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Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story Paperback – 4 Feb 2010
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In this powerful and sometimes shocking account, a surgeon reveals her experience of hospital life with rare frankness. In her mid-twenties, Gabriel Weston - an arts graduate with no scientific qualification beyond high school-level biology - decided to become a surgeon. She enrolled at night school, then went through many years of medical school and surgical training. Now in her late thirties, she has achieved her ambition and is working as a surgeon in a British hospital. But I have never quite managed to shake off the feeling that I am an imposter, she says. Even when operating, it sometimes seems like I am on the outside looking in. Direct Red is the result of those observations. It is a superbly written, startlingly raw account of her experience of life in a hospital. All her own doubts, mistakes, and incongruous triumphs are faithfully recorded. It is also a revealing and at times chilling account of what she sees around her. The world of surgery is secret and closed - or was until now. Excerpt I knew that this man needed to be opened up immediately. I phoned the on-call consultant, offering to meet him in theatre. Not so fast, he objected. You youngsters are always in such a hurry. When he finally did concede that we needed to go to theatre, he picked up a coffee on the way. Physiology forced pace on the situation: once we cut the man open, we were confronted with the sight of the hollow cavern of the patient's abdomen filling with blood as quickly as a basin fills with water. This consultant did not have a clue what to do; didn't know the simplest emergency measures. He dressed his incompetence in a mannered slowness of action. It took him almost an hour to admit he wasn't coping, at which point he shouted at the scrub nurse: Get me another surgeon! Any surgeon! The night taught me the paramount value of a quick response. From the Hardcover edition
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Gabriel Weston certainly displays both ends of the compassion scale, seemingly none (and chastises herself for it) and then eventually immense which leads her to 'have a good word with herself' - which she does................
The style of writing is excellent and very readable. I've been in theatre hundreds of times (with work, no I am not medically trained at all) and her writing took me straight back in there. I particularly liked the politics that she described, again I have witnessed that a lot in my 22 years in the medical devices field.
I also liked her professional frailty - fancying patients - showing a human side that some consultants are unable to display, but perhaps the job creates that.
Extremely good book my only criticisms are that it was not about orthopaedics and the proof reading got a bit lazy in the last quarter.
I would recommend this to anyone interested in this particular genre.
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