Dr. Michael Palmer

October 9, 1942October 30, 2013

Dr. Michael S. Palmer (1942-2013) Novelist Dr. Michael Palmer, who helped popularize the genre of medical thrillers, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 30, in New York. He was 71.

Dr. Palmer, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, was returning home to Boston from an African safari when he collapsed. He was taken by ambulance to Jamaica Hospital in Queens where he later died. Dr. Palmer’s debut book, The Sisterhood, sold millions of copies world-wide and is still in print today, an impressive feat for someone who has said he never wanted to be a writer but always believed he had some sort of creative streak hidden inside him. Following that commercial and critical success, Dr. Palmer went on to write nineteen more New York Times bestselling novels that have been translated in thirty-five foreign countries. His fourth novel, Extreme Measures, was made into a movie in 1996 staring Hugh Grant, Gene Hackman and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Dr. Palmer served as a clinical instructor in medicine at Tufts University and was on the faculties of Harvard Medical School and the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT., and received his M.D. degree with honors from Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Palmer has said he opted to attend Case Western Reserve, largely because they had developed a curriculum that centered on producing caring, involved physicians. A focus on caring became the hallmark of Dr. Palmer’s illustrious medical career and at the time of his death he was an associate director emeritus of Physician Health Services, helping doctors suffering from physical illness, mental illness or substance abuse challenges put their personal and professional lives back together. A passionate advocate for addiction medicine, Dr. Palmer has spoken openly about his own recovery from drug and alcohol abuse.

Palmer’s talents and passions extended beyond the fields of medicine and writing. He was a Life Master bridge player and adventurous traveler in addition to being an accomplished musician. But if asked, Palmer would say his greatest accomplishment was his family to whom he was extremely devoted. Dr. Palmer was the beloved companion of Robin Broady of Swampscott. Devoted father of Matthew Palmer and his wife Dr. Danica Palmer of Arlington, VA; Daniel Palmer and his wife Jessica Bladd Palmer of Hollis, NH and Luke Palmer of Brooklyn, NY. Loving brother of Donna Palmer Prince of Newton and Susan Palmer Terry of Concord, NH; Cherished grandfather of Nicholas, Benjamin, Zoe and Sophie Palmer.

Over the years, Palmer had said he received a great deal of advice about writing from his parents, friends, agent, editors, and the other writers who he had crossed paths with along the way. His outlook on both work and life ultimately came down to four principles. You can only do what you can do. Live one day at a time. Never go around comparing your insides to everyone else’s outsides. Being a good person supersedes everything else. A memorial service has been planned for November 3 at 2pm at the Stanetsky-Hymanson Memorial Chapel, 10 Vinnin St, Salem, MA 01970. Webcasting of the Memorial Service can be found at using the password EDS5Y. Memorial observance will be held at his late residence following services. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to an organization that was very near and dear to his heart, Asperger’s Association of New England, 51 Water Street #206, Watertown, MA 02472.



  • Memorial Service Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dr. Michael Palmer

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Irene Meaney

February 18, 2017

I am a nurse from Dr.Palmer's past. I am saddened to hear of his passing although it's more than 3 years ago. He was a young intern @ BCH. We all worked together on a male ward. He carried us through many days with his hard work, humor & that wonderful twinkle in his eye. We shared many shifts together. Remembering many funny stories. He was the best. To his family I offer my condolences.

Carol McBride

July 26, 2015

Wanted to send my condolence to the family of Michael Palmer. I am one of the zillions of fans of his novels and I always am so excited to see that he has written another so when I saw his new book Trauma I was thrilled. When I got it home I saw that Daniel was co-author and I wondered why. I looked up on the web and was shocked and so saddened by the passing of this well loved author and caring man and even though it is so late in the day I wanted to offer my heartfelt sympathy to his family and to Daniel to let him know that his father is proud because he has the same type of affect on me as a writer and as I re-read his father's novels I'll be avidly looking for Daniel's new ones. Sincerely and with great respect for Michael Palmer.
Carol McBride.

Elizabeth Howard

October 24, 2014

I am so sad to hear about Dr. Palmers death. I just started reading his books about 3 months ago and am happy to have found his books. I was at Barnes and Noble and saw second opinon and bought it and started reading it and could not put it down. I am so happy to have started reading again after 30 plus years of not. I totally love the way he wrote and have 9 of his books and will be getting the rest very soon!

Tammy Weaver

February 22, 2014

I am a big fan. Although I never had the privilege of meeting him, he did respond to an e-mail I sent him several years ago. I was blown away. I have read and have all his books. I am a mental health nurse so it's no surprise I loved his books. I guess my absolute favorite was "The Sisterhood." My condolences to his family. I will miss new books by him but I can and will re-read the ones I have.


