Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Direct Red, by Gabriel Weston

Why I read it: Economist review

Podcasts: None

Brow: Upper middle

Summary: In her mid-20s, Gabriel Weston walked away from a decent office job and enrolled in medical school, going on to become an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon. This is her memoir of her training. Each chapter illustrates a lesson she has learned about the medical establishment or the human condition.

What I liked about it: Everything. This might be the perfect book. But if I have to name a standout reason for loving it, it would have to be her ruthless takedown of the medical establishment, from the rigid hierarchy of the daily surgical meetings, in which residents are lined up according to seniority behind their department heads and routinely criticised for admitting too many patients, to her first night in general surgical residency, when a woman who was shot in a nightclub bleeds out in the operating room because the consultant surgeon is too haughty to admit that he doesn't know how to treat her. She is as hard on herself as she is on her fellow doctors: writing about a time when she failed to offer comfort to a very sick little boy because she was annoyed at being awakened in the middle of the night. Weston also draws positive lessons about compassion and dignity from her experiences.

What I didn't like about it: If I have to make a complaint about this book, it's that it isn't long enough. I could easily have read another 200 pages by her.

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