Hey guys! For those who don’t know me, my name is Jesseca. I work full time on our local ambulance service, and in my free moments I dabble in writing. I’m also an indie author and I’ve published several books. Currently I’m studying to get my degree in Paramedicine. I’ve been an EMT since 2018 and an AEMT since last year. I worked in the ER for nearly two years before I left that and went full time on the ambulance. I’m currently loving it and wouldn't change my job for the world. And as anyone will tell you, I’m notorious for finding medical errors in books and TV shows. Working in the medical field I notice things I don’t even want to and I’ve decided I should probably stop watching Chicago Med. After all, it seems most of what I do is lecture the show for having things wrong. XD Anyway. Kate’s invited me here today to talk a little bit about writing medical scenes and characters, so let’s get started.
1) Do your research. Are you writing a character with Asthma? Research the disease. Study more than you need to know for the book. It’s easy to open a book and tell whether the author actually knows about the disease they’re writing about, or whether they did just enough research to know some facts about it. Same goes with medical procedures. And I’m not talking about surgeries, I’m talking about something as simple as placing an IV. If you have your medical character start a 16g IV in the hand of a little old lady in a nursing home, any medical professional reading that is going to roll their eyes. It doesn’t matter how small the detail — do what you can to make it as accurate as possible. Your readers will thank you. (And I’ll definitely thank you.) I don’t mean just internet and book research. If you really want to write an accurate book with a first responder character, go out into the field and do some hands-on research. Most EMS agencies will let you do a ride-along with them to see how things work, and they’re more than willing to answer questions. It’ll add a degree of realism to your book you wouldn't have otherwise. Also … don’t use TV shows as your research. Maybe that seems obvious, but the amount of people I know who have watched a medical TV show and decided to write a medical book … Let’s just say there’s more than one.
2) You don’t need to go terribly in depth. If you decide to write a medical scene and you don’t know much about the medical field, that’s okay! You don’t have to. Hit the important parts and don’t give many details. Say the paramedics came and took the guy in an ambulance. Don’t try to talk about what they did on scene or in the back of the truck. But if you do decide to go into detail …
3) ...Ask someone who’s knowledgeable in that area. Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, AEMTs, and even most EMTs will be able to answer basic medical questions. Find one who doesn’t mind answering some questions and ask them how things would most likely go. Obviously every situation will be different but there are some medical facts that won’t change. (If your character has lost a lot of blood, chances are he’s not gonna be able to grab a sword and just keep on fighting.) And just a fun fact for you here … any sort of trauma to the abdomen can be just as fatal as trauma to the chest.
I hope this was somewhat helpful! And if you ever have any questions about writing medical characters, feel free to shoot me a message! You can find me on Instagram at @jessiedawn98.