Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Medical Affair

While under the care of her pulmonologist after a life-threatening asthma attack, Heather Morrison enters into an affair with her doctor. This affair violates the state’s code of conduct and his medical treatment violates the Hippocratic oath. Heather’s life is shattered as a result. After the doctor terminates the relationship, Heather begins research for her own healing, and armed with this information, she initiates a civil lawsuit. Although it is a work of fiction, A Medical Affair was extensively researched. A Medical Affair is a critical book for women who want to make educated decisions regarding their relationships with their doctors.
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Thoughts of Heather clogged his mind as Jeff stared out to sea. Behind him, the ocean parted in the wake of the ship as it headed for St. Martin. Over dinner last night, his wife Priscilla’s face had morphed into Heather’s, and when they made love in their stateroom, Priscilla’s body had become Heather’s body. And in his dreams, she was there again—or still.
Maybe I just need to get her out of my system. Screw her and be done with it. He remembered the way her nipples had grown hard as he’d examined her, her breasts firm behind the hospital gown. He exhaled hard and imagined what it would be like to have her. Shit! I can’t screw a patient. Not this one. She’s too smart, too independent. Her chart said she was single. I might as well tear up my medical degree.
He recalled the thrill of having sex on the couch in his office with drug reps and nurses and medical consultants. Most had been easy marks. He preferred his women to be married; it was less complicated. There had been late night sex on the tables of exam rooms and daytime sex on the couch of his private office when the surrounding exam rooms were filled with doctors and patients. Any way he could get it, sex reaffirmed life for him when his patients were deathly ill and even more so when one had died. He had to have sex as quickly as possible after a patient died. And preferably, not with his wife. It had to be with someone new, tantalizing, and life-affirming.
No one had died, but Heather Morrison stuck in his thoughts like gum on a shoe. Physically, she was exactly his type—petite and blond with big boobs. Her trust in him—her gratitude—was clear. It seemed to be coupled with an almost neurotic need for security—that sense of physical safety that only he, as her doctor, could provide. He loved the fact that taking her next breath literally depended on his professional decisions. This was why he had become a doctor and what made him feel most like a man.
Jeff knew Priscilla had put him on this ship because it was the only way she could keep him from eighteen-hour days at the office and hospital. And so, for the tenth time in as many years of marriage, Priscilla Wellington Davis had taken her husband out to sea—away from patients, colleagues, emergencies, and temptations. It was clear to Jeff that Pris couldn’t have known how targeted her timing had been this time. He chuckled, wondering if he’d have been able to resist trying to see Heather immediately if he wasn’t trapped at sea.
This cruise was his wife’s gift for his fortieth birthday. Forty! He reached into the pocket of his Dockers, pulling out a pack of Parliaments. He glanced around to ensure that no patients or colleagues were in sight as he lit up his smoke. Oh, right, I’m on a cruise. I don’t have to play doctor here. Fighting the ocean breeze, he struggled to light his cigarette. He inhaled the acrid smoke, longing instead for one taste of Heather.
“Don’t go there,” he said out loud, the wind blowing his words back at him mockingly. “She’s a patient. A single patient.”
“Who you talking to, Daddy?” a small voice responded.
Engrossed in his thoughts, he hadn’t heard the pair of children approaching until they were running circles around him. “Dad-DEE, Dad-DEE.” He reached first to catch the girl and then her brother. Beautiful children with their mother’s light brown hair and his turquoise eyes, the seven-year-old twins were the perfect complement to an apparently ideal life.
“Hey, baby girl,” he greeted his daughter, lifting the child in his arms.
“I thought we’d never find you!” Priscilla said, putting her arm around Jeff’s waist and resting her head on his shoulder. “We’ve scoured every deck on the ship.”
“What’s so important?” he asked. “You know I couldn’t escape this ship without a helicopter or a life raft.”
“Exactly why we’re on board,” she said.
I won’t give in to one of these trips next year. I get so stir-crazy.
“Dinner’s early tonight, remember?” Priscilla said. “At four. With special entertainment for the children.”
“Oh, right,” he fumbled. It had skipped his mind entirely. “Some sort of costume party, isn’t it?”
“Why else would Sam and Hannah be dressed like ragamuffins?”
For the first time, he noticed the twins were wearing torn patchworked shirts and jeans rubbed with black crayon to look like grease. A far cry from the kiddie designer boy-girl clothing Priscilla normally outfitted them in.
“Jeff, where is your head today?” she asked.
“Out there somewhere,” he said, indicating the vast ocean that surrounded them.
“Reel it in, honey,” Priscilla said. “For the kids.”
They made love quickly and quietly in their stateroom when they were certain the children were asleep in their adjoining room. Afterwards, Jeff listened to Priscilla’s content postorgasmic breathing as it alternated with the roar of the higher-than-normal seas. Against the backdrop of his wife’s breath, he heard Heather’s relieved voice repeating, Thanks, doctor…for saving me… He grew hard again at the thought of eliciting such a powerful statement from another human being! Thanks, doctor…for saving me.
Even in the throes of an asthma attack, she had been beautiful. Despite wearing a hospital gown and not a speck of makeup, Heather Morrison was hot. Slim but curvy, delicate yet strong. A jumble of contradictions that were somehow tied together in a perfect package.
He’d felt the immediate connection between them just as much as he was sure she had—maybe more. He wanted her—and he was used to getting what he wanted. He felt the familiar warm urge in his cock, a literal ache to possess something others would say he shouldn’t have.
The ship would dock at St. Martin in the morning. Just two more of these freaking islands before I can go home, he thought, slipping into a fantastic dream in which he finally possessed her.

Anne McCarthy Strauss is a survivor. She survived ovarian cancer, a femoral blood clot, 17 years as a single mother with a fulltime job, and, within five years of her marriage, stood by her husband’s side through his battle with lung cancer metastasized to the brain. Persistence is her mantra. Truly, this woman has never given up. In A Medical Affair, she writes about a woman who finds herself entangled in a twisted affair with her pulmonologist. The protagonist, Heather Morrison, doesn’t realize that by having sex with his patient, Dr. Jeffrey Davis is violating the sacred trust of the Hippocratic Oath. When the doctor starts plying Heather with psychotropic drugs and treating her psychological issues with a twisted form of therapy, he is committing a crime. She learns these things during their relationship and, when the doctor ends the affair, she is armed to bring him down both legally and medically. Anne’s goal is to write what she calls “the self-help novel.” Rather than writing in traditional non-fiction self-help mode, she creates a protagonist who is a conglomerate of people experiencing the issue on which the book focuses. It conveys, in a story like fashion, what a person caught in a similar circumstance might do to resolve the problem. In the process, the book directs its readers toward helpful resources while retaining the format of a novel. Told by chapter from various points of view, A Medical Affair lets us see the thoughts of all the characters in a way no other form of writing can. “I look forward to writing more novels of this type that will both provide an enjoyable reading experience to their readers, but also direct them to the proper resources if they require them,” McCarthy Strauss says. A lifelong New Yorker, Anne makes her home on Long Island with her husband Mel (yes, he, too survived despite incredible odds) and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cookie and Ollie.
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