James Murtagh


In real life, Murtagh is a doctor of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Murtagh’s career combines both writing and science. He has earned awards as an essay writer, Merit scholar, and Westinghouse science award recipient. After graduating with top honors from a six-year combined medical program at the University of Michigan medical school, Murtagh did his residency in internal medicine at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He then subspecialized in pulmonary and critical care at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he served as a staff scientist in molecular biology for five years. Later, he took the lead in the emerging field of Sleep Medicine.

In 1991, Murtagh became an assistant professor at Emory University medical school. He earned tenure in less than four years, was awarded more than 2 million dollars in grants for innovative research, and was awarded three patents for DNA detection methods. Murtagh became a prolific writer, authoring more than 40 articles (in the Journal of Biologic Chemistry, Biotechniques, Nucleic Acid Research), and contributed to books on more general medicine topics and on bioethics. Murtagh became a scientific advisor to Boehringer Mannheim. He served at Atlanta VA hospital and Grady Memorial County Hospital on a joint appointment.

In recent years, Murtagh joined a coalition of doctors and citizens alarmed at the current healthcare crisis, especially as it affects indigent and working families at inner-city public hospitals.

Murtagh continues to practice medicine and devotes a substantial portion of his time to a company he formed to promote integrity in healthcare. His contact with this unusual group of concerned citizens and healthcare whistleblowers forms the basis of this book.

Recently, his life as an author has expanded as he publishes regular Op-eds in major newspapers and is starting a series of columns on medical ethics in the New York Sun and Hastings center.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I am a pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep, and ER medicine doctor. I am also a writer and social activist. I developed my interest in medicine as a small boy. I was very active during the pandemic. I saw 100% COVID patients during the COVID years.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My day is eclectic. I work night or day shifts, depending on what needs to be done. I travel from job to job. I really don’t go home.

How do you bring ideas to life?

In medicine from years of training. In writing, I draw from my experience to write novels and movies. As a social activist- again, from my work, I know the need to change medicine is everywhere. The US is not keeping up with the medical system people need.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The U.S. needs to put facts back at the center of our lives. Our response to the pandemic was poor- one million unnecessary deaths. I’m glad to see young people see the need for fact-based lives and policies. I’m afraid we are facing many crises coming ahead.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m very disciplined, stick to a task, and never give up.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Keep doing what you are doing.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The U.S. must base life on facts. We are a thread away from losing all that we have.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Getting a good night’s sleep is the best investment you can make.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Went to see Shakespeare. Loved it.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

MS Word

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The movie “An inconvenient truth”

What is your favorite quote?

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring. Will be to arrive where we started. And know the place for the first time.”