#7 “Doc Martin” FanFiction — “The Lady from Belgravia”

By Karen Gilleland © 2014

I wondered about the “Doc’s” early days as a surgeon and what case might have
 sent his career into high gear. My imaginary journey took me to Belgravia, the most exclusive district in London, if not the world.

This FanFiction is dedicated to my husband, who was fortunate to have a surgeon of the caliber of the “Doc” when he experienced a heart condition similar to the patient’s in this story.

If you have watched “Doc Martin” Series 6, this story would fall between Episodes 1 and 2. It is the type of story I would like to have seen in S6 before the relationship between Martin and Louisa began to unravel.

I’m posting this story on my birthday as a thank-you treat for all of the great viewers who have been so encouraging in their comments about my FanFiction.


Martin sat reading the Clinical Medical Journal at the kitchen table, occasionally making notes on a yellow tablet. Louisa stepped behind him and massaged his neck and shoulders. “Nice,” he murmured, setting down his pen.

“Dad read the paper at the table. I used to rub his neck when he was feeling low after Mum left. He’d say, ‘Princess, one day I’ll take you to Buckingham Palace, and you’ll fall in love with a prince.’”

A sharp rap at the front door caused Martin to look at his watch. “Nine o’clock. I’ll get that.”

0He opened the door to a petite woman, whose beautifully coifed, silver hair shone in the moonlight. She stood ramrod straight, and her intense, green eyes reflected the shimmering diamond-and-emerald broach she wore at her neck. “Martin,” she said, extending her hand.

Martin took her hand, a puzzled look on his face. “Do I know you?” he asked, gesturing her toward the consulting room. She sat in the chair, and Martin walked around and sat down at the desk.

“You may not recognize my face, but I expect you would recognize my scar,” she said in a deep, throaty voice with a posh accent. “I am Lavinia Hemingsford-White. About fifteen years ago, doctors diagnosed me with inoperable lung cancer. Dying on the operating table seemed preferable to living a few more months in agony. A friend, Robert Dashwood, recommended one of his gifted, new surgeons. Thanks to that young man, I am here to request help again.”

“My first patient. Of course, I remember the case. What can I do for you today?”

“The problem concerns my husband, Yardley. We were aboard our yacht headed toward Spain yesterday when Yardley complained of chest pains. The nearest hospital was in Truro, so we had a helicopter fly him there. The result is that he requires a quadruple bypass. Unfortunately, there are complications that render the surgery dangerous.”

“I’m no longer a surgeon –” Martin began, but she cut him off with a wave of her hand.

“I am an extremely wealthy woman, Martin. I have made it my business to keep track of the man who saved my life. I know about your haemophobia. I know you overcame it and were offered a position as head of vascular at Imperial.”

“I see.”

She leaned forward, planted both hands on his desk and riveted his attention with those radiant green eyes.

“Martin, I came here, in person, to beg you to handle Yardley’s surgery.”

“I’m not on staff at Truro,” protested Martin, shaking his head. “Not to mention that I haven’t operated a long time.”

“Robert has promised that, if you agree, he will arrange to waive formalities.”

Martin stood up and paced the floor. He stopped, leaned against the desk, bent toward her and said, “What you are asking could put your husband’s life at risk.”

“My husband’s life is already at risk.”

Martin began pacing again, arguing with himself. “I can’t promise,” he said finally, “but I will go to Truro tomorrow and talk with your husband’s physician.”

“Fair enough.” Mrs. Hemingsford-White stood up and handed Martin an engraved card. “You will find me at the hospital.” Martin escorted her to the door, where her driver helped her down the steps.

“Emergency?” asked Louisa, raising her eyes from the papers she was grading as Martin came into the kitchen.

Martin handed her the card. “Belgravia?” Louisa said. “Very upper crust. Do you know her?”

“She was my first patient and, undoubtedly, responsible for my rapid success. She glorified me to her friends, and word got around.”

“Why is she in Portwenn?”

Louisa listened without comment as Martin explained about Yardley. When he finished, she asked, “How do you feel about operating?”

“I’m not sure. It’s a very risky case, but I promised I would talk to the doctors in Truro tomorrow. I’m going to call Robert.”

Martin went into the office and reached Robert at home. The lengthy conversation ended with Robert’s agreeing to be part of the surgical team.

At Truro in the morning, Martin met with Yardley’s physician, who had been briefed by the man’s London doctor.

“A year ago, Yardley had been diagnosed with a blood vessel anomaly in his brain and put on blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke. No need to tell you, the blood vessel issue elevates the risk of surgery.”

Martin went to a consulting room and studied scans of the man’s heart and brain on the computer. Then he ordered several new tests. About three o’clock, Martin went into Yardley’s room. Mrs. Heminsford-Whitesat in an easy chair near the bed.

“Mr. Ellingham,” said Yardley, “what do you think of my chances?”

Martin raised his eyebrows, taking a moment to frame his concerns. Then he answered crisply. “Your heart is still in a state of arrhythmia, but the Metoprolol is beginning to take effect. Your white blood cell count is marginal, but not dangerously low. You have one artery that is ninety-eight percent blocked. Another is ninety-six percent blocked, and the other two are ninety-five percent blocked.”

“Is that all?” Yardley smiled.

“No, you have been taken off blood thinners in preparation for surgery. The pulsating blood vessel in your brain could erupt and kill you instantly.”

Yardley blinked, looked at his wife and back at Martin. “A long shot then?”

Martin nodded. The room filled with silence before Yardley drew his shoulders square and said,  “You will operate yourself?”

“I would fail in my duty if I did not encourage you to engage the surgical team here at Truro. They have more recent experience than I have, and Robert will be assisting.”

“Martin,” Mrs. Hemingsford-White stood up to her full height of five feet, “we understand that you have not operated in quite a while. Nevertheless, Yardley and I would like you to take charge.”

