Hazel McHaffie

Over my Dead Body

Over My Dead Body offers very good illustrations of some of the challenges of organ donation, from the suitability of deeming a recipient worthy of a new organ, to the scary possibility of donor registration influencing the determination of brain death, to the legislative issue of selecting an opt-out system for getting people on the donor register. For those who feature Over My Dead Body in their book club discussions or medical ethics classes, McHaffie’s work of fiction is concluded with a number of thought-provoking questions. However, with or without the list of questions to guide the mind, the book is bound to make its readers ask themselves a number of things. More importantly, it will have them face the dearth of absolute answers.

The Bookbag


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 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 Books


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)


This is a fascinating, compassionate and informative book, the factual information fitting seamlessly into the narrative. The characters are realistic, so much so that at times I had to stop reading because their predicaments and situations were so poignant and difficult.

I’m familiar with some of the issues surrounding transplants, having watched Casualty and Holby City for years. But there is nothing to beat reading a book written by someone who knows the issues, writes with sensitivity and can go into much more depth than an isolated incident in a TV drama series can.

Above all it is a moving story, well-told and with an element of mystery – just what is it in Elvira’s background that causes her family concern? From little hints that were dropped I guessed what it was, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. Over My Dead Body certainly gave me much to think about.



Hazel McHaffie has earned a solid reputation as a writer whose novels grapple with the dilemmas at the heart of contemporary medical ethics. Her characters face decisions that change lives. In Over My Dead Body, the subject is organ donation, and the arguments for and against it play out through her convincing portrayals of the bereaved mother and the hospital team … McHaffie takes the general and makes it human. She takes the cerebral, ethical story and makes it personal by taking the reader into the hospital corridors and right up to the bedsides of those facing the dilemmas. It’s thought-provoking stuff, and very readable.

Northwords Now