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This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Medical Resident Hardcover – December 1, 2019
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"Hilarious and heartbreaking...I howled, yelped, and occasionally choked with laughter...This book may hurt, but in an important and necessary way."―Cathy Rentzenbrink, The Times (London)
"This book is heartbreaking, hilarious and truly important. I believe in its humanity, its spirit and its conscience. The best doctor's visit you will ever have."―Rose McGowan, actress, activist, and New York Times bestselling author of Brave
"Brilliant. Five stars. Amazing."―Mark Haddon, bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
"Painfully funny. The pain and the funniness somehow add up to something entirely good, entirely noble, and entirely lovable."―Stephen Fry, actor, comedian, and author of Mythos
―Minnie Driver, actress
About the Author
- Publisher : Little, Brown Spark; 1st edition (December 1, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316426725
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316426725
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Best Sellers Rank: #55,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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The saddest of all is that the public see us as money grabbing mean people! Really?
Thanks Alan for sharing this journey. More people need to read it.
Who? I dont' think I know the author? Really? OK then...
Like with many great books, there's comedy (lots) as well as tragedy. The book starts off with a diary of short, dry, if rather hilarious, descriptions of the situations a junior NHS doctor -the author in a previous life- finds himself in. I read the first half gasping for breath, laughing way too hard, wanting to instantly tell the jokes to my wife, but suspected she might frown at being nudged at 4:00 AM to hear a placenta joke.
But from behind the sarcasm I started to see the dedication and care - despite the sometimes bone-dry insanely funny descriptions of mishaps and human silliness. The hilarious bits are still there, yet there's another narrative coming to the front, with first hinted at, and then more open, drama. It's weird to almost feel guilty about laughing so hard when you fully start to grasp the background and even, yes, message. An ending that, if you have a heart, will make sure it will be ripped right out - which is pretty much in sync with the rest of the stories where things get ripped, gently or less so, from human bodies.
No spoilers, but maybe, what hurts most, is realizing the author no longer practices medicine today, and that this, despite the seemingly cynical descriptions of bodily functions-and-parts going pear shaped (baby heads, often...), is probably a damn shame. Then again, this book wouldn't exist if that was the case.
I finished this book at 5:30 AM the next day, surprised that it made me emotional the way it did. ("Woke", I think the more youthful reader might call it.) Anyway, unless you are planning to have a baby in the next year or so (and even then... there's quite a bit of useful information, but it might slightly put you off) you have to read this for yourself. You may need stitches though!
By Lora Shahine, MD on October 19, 2019
This would have been a four star if it had not been for the medical jargon and British colloquial phrases. The Doctor included a lot of numbered notations that are in the back of the book. However, with an Kindle book you know how impossible that is to go back and forth without losing your place.
Top reviews from other countries
I have been the impatient Nurse paging an already overstretched junior doctor to come and review a patient, prescribe more pain relief or fluids, check Gent or Vanc levels or write a discharge letter (as the patient is standing in front of me dressed, holding their packed belongings with their angry relative who has come to collect them...because the Consultant told them 7 hours ago on the ward round they could go home after dinner).
I have taken junior doctors a cup of tea, a biscuit and a “patients sandwich” from the ward fridge because it’s 6pm and they haven’t eaten or drank anything since before their shift started 9 hours ago.
I have been there on a ward round when they have been belittled by a Consultant in front of their colleagues and the patient for not ordering a test the day before, or because they didn’t give an answer to a seemingly straightforward question and have been met with raised eyebrows and “did you graduate from medical school Dr?” from said Consultant.
I have also been the nurse on Nightshift when things have been the “Q” word, turning a blind eye as a junior doctor sneaks into the Day unit next door for some shut eye because they are exhausted on their 5th night. Or sitting at the Nurses Station swapping comical stories about patients, because sometimes you need that shared humour to get you through to the end of your shift.
I left the wards for a less stressful stint in Occupational Health after 6 years of working rotational shifts, which I appreciate on the grand scale of things is not that long at all. However, for my own sanity I felt I had no choice. I was burnt out, stressed, irritable, permanently exhausted through crazy shift patterns (3 nights, a sleep day then a day shift, off for two then back in for 3 days?) sick of constantly being short staffed, being left unsupported (especially on nights) and having to make decisions above my pay grade then being chastised for it in the morning by Sister, missing countless social and family gatherings because of “being on shift”, my husband and I were on the road to starting IVF treatment after unsuccessfully trying for a baby for nearly 3 years....the list goes on.
The NHS relies on the goodwill of its staff working past their time, (usually writing up notes or Incident forms that you haven’t had time to do during your shift), or swapping their shift due to staff shortages at the last minute, relies on them building their own support network instead of giving them the right support to deal with traumatic events that are all too common in the job (but no amount of training will ever prepare you for), working through their breaks “because the ward is too busy”....etc, etc
The pressures of the job are increased ten fold by the pressures of management, audits, paperwork (sometimes its like paperwork for the sake of paperwork) which is generated by our unrealistic government. And also not forgetting the negative attention the media places on the situation giving some patients/relatives the idea that your fair game in questioning your abilities and informing you the papers said this or that so it must be true...it’s sad to think that this wonderful system that was once the envy of the world has been brought to its knees, leading valuable and extremely competent staff to leave the profession in their droves.
I completely understand about black humour in times of stress and it is a stressful job but all of what he lists as ‘anecdotes’ were human beings and even if they did some weird things and weren’t too bright - they still didn’t deserve to be the butt if his jokes and used to earn him a penny or two when he gave up doctoring.
I’m not even sure that he liked his patients and I think it’s probably just as well he has left the profession. I finished the book but I wouldn’t recommend it and I’m not sure how it gets all the good reviews - well I am, he no doubt has a very good agent and publicity machine.