She held out both hands. Martin looked at her and Yardley and came to a decision he hoped he would not regret. “I’ll schedule surgery for nine in the morning.”

Lavinia smiled and held onto Martin’s arm as she walked out of the room with him. “I do realize that Yardley’s chances are slim,” she said quietly, “but I am relieved that he will be in your hands – whatever the outcome.”

Next morning, the surgical team, scrubbed and in position, stood by as Yardley was wheeled into the operating theater. Martin looked at Robert, who grinned and said, “Good to have you back.”

Martin nodded, looked at the anesthetized patient, checked vital signs and said to the Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 8.36.24 AMteam, “Ready.”

The nurse handed Martin the scalpel. He breathed deeply and made the initial incision.

Six hours later, Martin, still in scrubs, approached Mrs. Hemingsford-White in the waiting room. “Your husband has survived surgery. The next twenty-four hours will be critical, but I think his chances are very good.”

Mrs. Hemingsford-White sank into the chair, eyes closed. She wiped at a tear before saying in an even huskier voice than usual, “Thank you, Martin. I am now indebted to you for saving two Hemingsford-Whites. How can I repay you?”

Martin raised his palms and shook his head.

“I know you won’t accept money, but if there is ever anything I can do, please ask.”

Martin thanked her, turned to leave, but stopped. “There is one thing—“

Back home, Louisa was putting away the supper dishes. “I have a plate warming in the oven,” she said. “How are you?”

“Fine,” he said, sitting down at the table, as Louisa put on an oven mitt and pulled out the dish.

“Martin, a little more, please. How did you handle surgery?” She sat down across the table from him.

“Umm,” he murmured. “No nausea. The operation was delicate and challenging, but everything went smoothly.” His eyes rested on the medical journal he had set down on the table. “I felt as though I’d never left.”

Louisa reached over and touched his hand. “I’m glad. How is the patient?”

“Yardley will be airlifted to London in a few days and will recuperate at home. His wife has already arranged around-the-clock nursing care. She’s a very persuasive lady, Mrs. Hemingsford-White.”

Four days later, Mrs. Hemingsford-White came to the surgery in Portwenn. She and Martin stood together in the consulting room. “Yardley has done so well that the doctors are allowing him to fly home today,” she said. “I came to thank you in person for saving his life.”

The woman took both of Martin’s hands into hers, her green eyes flashing a smile of gratitude.

“I expect he will make a full recovery, Mrs. Hem–”

“Lavinia, please. I count you as one of my most valued friends.”


“I brought this for you,” she said, taking a large manila envelope out of the suede tote slung over her shoulder and handing it to him.

He pulled out the enclosure and said, “Thank you.”

Lavinia smiled and said, “I must hurry. The helicopter will be in Truro within the hour.” At the door, she beckoned Martin to come closer, and she tiptoed up to kiss him on the cheek. “Good bye. I hope I won’t be seeing you again professionally, but you and your family are always welcome in our home.”

“Yes,” said Martin, his face reddening.

That evening, Louisa, who had made a habit of giving Martin a neck massage while he was reading, was running her hands through his hair. “Nice,” he murmured and reached for her hand before she walked away. “I have something for you.”

He took out the manila envelope tucked inside his journal and handed it to her.  She walked over to the chair and sat down.

“Open it.”

Louisa reached into the drawer, pulled out a knife, and slit the envelope carefully so as not to disturb the seal. “An invitation to Buckingham Palace!” she breathed.

“I told Mrs. Hemingsford-White you would enjoy that evening tour of the palace that you weren’t able to get tickets for when we were in London.”

“Martin, this invitation is not for a tour. It’s an invitation to tea!”

“What!” he walked around and read the invitation over her shoulder. “How did she manage –“

Martin sat down next to Louisa, whose eyes sparkled. He looked wistful and said, “When you have tea at Buckingham Palace, I hope you won’t regret that you never fell in love with a prince.”

“I won’t regret,” Louisa said, kissing him lightly. “I did fall in love with a prince — and I married him.”


“Doc Martin” is owned by Buffalo Pictures.

#6 “Doc Martin” FanFiction – “Agatha Brayzon”

by Karen Gilleland © 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 12.45.24 PMStrictly for laughs, this story features P.C. Penhale as he goes nose to nose with a suspected hit man in Portwenn.

“Agatha Brayzon” is, of course, a tip of the hat to M.C. Beaton’s wonderful character, Agatha Raisin, perhaps the closest fictional female to the “Doc.”

“Agatha plucked the magazine from the receptionist’s hands. She leaned over the desk. ‘Move your scrawny butt and tell that shyster he’s seeing me.’”

– M.C. Beaton, The Quiche of Death


The short, balding man with thick, horn-rimmed glasses slid off the examining couch and sat down in the chair across the desk from Martin.

“Mr. Seymour, you have carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. You say you’re on the computer 10 hours a day. You have to stop before the pain becomes chronic.”

“Can’t, Doctor, I’m on deadline for my next novel. I came down from London to get away from distractions and focus on work.”

Martin pulled out his prescription pad and began writing. Then he looked over at Mr.Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 5.15.46 PM Seymour and said, “Dictate the story and have a typist transcribe it.”

“Patient confidentiality, right?” said Mr. Seymour, glancing around the room, eyebrows raised.

“Of course.”

“I was an attorney. When I wrote my first book, I didn’t want people to know I had written such trash, so I used a pseudonym, ‘Agatha Brayzon.’ Killers Never Get Caught was a smash hit, and now I’m on my tenth novel. The publisher has spent a lot of money creating the image of Agatha Brayzon as a sexpot, and I’m under contract to keep my identity secret.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I can’t have anybody else type my manuscripts.”

“What about your wife?”

“Not married.”

