Dr. Robert Norman_Vital SignsBy Ali Renckens

During the day, Dr. Robert Norman devotes himself to his dermatology patients in the Tampa area as he has for 20 years. However, outside the office, he expresses his creativity in several capacities: a photographer, harmonica-player and an author.

Dr. Norman, who has written a variety of books, from fictional novels to medical textbooks, knew at a young age that he wanted to write. “Somebody asked me what I wanted to be and I said a writer or a musician. It’s just something that I’ve always known I wanted to do,” he explained. Many of his works are inspired by his own curiosity on subjects, though he admits, “I filter the world through writing. It’s sort of something I have to do.” Although, on the surface, medicine and novels may be an odd match, Dr. Norman points out, “There’s been a long history of writers who are physicians. They actually complement each other.”

Dr. Norman’s most recent book, Vital Signs – True Tales of Medical Mysteries, Obscure Diseases, and Life-Saving Diagnoses, is based on his experience as a practitioner and writer for the popular section of Discover Magazine, Vital Signs. He said the book is “Something that could save your life. That’s the difference between writing about something in the medical field versus other fields,” adding that he frequently receives calls from people who suddenly understand symptoms they have been experiencing after reading his work. “I listen to all of the stories that people tell me and use those for the books. That’s what makes it so interesting. There’s a part of medicine that’s objective and technical, but another part of it is story-telling.”

Dr. Norman will be available for book-signing on Saturday, November 9 from 3-4 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble on Dale Mabry Hwy. On Thursday, November 14 from 5-6 p.m., he will be at the HCC Brandon Campus with a speaker from the American Medical Student Association. His books can be purchased at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. His talk show, Doc Talk, airs on the third and forth Saturday of every month from 1-2 p.m. More information is available at drrobertnor man.com.


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