Medical memoirs have had a popularity boost in the past few years with many professionals finding their voice and sharing their stories.
Some have received critical acclaim for the relatable life-or-death situations, heart-wrenching human stories, and astounding tales of courage in the face of the unknown.
Many of the memoirs are love stories to their professions; the intensity, passion, and dedication felt by the doctors and nurses is expressed beautifully through their accounts of day-to-day life.
From hospitals to GP surgeries, and further afield to the frontline of war-torn countries- these medical marvels have written these memoirs to share their amazing experiences, ensuring we don’t take them for granted.
“Here is a book about the modern experience of mortality – about what it’s like to get old and die, how medicine has changed this and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about death have gone wrong. With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do. Never before has ageing been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn’t have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life – all the way to the very end.”
“How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? How do you live with the consequences when it all goes wrong? DO NO HARM offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. With astonishing candour and compassion, Henry Marsh reveals the exhilarating drama of surgery, the chaos and confusion of a busy modern hospital, and above all the need for hope when faced with life’s most agonising decisions.”
“When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.
What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?
Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.”
“Professor Stephen Westaby took chances and pushed the boundaries of heart surgery. He saved hundreds of lives over the course of a thirty-five year career and now, in his astounding memoir, Westaby details some of his most remarkable and poignant cases – such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years.
A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone’s life in your hands.”
“Although Professor Stephen Westaby was born with the necessary coordination and manual dexterity, it was a head trauma sustained during university that gifted him the qualities of an exceptional heart surgeon: qualities that are frequently associated with psychopathy. His thirty-five-year career has been characterised by fearlessness and ruthless ambition; leaving empathy at the hospital door as thousands of patients put their lives in his hands.
As we glimpse into the future of cardiac surgery, for all its remarkable scientific advancement, one question remains: within the confines of socialised medical healthcare systems, how can heart surgeons – individuals often hardwired with avoidance of self-doubt, a penchant for glory and a flagrant disregard for authority – truly flourish?”
“Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
Sunday Times Number One Bestseller for over eight months and winner of a record FOUR National Book Awards: Book of the Year, Non-Fiction Book of the Year, New Writer of the Year and Zoe Ball Book Club Book of the Year.”
“Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. Taking us from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary, The Language of Kindness is an astounding account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness.
We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.
In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend. And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.”
“For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993, to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out life-saving operations and field surgery in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major London teaching hospital.
Driven both by compassion and passion, the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. But as time went on, David Nott began to realize that flying into a catastrophe – whether war or natural disaster – was not enough. Doctors on the ground needed to learn how to treat the appalling injuries that war inflicts upon its victims. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.”
“The hand of a stranger offered in solace. A flower placed on a dead body as a mark of respect. A gentle word in response to fear and anger. It is these moments of empathy, in the extremis of human experience, which define us as people.
Nobody knows this better than a nurse and Molly Case has witnessed countless such moments. In How to Treat People, she documents these extraordinary points, when two people truly connect. Molly confronts care in a whole new way, when two worlds – the professional and the personal – suddenly collide.
Weaving together medical history, art, memoir and science, How to Treat People beautifully illustrates the intricacies of the human condition and the oscillating rhythms of life and death. Most of all, it is a heart-stopping reminder that we can all find meaning in being part, even for a moment, of the lives of others.”