Martin opened a desk drawer and took out an advertisement. “This voice-recognition software is aimed at doctors; nevertheless, it may solve your problem.”

Donald Seymour took the flyer, tucked it into his pocket with the prescription and left the office. As he walked by Morwenna, he noticed a paperback book on her desk.

“Agatha Brayzon,” said the man, “what do people see in that tripe?”

“Are you kidding? Her thrillers are the rage. In this one,” Morwenna said, tapping the book, “Desmond and Diana are trapped in a volcano. I can’t wait to see how they escape.”

“Maybe they sprout wings and fly out,” Donald sneered and walked out the door.

Several days later, Donald was walking home when he met his neighbor, Mrs. Fry, a plump woman with expressive brown eyes and dark, wavy hair. She was carrying a trash bag to the street and sweating profusely. “Lovely day,” she said, “although a bit hot for my comfort.”

Donald nodded, hurriedly unlocked his door and stepped inside. Before closing the door, however, the man turned, his eyes following Mrs. Fry out to the street. “How can Agatha Brayzon write such steamy scenes when I can’t even speak to the lovely lady next door,” he murmured.

The room was hot, so Donald opened all the windows in hopes of catching the sea breeze. He pulled his manuscript out of the desk drawer and flipped through pages as he walked over to the sofa. He smiled at the microphone on the end table. “Come on, Myrtle,” he said. “Time to go to work.” He settled down and began dictating.

“Get rid of the dame next door,” he said in a gruff voice.

“Permanently?” he said, in his own voice.

“Yes, take care of it. Tonight. Strangle her, quiet like. Then take the boat and drop her body in the ocean.”

Next door, Mrs. Fry sat down to read the paper with a lemonade and bowl of crisps. As Mr. Seymour’s voice floated through her open window, she sat bolt upright. “Strangle me!” she gasped, hand clutching her neck. She jumped up, spilling the crisps onto the carpet. She rocketed out the door and up to the police station.

P.C. Penhale raised his hands as she rushed in. “Whoa, slow down, Mrs. Fry. You’ll have a heart attack.”

“Better a heart attack than murdered by that villain,” she shouted.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 12.45.24 PM“Mrs. Fry, who wants to murder you, and why?”

“I heard him – Mr. Seymour next door – he’s a hit man! I don’t know why they want to murder me. Maybe they want this diamond pendant that Gerald, God rest his soul, gave me,” she grasped the tiny pendant in a tight fist. “Well, they shan’t have it!”

“Please, sit down and tell me exactly what you heard.”

Mrs. Fry repeated the conversation, embellishing as she went along — from strangling to stabbing. “He plans to dump my body in the sea!” A hushed silence followed her torrent of words, and the two looked at each other.

Suddenly, the telephone shrilled, piercing the tense silence, and both Penhale and Mrs. Fry jumped. Penhale stared at the phone. “It’s him!” Penhale said, picking up the receiver. “You want to know police procedure when a body is found at sea?” repeated Penhale. “I can’t divulge that information. Sorry,” and he slammed down the phone.

Penhale swallowed and stood up. “It looks like I’ll be going eyeball to eyeball with a hit man again.”


“Well, the other hit man turned out to be a photographer using a telephoto lens,” he shrugged. “I had to pay for his camera.”

Mrs. Fry’s hands began shaking. “Shouldn’t you call Scotland Yard?”

“No, Mr. Seymour’s in my patch now. I’m trained to handle killers,” said Penhale, lunging into a karate stance. “Where will you be tonight?”

“Playing pinochle at the pub, Mind you, I’ll be putting my winnings down my bra.” Penhale turned his head as she demonstrated what she planned to do.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Fry, “I’ll ask Bert and Al to keep an eye on you inside the pub. When you come out, I’ll be waiting.”

At ten o’clock, the pinochle game broke up. Mrs. Fry, teeth clenched, stood up and walked toward the door.

“Mrs. Fry,” called Donald Seymour, setting his beer mug on the bar, “I’ll walk you to the house.”

“No need,” she said, her eyes big and round.

“I just need to pay my tab. Wait for me,” Seymour said, but Mrs. Fry marched out the door.

Mr. Seymour tossed coins on the bar and turned to walk out. Bert stood up, momentarilyScreen Shot 2014-02-18 at 5.02.54 PM blocking his way. Seymour brushed past Bert and caught up to Mrs. Fry as she was hurrying up the path. He raised his hand and started to say her name, but P.C. Penhale sprang out from a doorway and grabbed his arm. “Got you!” Penhale shouted and pinned Seymour’s arms behind his back. “You are under arrest for the attempted murder of Mrs. Fry.”

Donald Seymour’s heart pounded. His glasses flew off. His eyes goggled in his head. He felt himself slipping down to the pavement.

Penhale gasped, pulled out his phone and punched in a number. “Doc, come quick! Mr. Seymour is having a heart attack.”

“Good job, Joe. Me and Al saw everything,” said Bert, stooping over Mr. Seymour. “He looks like a gonner, don’t he, Al?”

Martin came running. “Out of the way!” he yelled, pushing Bert aside. He examined Mr. Seymour and said. “He isn’t having a heart attack. He’s having a panic attack.” Martin turned to Penhale. “What happened?”

“He’s a hit man, ‘Doc.’ I’ve got him on Murder One.”

“Are you insane, Penhale?”

“It’s true, ‘Doc.’ He’s a murderer, well, attempted-murderer.”

Mrs. Fry was breathing heavily, and Mr. Seymour was feeling around on the ground. “Al, find Mr. Seymour’s glasses. Then all of you come into the pub.”

Martin put his stethoscope back into the case and followed them inside. “Sit down and tell me what’s going on.”

Mrs. Fry described overhearing Mr. Seymour’s plot to kill her.

“Mr. Seymour was going to stab you, is that right?” said Martin. “Where’s the knife, Penhale?”

