Direct Red: A Surgeon's View of Her Life-or-Death Profession
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.
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.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - elliepotten - LibraryThing
I picked this up on a whim, out of a bag of incoming books at the shop, because I've rather enjoyed other 'medical memoirs' I've read in the past. I find them fascinating, perhaps because the medical ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - mckait - LibraryThing
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a letdown..., July 26, 2009 By Kathleen Wagner "*Mitakuye Oyasin or We are A... (SWPA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) Reading this book will give you an idea of what ... Read full review