. . . . to Sandra Hempel's website
I am a journalist and author who writes on health and social issues for national newspapers, consumer magazines, specialist medical journals, the Department of Health/NHS, professional organisations such as the Royal Colleges, and pharma companies across all media platforms.
My first two books – "The Medical Detective" and "The Inheritor's Powder" – are set in 19th century Britain and take as their theme a different aspect of the history of medicine. I am fascinated by the struggle of doctors and medical scientists down the ages to understand the workings of the human body and to diagnose and treat disease. The 1800s was a particularly fascinating era that saw many important advances but, at the same time of course, some major mistakes. It's so easy to look back with hindsight though and condemn some of the thinking as stupid and clearly wrong, but without doubt people will look back at our era and laugh at some of our favourite theories.
A great lover of crime books, I have tried to write both books as thrillers. "The Inheritor's Powder" in particular is a murder mystery, with the unmasking of the criminal left – a la Hercule Poirot – to the last few pages.
My latest book is in a rather different and really exciting format. "The Atlas of Disease", published by White Lion, takes the 20 most devastating epidemic diseases and traces their history across the world from their first emergence in the human race. The stories involve great suffering of course but they also highlight the heroic attempts to understand and conquer diseases such as smallpox and the plague and, in our own time, HIV and AIDS. Alongside the narrative are specially commissioned maps charting the paths of infection, as well as some iconic illustrations.