Hazel McHaffie


Look at any newspaper and you’ll probably find something about medical ethics – abortion, assisted conception, euthanasia, transplants, cloning, stem cells. The list is endless.

Medicine today is a hotbed of dilemmas and difficulties which bewilder individuals and challenge society. And touch all of us at some stage in our lives.

The novels in this series are set in this world of moral choices but they are tales of passion, perplexity and crime that hold the reader spellbound. They are accessible and compelling, bringing ethics to life. And they are for anyone who likes to think as well as read.

Over my Dead Body

Over my Dead Body

Carole Beacham is in her mid-sixties and planning to leave her husband. Before she can do so her daughter, Elvira, and two little granddaughters are involved in a fatal road traffic accident.

Then a stranger appears in the Intensive Care Unit claiming to be Elvira’s boyfriend, insisting Elvira wanted to donate her organs. But Carole has her own reasons for rejecting such a possibility: a dark family secret which has been hidden for thirty years.

She’s torn in two, but gradually her need to respect Elvira’s wishes overcomes her fear, and the transplants go ahead. Letters from grateful recipients bring comfort and Carole’s dread recedes.

Then the barriers created to safeguard anonymity start to slip. A troubling communication from a publishing firm … a moving poem from a teenager … an ambitious would-be journalist … and the family’s peace is in grave danger.

ISBN  978-0-9926231-0-4
Paperback, 212 pages
Publication Date: 1 September 2013

Published by VelvetEthics Press

“This new book from Hazel McHaffie is written with a remarkable dose of sensitivity to human nature, putting a very human face on the inevitable pathos and drama of organ transplantation, and does not keep the reader at any ‘safe’ distance … It is a lot more lot more thorough, authentic and enjoyable than any bioethical textbook on transplantation.”  Scottish Council on Human Bioethics

“Hazel McHaffie maps out the moral maze with clear-headed compassion for all involved. Confronting and encapsulating the related issues, whether medical, ethical, social or 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

“Gripping and thoughtful, Hazel McHaffie writes about ethical issues in medicine with empathy and real emotional truth and power … Evocative and engaging, her novels deserve to be widely read.”  Rachel Warren (formerly sessional ethics tutor, Kings College, London School of Medicine)

Saving Sebastian

Saving Sebastian

Dr Justin Blaydon-Green is used to controversy and challenge – he’s the Director of The Pemberton Centre for Reproductive Medicine. Things are going well for him. His team are strong, success rates are increasing, they’ve never been more in demand. Then disaster strikes.

Samuel and Candice Opakanjo have waited fifteen years for a baby. Now, thanks to Justin, they have twins. Only, one of the twins is coffee-coloured; the parents are both black Nigerians. There’s a major inquiry.

In the middle of all this unrest, Yasmeen and Karim Zair arrive seeking a controversial treatment. They have a 4-year old son, Sebastian, who has an incurable blood disorder. His only hope lies in stem cells from a matched donor – a saviour sibling. But will the gatekeepers allow it?

The team are in meltdown. The senior embryologist in charge of the internal inquiry is incensed at the waste of his precious research time, and upsetting his colleagues. One of the lab technicians is behaving suspiciously. Staff begin mysteriously leaving. The authorities lean more heavily. A newspaper reporter starts sniffing around. Justin’s own daughter gets mixed up with some militant pro-life campaigners.

Just how far will everyone go to get what they want?

ISBN-10: 1906817871, ISBN-13: 978-1906817879
Paperback, 219 pages; also available for Kindle
Published by Luath Press

“Problems in medical ethics are not just for doctors but for everyone.  Hazel McHaffie has found a way to bring them before a wide public. You are gripped from the very beginning of her latest novel, but as you turn the pages, you are compelled to think about the issues. It is an excellent formula.” Baroness Mary Warnock

Remember Remember

Remember Remember

It was during the Second World War that Doris Mannering made the choice that changed the course of her family’s life. She has kept the evidence of her actions hidden for sixty years but now the secret is in danger of being revealed with untold consequences. For, with the onset of Alzheimer’s, her mind is wandering. She is haunted by the feeling that she must find the papers before it’s too late, but where did she put them? When she eventually goes into residential care they are still not found.

Jessica is driven to despair by her mother’s endless searching, so once Doris is safe in the home, it’s a relief to be able to set about methodically clearing the house. But she is unprepared for the bittersweet memories she unravels and the growing realisation that Doris knew she was slipping away from reality. Her son, James, and her lawyer lover, Aaron, offer support and encouragement until Aaron reveals a deception which casts doubt on everything she has always believed in.

This is a tale of triumph over adversity, of love and loyalty, and tenderness regained.