February 13, 2014


November 15, 2013

Heart felt thoughts to Michael's family. May the heavenly creator watch over and guide your soul. He never lost his patience with me and his words of encouragement four decades later was life changing. Michael, Thank you for making this world brighter.

Rick T

Sandra Lee

November 10, 2013

My connection and friendship with Michael Palmer dates back twenty years ... to when my family members were injured in a boating explosion at the Charles River Yacht Club. My grandmother spent six months at Mass Massachusetts General Hospital recovering from her injuries. I was living in Beacon Hill and working down town as a paralegal at the time. I visited my grandmother every morning before work, during every lunch hour, and again every night. I did this because I wanted to be by her side, and also, because she refused to eat unless I was present. Because she would dose off quite a bit during our visits, I often brought a book along to keep myself occupied. On a day when I had either finished a book or forgotten the one I was reading at the time, I visited the hospital's lobby shop in search of a new one. 'Extreme Measures' jumped out at me. Was it the title ... the cover ... the description? I thought mostly the genre. I began reading 'Extreme Measures' in my grandmother's room while she slept, until one day when she suprised me. I paused at the end of a chapter and the woman who I believed was sleeping said "Don't stop there; keep reading." This meant two things; Grandma had ecome a Michael Palmer fan; and, most importantly, she was getting better. After 'Extreme Measures', Grandma sent me on a mission ... to find all other books written by Michael. My journey began in the same lobby store where Michael just happened to be signing books at the time. The line was long and Grandma was waiting, so I slipped inside the store. There, I found no more books ... they were all out front at Michael's table. Knowing Grandma would soon have lunch, I headed back to her room. As I was leaving the hospital to return to work, a gigantic man approached me. It was Michael. He asked me what I thought of the crowd which had formed for the signing. I told him how impressed I was and how sorry I was that I couldn't stay. I explained my situation and told Michael I needed to hurry back to work. He was pleased to hear about Grandma being a fan and, before I scurried off, he offered to sign the copy of 'Extreme Measures' I had in my bag. "What is your grandmother's name?" he asked. After Michael addressed the book to my grandmother, I thanked him and raced back to work. I could not wait to tell Grandma over a luke warm hospital dinner that evening that I had met the author of the book; that he had even signed the book. When I arrived at the hospital that night and entered Grandma's room, I realized she had company. That company was actually feeding her dinner. That company was Michael.
Imagine; such a busy man taking the time to stay in town an extra few hours to visit someone he had never before met. Imagine; a large stranger getting my grandmother to eat for him. Imagine; this same person bringing signed copies of books he had written at the time to my grandmother. Imagine; this man who didn't live nearby ultimately visiting my grandmother on a regular basis and becoming involved in her complex medical issues. Imagine; this man staying the course until Grandma's discharge, and visiting her at her home or calling as often as he could, for the next seven years, until she died. At that time, I realized it was fate which caused me to pick up 'Extreme Measures' that day in the lobby shop. It brought Michael into our lives. He greatly enhanced the quality of my grandmother's remaining time here, on earth. Michael remained a close and loyal friend to me, and a mentor in my own writing until the end.

I'm sure you all CAN imagine these random acts of kindness having occurred ... because we are, after all, talking about Michael.

Patty Lemer

November 10, 2013

I am shocked and saddened by Michael's timely death. I will always remember and cherish memories of that dinner with Michael in CT when the idea for FATAL hatched out of the first conference relating vaccines to developmental delays. Thank you for helping educate the public on possible vaccine dangers. Thank you being the father my brother never had in Cincinnati so many years ago. Thank you for welcoming me and my daughter into your home. I look forward to being scared to death one more time when your last book comes out posthumously. And I am so happy that your writing tradition is being carried into the next generation. My heartfelt condolences to your huge extended family, especially to Luke. Your Dad was SO proud of the man you have become.

November 9, 2013

I met Michael Palmer in 1987 when I was a rookie Falmouth Police officer. We struck up a conversation after he treated an accident victim I was at the emergency room to interview. Dr. Palmer was easy to talk to and was interested in my job. We became fast friends. Working midnight shifts were pretty quiet back then and I would drop in with fresh patries to chat with Michael and his ER staff. When he was writing Extreme Measures he asked my permission to use my name and profession in his book. I was flattered by the gesture and could not wait until the book was released. Dr. Palmer was a wonderful person and I was honored to have known him. He touched my life and I will miss him dearly.

KT Carney
Retired MSP


November 8, 2013

My deepest sympathies to the family. I am a huge fan, have read all his books and have met him several times. I will miss his books tremendously.