With the current crop of television soap operas ranging from the bathetic Holby City to the hyperbolic E.R., there is nothing in the media that truly reflects the nature of hospital medicine, nothing to tell it like it really is.
Welcome then, Jed Mercurio, a former doctor himself, delivering his own sharp commentary of life as a junior doctor at an NHS Hospital. With tones that clearly resonate of Samuel Shek's House of God, Mercurio offers readers a home brand of punchy writing with no less muck and grime.
Mercurio's nameless narrator journeys through the hospital, its corridors filled with corruption and cynicism, in search of an ideal world where patients improve and doctors romance nurses. Instead he encounters unbridled mendacity, botched medical errors and suffers his own relationship problems with his 'civilian' girlfriend. As readers, we gain insight into the narrator's internal moral, and emotion turmoil and see how this is translated not just physically (his childhood eczema resurfacing) but also into his work environment.
This book attempts to counter the deification of the medical profession and highlights the human nature of doctors, and how sometimes, even they make mistakes too. In an era of 'Fitness to Practise' it is also refreshing to see the author highlight the oft under mentioned issue of whistle-blowing.
On the upside, this book is a thoroughly entertaining yet chillingly accurate portrayal of less than perfect hospital life. With its easily accessible style, it serves as a potential warning to all medical students as to what the 'real world' of medicine is truly like, guts and all.
The only possible downside? It's been commissioned for a BBC Television Series