Penhale walked over to Seymour, who still felt woozy, and patted him down. “No knife,” Penhale said, shrugging his shoulders.

“I meant, ah, he intended to strangle me,” Mrs. Fry insisted.

“Impossible,” said Martin. “Mr. Seymour has carpal tunnel syndrome in his wrists, which means he does not have enough strength in his hands to strangle anyone.”

Mr. Seymour rubbed his forehead and blinked to clear his vision. “Dear me,” he said, looking at Mrs. Fry, “I know what’s caused all this fuss. I was reading one of those Agatha Brayzon books out loud. You must have heard the part where the thug planned to murder the stripper.”

“Stripper? Why I never–” said Mrs. Fry, breast heaving.

“No—er — I’m sorry, Mrs. Fry, I never meant to frighten you. I like reading aloud. I’ll keep my windows shut in future.”

Mrs. Fry’s eyes met Mr. Seymour’s, and her voice softened. “No need. Come to that, I quite like the sound of your voice.”

Donald Seymour’s face flushed. “Allow me to walk you home,” Donald said, using the back of the chair to push himself up. He looked at Mrs. Fry, took a deep breath and plunged ahead, “You’re a very attractive woman, Mrs. Fry, I can see how you could drive a man to desperate lengths.”

Mrs. Fry’s mouth dropped. “Please, call me Jeanine,” she said, pushing back a lock of hair. She took Mr. Seymour’s arm, and the two sashayed out of the pub.

The “Doc” shook his head. “Penhale, the next time you arrest a murderer, make sure you have a dead body.”


“Doc Martin” is owned by Buffalo Pictures.

#5 “Doc Martin” FanFiction — “Riddle Me This”

 By Karen Gilleland © 2014

This story highlights the “Doc’s” medical acumen, as he must diagnose a mysterious illness  that is draining the life out of a young patient.

The story is dedicated to a family in Colorado.

See important information in a “Reply,” posted under the FanFiction tab, which is also included at the end of “Riddle Me This.”


Nine-year-old Johnny Evans, rings of red curls covering his head, walked into the “Doc’s” reception area followed by his mom. Johnny said to Morwenna, “Riddle me this. I run but never walk. I murmur but never talk. I go but never stop. What am I?”puzzle piece

“You’re late,” Morwenna answered. “‘Doc’ is waiting for you. Go on in now.”

“Awe, Morwenna,” Johnny said. “You’re no fun.”

Mrs. Evans took Johnny’s arm and herded him into the consulting room. Martin, writing on a yellow tablet, looked up and reached for his patient notes. “You’re Johnny Evans?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Evans, still holding the boy’s arm. “Johnny isn’t feeling well. His temperature is normal, and he isn’t coughing or anything, but I thought I’d better bring him in to see you.”

The “Doc” stood up, motioned Johnny toward the examining couch, and lifted the slim child up onto it. “Do you hurt anywhere?”

“No. I just feel draggy. Then he smiled and said, “Riddle me this, ‘Doc.’ I run but never walk. I murmur but never talk. I go but never stop. What am I?”

“A river.”

“That’s right,” said Johnny, his large blue eyes opened wide. “How did you know?”

“Shush, I want to listen to your chest.”

On finishing his examination, Martin turned to Mrs. Evans. “His chest is clear. His heart rate is good. There’s no sign of a sore throat or ear infection. My guess is he has a minor virus. Have him rest today. If he isn’t better tomorrow, come back in.”

The next day, Mrs. Evans brought Johnny back to the surgery, supporting him with her arm.

Morwenna took one look and said, “I’ll tell ‘Doc’ you’re here.”

As Morwenna stood up and walked out from behind the desk, Johnny said in a quiet voice, “I am an odd number. Take away one letter and I become even. What am I?”

“You’re making me feel stupid. Stop it,” said Morwenna, who pulled his file out of the cabinet and went into the consulting room. “’Doc,’ Johnny Evans is back. He doesn’t look good at all,” she said, handing Johnny’s file to Martin.

“Have him come in,” said Martin, reading the notes he had made on Johnny the day before.

“Riddle me this, ‘Doc,’” said Johnny as he entered the office. “I am an odd number. Take away one letter and I become even. What am I?”

The “Doc” shook his head at Johnny and said, “Seven.”

Johnny put his hand up for a high five, but the “Doc” ignored him. “You rock, ‘Doc.’ Nobody else guessed that one.”

“I’ve no time for foolishness. You’re back, so you must be worse. Let’s get you up on the couch. How do you feel?”

“Not good.”

After examining Johnny, the “Doc” rubbed his chin and said, “Mrs. Evans, I can’t find anything to explain Johnny’s condition. I want you to take him to hospital right away. I’ll give you an order for some tests.”

Johnny looked at his mom, his lower lip quivering. She put her arm around his shoulders. “It’s all right, son. ‘Doc’ Martin knows what’s best.”

About seven in the evening, Martin received a call from the hospital. “We’re puzzled about Johnny Evans, Dr. Ellingham. We ran the tests you ordered, as well as others, and nothing abnormal showed up. But Johnny’s vital signs are weakening. We’re keeping him here. We’re keeping a close watch on him.”

“Thanks for letting me know. Please keep me informed.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.36.39 PMMartin switched on the computer and searched through dozens of medical sites. Three hours later, he shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Then he picked up the journal that had arrived that morning. He scanned the table of contents and turned the pages to a case study of a patient in America. After reading the article, he rose from the desk and ran lightly upstairs to tell Louisa he was leaving for the hospital.

“At this time of night, Martin?” Louisa asked in a sleepy voice. “Can’t you just call?”

“No.” He turned away, but stopped and walked back to the bed. “Good night,” he whispered and gave Louisa a light kiss on her cheek. Her lips curled into a smile even though her eyes remained closed.

