Professor Kerry Goulston, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney, has sent in the following review of two books likely to interest Croakey readers.
“There are two outstanding books which I can highly recommend.
First, “Direct Red” by Gabriel Weston, who is a young Scottish Surgeon and a gifted narrator. She describes openly her travails as a young doctor and why she put her family first. It is beautifully written.
Secondly, “Vital Signs” by Ken Hillman. Ken is Chief Intensivist at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney. Probably best known for his pioneering of Medical Emergency Teams. He has put together reflective vignettes from his own experience. Again extremely well written and provocative.
Both these books epitomise the Art of Medicine – caring for and with the patient. In these bureacratic days, we need this reminder. Too often we lose sight of what Medicine is really about.
Both authors tell us through their own experiences and with great writing skills that the patient is what it is about – not length of stay, not efficiency, not budget – but about interaction between doctor and patient.
We can all do better. We can and should reflect on that. Not for the sake of Quality and Safety but because we want to serve our individual patients better.
These books are well crafted and they remind us what it is all about – the need to look after ourselves as as well as our patients.
Lord Darzi in the UK realised this. We need similar leading clinicians here to do likewise.
Let the Government, let the bureaucrats know – it is about the Patient-Doctor relationship. That is what is important – send them these books too!!
If you know a medical student or young doctor, it’s worth buying both for them—but read them first yourself.”