ISBN (10) 1 906817 29 4 ISBN (13) 978 1 906817 29 9
Paperback, 219 pages
Published by Luath Press

“Hazel McHaffie has an extraordinary ability to create the convincing inner voice of a person with severe dementia. The result is often both funny and poignant. She raises emotional and ethical issues not as theoretical ‘thin’ cases, as are so often used in teaching in medical ethics, but within the richly characterised world of the novel. This makes Remember Remember a valuable resource for teachers and students of healthcare ethics. These ethical issues, however, are a natural part of the story and the novel is a good read from start to finish whether or not you have an interest in medical ethics.” Tony Hope

“This moving book will resonate with anyone who has ‘lost’ a loved one through the living death of Alzheimer’s.” Sir Cliff Richard, OBE

Right to Die

Right to Die

Adam O’Neill is thirty-eight, a successful and ambitious writer and journalist, widely acclaimed for his pithy exposés and thoughtful features. When he discovers he has Motor Neurone Disease he starts to keep a computer diary to help him track his loss of control and choose the time and manner of his death. Through its pages the reader learns of his inner struggle and changing priorities. When is the time right for his exit? Who will help him? Does he have to consider his wife’s interests or his mother’s scruples?

Trapped in a body that increasingly refuses to obey him, his mind remains alert and he devises a plan for himself – but three women, a doctor, and a peasant farmer have other ideas. Tensions and suspicions intensify, but unknown to Adam, his wife carries her own burden, a haunting secret that could jeopardize what little time they have left together.

This moving story compels the reader to look at the current anomalies in the law which force patients, families and doctors into agonizing situations.

ISBN (10) 1 906307 21 0 ISBN (13) 978 1 906307 21 9
Paperback, 336 pages
Published by Luath Press

“This heart-rending book about a young journalist who has all to live for but is dying from Motor Neurone Disease, is written with a rare understanding of the conflicts and horrors of such a death. Those who read it will understand why the law needs to be changed to allow assisted dying as an option for those whose quality of life has disintegrated and who wish to end their unbearable suffering.” Lord Joffe

“This is an immensely sensitive and thoughtful book. It tackles in raw and compelling detail the deterioration caused by degenerative disease, while at the same time exploring the ethical issues surrounding assisted dying. The characters are real and attractive; their pain almost tangible. This is an astonishingly authentic-feeling insight with a highly articulate and intelligent central character.” Sheila McLean


Vacant Possession

Vivienne Faraday has been in a persistent vegetative state, looked after in a Home, for years. How can she suddenly be pregnant? Who should decide what happens to her unborn child? What is in her best interests? She cannot speak for herself. Her family, the medical team who care for her, the police investigating the crime, all have different interests, values and opinions on the best way forward. When Geoff Archibald receives anonymous letters saying his wife, who lies insentient in the room next to Viv, has also been molested, he has his own reasons for keeping the matter quiet. But events gather a momentum of their own; DNA tests unearth secrets; suspects reveal information; families face truths which challenge the rights of individuals to choose what happens to those closest to them.

This thrilling tale of crime and passion takes the reader into a twilight world where the unconscious patient becomes a pawn in a game, where other people must make medical and moral choices on her behalf, choices beset with uncertainty but nevertheless profoundly affecting their own relationships and futures.

ISBN 1 85775 651 7
Paperback, 198 pages; also available for Kindle
Published by Radcliffe Publishing

“Hazel McHaffie interweaves a scintillating web of medical ethics reflections into her exciting whodunnit. Highly recommended both for the whodunnit and for the reflections.” Raanan Gillon

“I enjoyed Vacant Possession. What a tangled web! Enough angles to keep even the best ethical mind going for a week or two.” Geoff Watts

Double Trouble

Double Trouble

A sequel to Paternity

The Halleys are a close, successful, loving family. But when identical twins, Nicholas and Michael, fall in love with the same girl, tensions arise across two generations. Relationships become increasingly complex when the twins marry, and darker secrets and hidden emotions are revealed when an unplanned pregnancy and a surrogacy arrangement lead to discoveries which challenge their moral values and jeopardize their happiness. This gripping story probes beneath society’s superficial acceptance of fertility treatment, revealing the potential for pain, distorted relationships, and far-reaching consequences, both medical and moral.

ISBN 1 85775 669 X
Paperback, 258 pages; also available for Kindle
Published by Radcliffe Publishing

“These two books are outrageous and you must buy them at once… Quite how the author manages to include donor insemination, child abuse, infertility stigma, genetics, surrogacy, PGD, mental illness and medical ethics into two narratively linked romantic tragedies I am not literary enough to know, but she does so in a readable and uncontrived way.” Journal of Fertility Counselling



Declan Robertson is instantly drawn to Judy Burrows when he meets her by chance on a railway station. When she agrees to marry him his happiness is complete. But from the first night of their marriage cracks appear in their relationship which threaten his peace of mind. It takes time and patience but eventually she reveals information about the demons which haunt her. Just when things are starting to settle down for them tragedy strikes: a child dies. The questions which follow unravel a past which rocks their security to its foundations. Who are they? What have they inherited? What are they passing on to future generations? This intriguing story of love and deception challenges the morality of what is done in the name of infertility treatment today and exposes dilemmas and conflicts which society must address.

ISBN 1 85775 652 5
Paperback, 236 pages; also available for Kindle
Published by Radcliffe Publishing

“…medical-ethical-romantic – an entirely new genre for fiction and an absorbing and fascinating one too.” Fay Weldon