At hospital in Truro, the receptionist told Martin that Johnny had been moved to intensive care. Martin strode down the hall to the unit, introduced himself to the nurse behind the counter,  and asked her to page the attending physician.

Martin opened the door to Johnny’s room quietly. Mrs. Evans was sitting on a plastic chair in the corner, head slumped down, eyes closed. Johnny lay on the bed amid tubes and monitors, his red curls matted against the pillow. An oxygen mask covered his nose and mouth. Martin touched Johnny’s forehead lightly with the back of his hand, and the boy’s eyes flickered.

“It’s Doctor Ellingham, Johnny. How are you feeling?”

Johnny looked up and shook his head. Martin opened his bag and pulled out two cotton swabs.

“Doc,” said Johnny, pushing aside the oxygen mask from his face. “Riddle me this,” his voice a whisper. “I am a five-letter word. Take the second letter away, and I’ll go away. What am I?”

Martin looked at the monitors recording the boy’s vital signs. “No, Johnny, I know the answer, and I’m not going to let that happen. Open your mouth. I want to take swabs of your throat. You will have to stay very still.”

“Don’t . have . sore . throat, ‘Doc,’” he stammered.

“Shush.” Martin dabbed Johnny’s throat with the cotton swabs. He was putting the swabs into separate plastic containers when a doctor came into the room.

“Dr. Ellingham. I’m Thomas Sharma.”

“Let’s step outside,” said Martin. The two men stood in the hallway, and Martin said, “I’ve taken two swabs from the boy’s throat. I want a Rapid Strep Test and a culture test done immediately.”

“Strep? But he doesn’t present any symptoms — no fever, swelling, spots or coating on his throat or tonsils.”

“It’s a long shot, but I read about a case in America where a girl Johnny’s age showed no signs of strep whatsoever, so she wasn’t tested for it. Despite a battery of other tests, the girl died within days of entering the hospital. According to the autopsy, death resulted from strep throat.”

“The RST will take 15 or 20 minutes, but the culture will take 24 to 48 hours,” said Dr. Sharma, still hesitant.

“We’re wasting time. Take these samples to the lab. Now,” Martin said, shoving the two containers into the doctor’s hands.

Martin turned sharply and went over to the nurse’s station. “Please find a room where Mrs. Evans can lie down.” The nurse shook her head, but Martin put up a restraining palm, turned and walked back to Johnny’s room. Mrs. Evans stirred as the door opened and closed.

“Mrs. Evans, the nurse is going to find a room where you can rest. I’ll stay with Johnny. Does he have any allergies to medicine, particularly antibiotics?”

“No, he’s had antibiotics before.”

A young nursing assistant with a bright smile peeked into the room. “Please come with me, Mrs. Evans,” she said, and held the door open.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Mrs. Evans said to Martin as she crossed the room.

After Mrs. Evans left, Martin pulled the chair over beside the bed and settled into a position where he could watch both the boy and the monitors.

Within half-an-hour Dr. Sharma pushed open the door and walked over to Martin with paperwork in his hands. “You were right. The RST shows streptococcus.”

Martin looked at the report and said, “Let’s get a large dose of amoxicillin into him.”

Both doctors watched as the nurse gave Johnny the injection, but the boy never woke up. Martin sat back down in the chair, and Dr. Sharma left. Night merged into morning, with the duty nurse coming in at various hours to record vital signs; all the while Martin kept vigil over the sleeping child.

About six in the morning, Mrs. Evans came back into the room. Martin stood up. “Johnny has strep throat, Mrs. Evans.” The woman looked alarmed, and Martin added, “We gave him an antibiotic, and his vital signs are holding steady. I think he is going to be okay.”

Mrs. Evans’ shoulders relaxed, and she said, “Thank you, Doctor. You go on and take a break.”

Martin nodded and walked toward the door, glancing back at Johnny. The boy was still in a deep sleep. Martin went down the hall to the loo, then returned to the nurse’s station, where he phoned Louisa.

“Coffee?” the nurse asked and poured him a cup of very dark liquid.

Inhaling the fragrance from the steaming cup, Martin took a cautious sip. He carried theScreen Shot 2014-02-13 at 3.13.28 PM
mug over to the window and stood looking out over the parking lot, perspiring at the thought of how close he had come to losing the boy.

When he finished the coffee, he walked back to the nurse’s counter and set down the empty cup. “Thank you,” he said.

Martin returned to Johnny’s room just as the boy was opening his eyes. His mother ran her hands over his hair and kissed his forehead. When Johnny spotted Martin, he nudged the oxygen mask away from his mouth and said, “‘Doc’?”

“I’ll wait outside the door,” said Mrs. Evans.

Martin walked over and sat down, hands on the railing of the bed. When he looked at the small bundle under the white sheet, his shoulders gave a shudder. Then he shook a finger at Johnny, “Riddle me this. I cost money. I’m sugary sweet, and I rhyme with part of a fork. What am I?”

Johnny scrunched up his eyes, balled his hands into fists and then smiled. “I’m fine!” he said, widening his eyes at Martin.

“Yes. You have strep throat. We gave you a dose of amoxicillin. You’ll need to stay in hospital for a few days and continue to take the antibiotic for a week, but I think the worst is over.”

Tears rolled down Johnny’s cheeks. “I was scared, ‘Doc.’”

“I was too,” admitted Martin, “but apparently you’re tougher than you look.”

Johnny, head bowed, mumbled, “You understood the riddle, didn’t you?” He looked up at Martin and said, “I am a five-letter word. Take the second letter away and I’ll go away. What am I?”

Martin sighed and nodded. “The word was ‘dread.’ Remove the second letter, the ‘r,’ and you would be ‘dead.”


“Doc Martin” is owned by Buffalo Pictures.

The original reply from Bruce is posted at the bottom of the FanFiction tab. It is important enough that I am including it here as well.

