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Moral Injury is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both digital and paperback formats. It is available in paperback in Australia from Mighty Ape and an increasing number of booksellers in the USA and internationally are adding it also.

About me

I was born in 1945 to parents serving in the British Royal Navy in what was then called Ceylon – now Sri Lanka.  My mother was in the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS). Both parents were working to break Japanese codes, and my birth came two months after Japan announced its intention to surrender.

I do not, of course, remember my trip to Britain on a troop ship through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.  But I still have the “King’s shilling” that the ship's captain gave me after (in fun) inducting me as an eight-month-old infant, into the Royal Navy.

After the war, my father worked for MI6; my mother a librarian. For months at a time, my father would be away from home. He would return with toys for us from faraway countries, and my sister, two brothers, and I had no idea, until we were much older, that our mother did not tell us, when we asked, where he was because she didn’t know.

My mother was an avid reader and inspired my love of reading, writing, and telling stories, the latter to my younger sister when we were supposed to be asleep in bed. However, despite the pleasure and comfort I derived from these pursuits, medicine was the clear winner as a career choice. Sadly, any creative literary ability I then possessed was allowed to hibernate until retirement.

After completing my medical training at Edinburgh University in Scotland, I trained as a general pediatrician. At the time, newborn intensive care had not been officially recognized in the UK as a subspecialty of pediatrics, so there were no designated training programs.

My father had been posted as an MI6 liaison to U.S government intelligence at Fort Meade, for several years, so I was familiar with the Baltimore - Washington, DC area. I applied and was accepted for subspecialist training in newborn intensive care at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and embarked on a forty-year career as a neonatologist, wife, and mother of two in the United States.

It was not that I didn’t have the opportunity to write, quite the reverse, but even with over one hundred medical papers and fourteen textbooks to my credit, my ambition upon retirement was to immediately resume writing fiction.

To state the obvious, this is a very different undertaking than writing factual scientific material. I grossly underestimated the time and effort required to re-educate myself in creative writing. As a result, the gestation of Moral Injury was significantly prolonged. 

Never one to back down from a challenge, I am currently working on a sequel.

NB:  Mhairi used her maiden name, MacDonald, as her professional name during her medical career.
Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, George Washington University
A. N. Marquis Who's Who Top Educators and Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

What is
moral injury?

Are you puzzled by my choice of book title, Moral Injury, and how it applies to a thriller set in 1986?  As you read the book, you will see the impact of moral trauma -- which leads to moral injury -- in more than one character.


The term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is well recognized when applied to the long-term effects of moral conflict experienced during military deployment in an active battle zone. Severe, sustained psychological stress experienced in childhood may have a similar outcome. [1]

The term burnout is commonly used to describe the phenomenon when workers in demanding jobs, including healthcare, no longer find their jobs fulfilling and lose their drive to maintain high-quality work performance. 

The term moral injury was first applied to healthcare workers by Wendy Dean, M.D.  Dr. Dean states, “Moral Injury is when healthcare professionals are asked to violate their judgment in service to the financial needs of hospitals, insurers, and government, thus making clinicians unable to provide high-quality care.” [2]

In this novel, despite long-term mental injury resulting from psychological stress suffered in childhood and against major institutional obstacles, Dr. Lussi Sim maintains her commitment to providing high-quality medical care. Does she possess the tenacity and grit to thwart a deadly international conspiracy?


1. Nadine Burk Harris.: The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity. Mariner Books: Boston /NY, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.

2. Wendy Dean et al.: Reframing Clinician Distress: Moral Injury Not Burnout. Federal Practitioner, 36(9):2019.

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