out. Carole finally bows to Elvira's wishes. Grateful letters from recipients whose lives Elvira has saved bring their own brand of comfort, but then a poem written by a young man threatens the safeguards preserving everyone's anonymity, with potentially devastating consequences. A moving story of love and loyalty which puts a human face on the subtle complexities of organ donation and transplantation, and the whole subject of medical ethics.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: VelvetEthics Press (2 Sep 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0992623103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0992623104
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 707,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


... a fascinating read. This new book from Hazel McHaffie is written with a remarkable dose of sensitivity to human nature. The life stories are so real they could be genuine characters presenting the important ethical but also human questions that arise in transplantation ... a lot more thorough, authentic and enjoyable than any bioethical textbook on transplantation. SCOTTISH COUNCIL ON HUMAN BIOETHICS In a page-turner of a novel ... Hazel McHaffie maps out the moral maze surrounding organ donation with clear-headed compassion. Confronting and encapsulating the related issues, medical, ethical, social and emotional, she tells a story which is gripping in itself and valuable in its focus on a subject which, in the widest sense, affects us all. CORNFLOWER BOOKS Gripping and thoughtful. Hazel McHaffie writes about ethical issues in medicine with empathy and real emotional truth and power; revealing the impact of difficult decisions on the professionals, patients and relatives involved, and making you care about the characters. 'Over My Dead Body' is another page-turner, with surprising twists and family secrets making it hard to put down. Evocative and engaging, her novels deserve to be widely read. RACHEL WARREN (formerly sessional ethics tutor, King's College, London School of Medicine)

About the Author

Hazel McHaffie has worked in clinical practice and academia, and brings both experiences together in her series of novels set in the world of medical ethics. She is the author of almost a hundred published articles and books. In 2002 she won the British Medical Association's Medical Book of the Year, and in 2008 she was shortlisted for the BMA Popular Medicine Award. 'Over My Dead Body' is her eighth published novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A one-off 1 Jan 2014
I am not much of a novel reader, but this book is different from other novels I have tried to get into. It was brought to my attention because it is far more than just another novel. Through fiction, it gives insights into the area of organ donation and transplants. These topics are often in the news - how can the number of potential donors be increased? Should it be compulsory to be on the register of those willing to donate their heart, liver and so many other items (including bones) not needed for obvious reasons after death? Can we be sure (in Britain at least) that a potential donation does not influence medical treatment before death? And so on.

This book gives much food for thought, in a highly readable way, but leaves the readers to make up their own minds. But when they do, their decisions will be much better informed.

So if you have any interest in the subject of organ transplants, I heartily recommend this book. Even if like me you don't usually read fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read from the start, and made me think 28 Oct 2013
By Jay P
I started reading this book thinking I knew exactly how I would feel about organ donation, and then suddenly I wasn't so sure after all. When it came to my own body, I was happy to have anything used, but my kids - wasn't so sure about that, and then I realised that I felt very differently about that emotionally than about myself. I wouldn't have come to realise that without this book. And it's a great read, the characters really worked for me and you could feel their very different emotions throughout. I think Hazel McHaffie is a lot like Jodi Picoult except that (heresy) Picoult's books have become a bit too similar for me, whereas McHaffie's are all written differently (which I appreciate) - and this is coming from someone who years ago ordered every Picoult book available on a trip to the US as they weren't available in the UK at the time. So highly recommended if you want a good read and to be challenged about the question of organ donation at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Topical and Contentious Subject. 12 Oct 2013
I enjoyed "Over My Dead Body", a thoughtful and thought-provoking novel dealing with an issue of topical concern: organ donation. The complexity of the subject is dealt with through the interplay of the various characters involved - the bereaved family, the dedicated professionals in the N.H.S., and the touchingly grateful organ recipients. The book faces squarely the difficult questions which arise and to which there are no obvious answers. I find it particularly challenging that the avowed desire and intention of Elvira to donate her organs could have been so nearly denied, after her death, by her next-of-kin, Carole, her neurotic mother.

Not an easy read but well worth the effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gripping 9 Oct 2013
This was a sad but gripping tale. I could feel what the characters were going through and had to keep on reading to find out what happened next. There were secrets that came out along the way too, so it wasn't all about organs. My favourite character was Willow, the girl who survived the car crash - although she only makes a brief appearance, it really pulled at my heart strings. Now just to decide about organ donation for me and my family...
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