Nicely written story. The medical concerns about strep are valid and serious. A relative of mine, a healthy, young man in his early 30s, felt poorly one day in December, went to Urgent Care, was given medication to ease his discomfort, went home and died the next morning. An autopsy revealed he had a rare form of strep. If you are diagnosed with strep, take it seriously and get medical help.

#4 “Doc Martin” FanFiction — “Decisions”

By Karen Gilleland © 2014

This story follows up “Dignity and Courage,” where Martin and Louisa attended a dinner in honor of Robert Dashwood in London. Here, we see Martin struggling with a decision that could tip the precarious balance of his relationship with Louisa. 


“You never said what you and Robert talked about so intently during that dinner in Ep 3 2London,” said Louisa, dressing James in blue knit tunic and turning to look at Martin.

“As I recall, we found better things to do that night than talk medicine.”

“Yes, but Robert will be here shortly, and you haven’t said why he’s coming.”

“He didn’t tell me why he was coming.”

The doorbell rang, and Martin hurried downstairs.

The two men shook hands, and Robert asked, “Might we have a word in private, Martin?” Robert asked.

“Of course.” Martin guided him into the consulting room and gestured to the bottle of whiskey he had set on the cabinet. “Dalwhinnie?”

“A tiny drop. I have a meeting in Truro in an hour,” Robert said, glancing at the clock, which read half-past six.

Martin poured a small measure of Scotch into a glass and handed it to him. He and Robert and Martin stood facing each other between the desk and the examining couch.

“Martin, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m here.”

“I understand you’re putting together a committee. You’re looking for members?”

“Not exactly,” said Robert, sipping his drink. “I’m aware of your views on committees.”


“You’re not too wide of the mark, however. It’s a loosely kept secret that we have funding to set direction for a broad spectrum of medical research for the next five years. I’m putting together a very focused task force. It will have much more teeth than a committee.  I came to ask if you would you be willing to lead the task force.”

Lead it. Sorry, Robert, I’m not interested in leaving Cornwall.”

“No need,” he said, gesturing at the surroundings. “With email, Skype, teleconferencing, you can lead the effort remotely.”

“Why not someone inside the medical circuit in London. I’ve been out of the loop a long time.”

“I prefer someone ‘out of the loop,’ as you say,” he said, setting down the empty glass.

“Why?” asked Martin, head tilted and eyebrows raised.noname

“We’re talking a great deal of research money. The leader will have considerable influence.  I need someone free of political ties, someone who doesn’t owe any favors.” He pointed toward Martin. “You don’t owe anyone favors. Am I right?”

Martin nodded.

“Not to mention, I need a person with a first-class mind, up to date on the latest theories and practices.”

“So you were grilling me at dinner?”

“Yes, I needed to make sure your medical knowledge was current. You might have let things slip down here in this idyllic environment.”

“Not likely.”

“No,” Robert paused. “The leader has to have a broad vision. A specialist’s view would be too narrow. A GP fits the bill. Do you agree?”


“Most importantly, the person has to be someone whose judgment I trust implicitly — and a person with the courage of his convictions.”

Martin remained quiet.

“In two weeks, I will announce the names of the task force members, all doctors at the top of their fields. Their charge is to identify the key research areas of the future. They’ll document their proposals, estimate costs and submit them to you. You will select the projects we should move forward with and prioritize them. Based on your recommendations, I will release funding.”

“Wow.” Martin whistled. He poured himself a glass of water, drained the glass and leanednoname back on the desk. “It’s tempting, I admit, but realistically, the time commitment will be monumental. My practice here keeps me  busy.“

“Yes, we are talking a lot of hours on top of your normal practice. And you will have to come to London occasionally. The position comes with funding.”

“Very generous, but it’s the time commitment that worries me.”

“Think what this opportunity means. Not to put too fine a point on it, you will be in position to make a significant contribution to the world of medicine.”

Martin raised his palms, a picture of Louisa and James on a plane to Spain crossing his mind. “I’m tempted, but Louisa and I are just getting our relationship back on track after a very rough patch. I can’t risk losing her and James again.”

He walked around and sat down at his desk, tilting his chin on his fingertips. Then he looked up at Robert. “If this offer had come a year ago, I would have jumped at the chance. Now, I don’t see how I can take it on. I’m sorry.”

Robert shrugged. “I am, too. I’d better go, or I’ll be late for my meeting.”

EntryslideEp12Martin walked with him to the door, and the two shook hands outside. “I understand your concerns,” said Robert,” but, please, give it some thought.”

A week later, Martin came downstairs and picked up the mail from the floor in front of the door. He thumbed through the envelopes, put all but one on Morwenna’s desk and walked into the consulting room. Sitting down at his desk, he looked at the envelope several seconds before opening and reading the letter. He heard Morwenna come in the front door and the telephone ring.

“’Doc,’ emergency,” she called, opening his door. “A man passed out down the harbor.”

“Any details?” Martin asked, grabbing his medical bag.

“No, must be a visitor. Nobody recognized him.”

“Reschedule my appointments if I’m not back in an hour,” he said, walking out the door.

When Louisa came downstairs, she asked, “Does Martin have a patient, Morwenna?”

“He went down to the harbor on an emergency half-an-hour ago.”

“I’ll leave him a note.” She walked into the office and sat down at Martin’s desk. She wrote a short message on his notepad. As she was placing it in the middle of the desk, she noticed the letter set to the side. The opening sentence caught her eye. ” . . . hope you will reconsider my offer . . .”  She picked up the letter and began to read. She was nearly finished when Martin walked in.

“Louisa,” he said, glancing at the letter in her hand.

She looked up at him, with a question in her eyes, but he didn’t speak.

“You had an offer from Robert.”

“Yes. I’m not interested.”

