Medical Fiction: A new St Emlyn’s section

There’s nothing like a good bit of sci-fi, is there? From the imagination of the original Star Wars trilogy to the thought-provoking Matrix. Sci-fi isn’t just mindless entertainment though. Sometimes, science fiction comes true. Think about the classic movie ‘Back to the Future’. In that 1989 film, Marty and the Prof traveled to 2015 where fingerprint recognition was a reality, you could play computer games without your hands, people owned drones, they made video calls, cars used renewable energy rather than fossil fuels (OK, they used manure – but it’s close enough) and people rode hoverboards – all of which have come true. [Ed – Although the hoverboards aren’t quite as good as in the movie yet]

So, does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? Perhaps it’s a bit of both. If that’s the case, if we really want to push the boundaries of modern medicine, perhaps what we need is a bit of medical fiction (‘med-fi’) to stretch our imagination. That’s why we’re launching our new health fiction section at St Emlyn’s. We’ll describe fictional future scenarios, some of which may seem quite fanciful. But maybe, just maybe, some of it will come true. To find out, you’ll need to check back in 10-15 years!

Now, I know that there will be some cynics. There’ll be people who ask how on earth we’re going to deliver on fanciful future technology when we can’t even fit our patients into our crowded Emergency Departments. How can we expect to have funky user-friendly digital records when many of us are still lucky if we find a working printer to print out our paper notes?

Well, to answer that, perhaps I should refer you to my talk at SMACC in Sydney, on ‘Tomorrow’s Medicine Today’.

Watching that would be a great way to start us off on this section. So remember, don’t be a naysayer – and dream big! We’d love to know your thoughts on any of the content that we publish.

You can find our first post in the section here on chest pain in the future, or all our future based content here.


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Cite this article as: Rick Body, "Medical Fiction: A new St Emlyn’s section," in St.Emlyn's, June 27, 2021,

Posted by Rick Body

Professor Richard Body MB ChB, FRCEM, PhD is Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Manchester. He is honorary Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Manchester Foundation trust. He is also the Group Director of Research & Innovation at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which is the largest NHS trust in England. His research interests include diagnostics, cardiac disease and the philosophy of emergency medicine. He is an acclaimed international speaker on cardiac diagnostics . He can be found on Twitter as @richardbody

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