Greetings, Gather writers, and welcome to this issue of Freelancing for Pleasure and Profit. I used to think that only those with medical expertise like doctors or nurses were qualified as medical writers. That's definitely not the case. I have learned throughout the years that research makes a medical writer.
Many years ago when a dear friend was diagnosed with the bladder disease Interstitial Cystitis, there were very few urologists who even acknowledged...let alone treated...the disease. While taking her for treatments at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, I had the opportunity to interview both doctors and nurses on the subject, and went on to publish several articles about the disease and the issues many of its sufferers face.
When my husband took a nasty fall three years ago, and subsequently developed a series of life threatening staph infections due to the resulting damage to this veins, I learned just how important it is to disinfect even the most minor of skin wounds. I wound up doing an article for a local newspaper about the threat of MRSA in our local hospitals. In addition I became privy to the incredibly poor care in one local hospital, and how so much of it was simply swept under the rug. This became fodder for a newsletter that addresses a number of government officials who regulate some of the medical care in our state.
A week ago I was diagnosed with an umbillical hernia that will require surgery within the next few weeks. The emergency room doctor informed me that the only reason I had the tear in my abdomen was because I needed to lose weight. Now I fully understand there are an extra 20-25 pounds that could (but probably won't!) be whittled from my 5'7" frame; however I started researching because my gut...no pun intended...told me the doctor was having a particularly bad day and that there are several other reasons for these tears. I was right. Some people are born with defects that may or may not ever rear their ugly heads. Others have torn the layers of muscle by force via heavy lifting or strenuous movement. The last one I found suprised me the most. People who are exceedingly stressed can actually strain the muscles in their abdomens to the extent that they may develop a hernia. BINGO! That hit the proverbial nail on the head. I've long been a ball of stress and recent weeks have put me on high stress overload. There is indeed an article on this topic in the making, but I think I'll wait and see how I recover from the surgery (which of course hasn't even been scheduled because of the whole specialist/referral end of the insurance industry....but that will be yet another story!) before taking on such an assignment.
My point for writers is this. Don't negate your medical IQ just because you don't hold an MD or an RN or any number of other sets of letters that define expertise in the medical field. Simply use the opportunities in your every day life to seek out information on vital topics that will serve many readers well.