“Not interested? Martin, you’d give your eye teeth for an assignment like this.”

“You don’t understand. What Robert’s proposing would take every waking hour of my free time.” He turned away to set his bag on the counter and said. “I’m happy with things the way they are.”

“Are you turning down the offer because of me?”

He shuffled his feet. “You are part of the reason,” he admitted, turning toward her, “but not the entire reason.”

“What is the other part of the reason?” Louisa stood up and walked over to him.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 3.42.23 PMHe spoke slowly, trying to convince himself as he formed the words. “Selecting what we should research, in the UK, for the next five years, is an awesome responsibility. A mistake could have long-reaching consequences.”

“Martin Ellingham, when did you ever think you could make a mistake?”

“This is not a trivial matter, Louisa.”

Louisa kept silent for several seconds. Finally she asked, her voice serious. “Do you believe that anybody else would make better decisions than you would make?”

Martin looked around the room, then back at Louisa.  “No, I don’t.”

“Would you accept the offer if it weren’t for me?”

The words caught in his throat, but finally they came out. “Yes. Yes, I would.”

“Martin, I appreciate that you care enough about our marriage to give up something that means a great deal to you, but you can’t make decisions this important without discussing them with me.”

“You want me to take Robert up on his offer? Louisa, I am not exaggerating when I say it will take every minute of my free time.”

“I’m not saying I want you to accept the offer. I am saying that we should discuss it together.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 3.50.29 PMShe lowered her head and then looked at him. “I didn’t realize how great a sacrifice you made passing up the position as Head of Vascular at Imperial until I attended the dinner. Talking to Charlotte and hearing Robert say how hard it was for him to move on helped me understand, for the first time, the passion you must have had for surgery.”

Silence filled the room before Martin spoke. “It’s true that the dinner stirred up feelings I hadn’t felt for a long time.”

“Then let’s talk about this offer. Robert says the commitment is for one year. Is that realistic?”

“I think so.”

Louisa appeared to be considering what the commitment would mean to their lives. She set her shoulders and said,  “Okay, a year isn’t forever. I am willing to make this sacrifice for you, because I believe heading up the task force is important, and I know you would do an incredible job.”

Before he could reply, she added quickly, “But you will have to set aside time every day for James.”

Martin took a deep breath and put his hands on her shoulders.  “You really are wonderful, you know.” He held her close for a very long time.

He stepped over to the desk, picked up the letter and asked, “Did you read the names of the people I will be working with?”

“No,” she said, taking the letter out of his hands and turning the pages until she found the list of task force members. Her mouth dropped when she saw the name at the top.noname

“Edith Montgomery!”

A smile crept out over Martin’s face.

Louisa slapped the papers down on the desk and said, “Wipe that smirk off your face, Ellingham.”


“Doc Martin” is owned by Buffalo Pictures.

To read all articles and “Doc Martin” FanFiction, go to the front page of karengilleland.wordpress.com

#3 “Doc Martin” FanFiction — “Dignity and Courage”

By Karen Gilleland © 2014

“In “Doc Martin,” Series 4, we met Doc’s first love, Edith, played brilliantly by Lia Williams. I like this description of Edith that Ruth Claudette posted a few years back:

“British actress Lia Williams very impressively makes Edith like the texture of burnt stew; detestable, but that which you can’t take your eyes off for a moment!”

I thought it would be fun to bring Edith back into the mix in my latest short piece of FanFiction, “Dignity and Courage.”


Louisa, in a rose, silk gown she had purchased that afternoon in London, and Martin, in dark suit, walked  across the hotel lobby toward the banquet hall. “I’m nervous,” Louisa whispered. “All your doctor friends are here. Should I expect daggers because you stayed in Cornwall?”

“Don’t be silly. Where I practice is nobody else’s business. Besides, I doubt I’ll know many people. I only came because of the tribute to Robert.”

They reached the hall to find it a-buzz with men, many in tails, and women in gowns and jewels. Martin held Louisa’s arm with his left hand and guided her toward an area a little ways from the bar. A sandy haired man approached and reached out to take Martin’s right hand. “Ellingham. Martin, you remember me, Dan Swanson.”


Looking at Louisa, Dan said, “And this is?”

“Louisa, this is a colleague from my days at Imperial, Dan Swanson. Dan, my wife, Louisa.”

“How did you manage to catch the best looking woman in the room, then?” Dan grinned. “Where are you sitting? You’re welcome to join our party – Table 34 in the center of the hall.” He nodded toward the table. Before Martin could reply, Dan said. “Oh, I see Edward Thornton at the bar, and I need to ask him about a policy amendment. Let’s talk later. Table 34.”

Just then Robert Dashwood, in white tie, walked over. “Martin! I thought it was you.” He shook Martin’s hand warmly. “I was flattered when I saw your name on the guest list.” He let go of Martin’s hand and looked at Louisa.

“Louisa, this is Robert Dashwood, our guest of honor. Robert, my wife, Louisa.”

Robert smiled at Louisa and took her hand. “Now I see why Martin passed up London. I’m very happy to meet you, Louisa.”

“Thank you. Congratulations on your new post with the Board of Trustees.”

Robert smiled. “How is your little one? Did you bring him?”

“Yes,” said Louisa. “A nanny is caring for him in the room.”

Robert nodded and turned to Martin, “When I heard you were coming, I asked that you be seated at my table. I hope you don’t mind.”

Martin hesitated, “We would be honored, of course, but it isn’t necessary.”

“Nonsense. I couldn’t pass up this chance to chat with you. I see this crowd every day,” he said, gesturing toward the others in the hall. “Table 1, near the stage. I’ll expect you.” He took Louisa’s hand again, “And you, my dear.” Then he left. Louisa watched him shaking hands and talking with people as he wended his way through the room.

“Would you like a drink,” asked Martin. “I forgot these dinners take forever to get started.”

