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Vacant Possession (Living Literature) Paperback – Mar 2005


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Hazel McHaffie has changed career several times - nurse, midwife, university researcher, novelist. She's a workaholic with obsessive tendencies and a taste for chopping things very small. Her last publication as an academic, Crucial Decisions at the Beginning of Life, won the BMA Medical Book of the Year award in 2002 and her fifth novel, Right to Die, was highly recommended by the BMA in 2009. She has published seven novels, all set in the world of medical ethics (assisted conception, decision making on behalf of those who can't choose for themselves, assisted suicide), completed another one, and is currently researching and writing the ninth. After winning a couple of small prizes, her photo has appeared frequently in a creative writing course advert in publications as diverse as The Big Issue, Daily Telegraph, Private Eye and Gardeners World! She has a website www.hazelmchaffie.com and writes a weekly blog, VelvetEthics.

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"'Hazel McHaffie tackles the complex issue of making decisions on behalf of patients unable to speak for themselves. Through the experiences of Vivienne Faraday, an unconscious young woman who becomes the victim of an appalling crime, she challenges pre-conceived ideas and drives us to reflect on what is done in the name of modern medicine and what, in similar circumstances, we would choose for our relatives and, indeed, for ourselves.' Brian Hurwitz, in the foreword 'There are very few novels which deal with the issues of contemporary medical ethics in the lively and intensely readable way which Hazel McHaffie's books do. She uses her undoubted skill as a storyteller to weave tales of moral quandary, showing us with subtlety and sympathy how we might tackle some of the ethical issues which modern medicine has thrown up. She has demonstrated that hard cases make good reading.' Alexander McCall Smith 'From Tolstoy to Cronin, writers have raided medicine in search of the raw material of literature. How appropriate that Hazel McHaffie should be repaying the complement by using fiction to help us grapple with the ethical dilemmas so often and so effortlessly conjured up by modern medicine.' Geoff Watts 'Highly recommended. Hazel McHaffie interweaves a scintillating web of medical ethics reflections into her exciting whodunit.' Raanan Gillon"

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