“Yes, a drink would be lovely.”

At the circular bar, Louisa ordered a white wine, and Martin asked for a glass of water. Several other couples approached, and they exchanged pleasantries. “You’re more popular than you thought,” said Louisa, enjoying the easy rapport between Martin and his acquaintances.

“It’s you they’re interested in. I know now what President Kennedy meant when he took Jackie to Paris. I am the man who accompanied Louisa Ellingham to London, and I have enjoyed it.”

Louisa looked at Martin and laughed. “Martin, you’re quite posh up here.”

“Keep it to yourself,” he whispered.

“I need the loo,” Louisa said.

“Not a bad idea,” and they headed toward the crush of people in the foyer. “I’ll meet you at the entrance,” said Martin as they separated.

Louisa made her way to a stall. A familiar voice floated in the air. “Did you say Ellingham is here?” Edith said, a note of surprise in her voice.

“Yes, and with a dishy date on his arm.”

“Louisa Glasson?”

“I didn’t meet her, but who would have thought Ellingham would turn up with such a stunner?”

“Well, Ellingham’s got that strong, silent thing going for him,” returned Edith.

“Weren’t the two of you an item in Med School?”

“Yes, a long time ago. Can you believe he even wrote me poetry?”

“No, that I cannot picture. Have you been in touch?”

“Last summer, down in Cornwall. I was conducting research at the hospital in Truro. We shared a hotel room in Exeter when I gave my keynote address at the conference.”

“Shared a room? Sounds cozy. When did you meet Louisa?”

“When she was six months’ pregnant. She had been living in London but scuttled back to Cornwall to have the baby.”

“Whose baby?”

“Ellingham’s — allegedly.”

“No! And she was pregnant when you were seeing him? You’re the devil, Edith.” The two women giggled.

“Let’s go back,” said Edith. “I heard a rumor that Robert plans to create a task force to set research direction, and I’d like to be in on the ground floor.”

Louisa came out of the stall. She let the warm water flow over her hands to quiet the shaking. She dried her hands, applied powder under her eyes to cover the tear stains, took a deep breath and walked out of the room. As she neared the ballroom, she stopped. Edith and her friend stood talking to Martin. Louisa straightened her shoulders and walked up to the trio.

“Louisa Glasson, isn’t it?” Edith said.

“Louisa Ellingham. Martin and I are married,” Louisa said, walking over to stand beside him.

“My,” Edith said, twisting her head around to give Martin a wide-eyed look, “Ellingham never ceases to amaze,”

“Yes,” murmured Martin.

“Your delivery went well, I believe,” she said to Louisa, “and now you have a son. Congratulations.” Turning toward Martin again, Edith said, “Bea and I are at Table 47 if you care to join us.”

“No, Robert invited us to share his table,” said Martin.

“Really?” Edith said, eyebrow arched, inviting an answer. Martin merely shrugged.

“Let’s go in, Bea.” Edith gave her hair a curt toss and hooked arms with Bea as they walked into the room.

“Louisa, dinner will be starting soon. We should join Robert at his table.” When Martin reached to take her arm, Louisa stiffened. “You’re shaking. And your pulse is racing,” said Martin, taking her wrist. “What’s the matter?”

“You and Edith. You wrote her poetry? You spent the night together last summer?

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“I overheard Edith in the loo.”

“Really? I will advise MI5 to stop wasting money on surveillance equipment and just place agents in a loo.”

“Not funny, Martin.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand why you’re upset.”

Just then chimes sounded, and staff members began steering people toward the tables.  A wave of people coming through the door forced Martin and Louisa to move forward. They reached Table 1, where eight others were already seated.

“There you are,” said Robert, standing up. “Louisa, would you mind if Martin sat beside me? I have a few thoughts I’d like to discuss with my top pupil. You’ll be next to my wife, Charlotte.”

Charlotte Dashwood smiled as Louisa sat down. “I’ve met Martin, of course, Louisa. I understand you have a son. I’d love to hear about him and your life in Cornwall.”

Louisa felt her shoulders relax as she began talking about James Henry and village life in Portwenn. She listened to Charlotte on the difficulties faced by a surgeon’s wife. Occasionally Louisa glanced at Martin, deep in discussion with Robert.

“Complicated bypasses can take twelve hours,” Charlotte was saying. “I am glad Robert is stepping away. He’ll still be available on occasion, of course; but as a Board member, he will have different responsibilities and, I hope, regular hours. We may find time to be a family again.”

Dinner service complete, chimes sounded and the program began. Louisa’s eyes rested on her hands in her lap, the words flittering by her. At last Robert was introduced and began speaking. Robert was winding up his talk when Louisa straightened up in the chair.

“ . . . I’m touched that so many of you came tonight to wish me well – especially my distinguished colleague, Martin Ellingham.” Robert gestured toward the table. “I was his tutor, but Martin taught me about handling adversity with dignity and making decisions with courage . . . ”

Louisa joined in the applause. Martin leaned toward her, felt her wrist and whispered, “Your heart rate is back to normal.”

“Yes, but after the party, I’d like to hear about what happened between you and Edith in Exeter.” Louisa gave Martin a sidewise glance. “I’d also like to know what you and Robert were discussing so intently.”

“All right. In the meantime, rest assured,” his eyes met hers, “nothing happened between Edith and me in Exeter or anywhere else last summer.”

“And the poetry?”

“Please! I was a student. Don’t expect me to write or recite poetry. My dignity and courage aren’t up to it.”


“Doc Martin” is owned by Buffalo Pictures.

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a very happy and successful 2014!

— Thought for the New Year —

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”      

                                                       — Albert Einstein

I hope you will enjoy my new “Doc Martin” Fantasy Fiction, “The Biscuit Lady.”

This story is dedicated to my brother, Paul John Heller (1937 – 2013)