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For readers of Atul Gawande and Paul Kalanithi, an intensive care doctor becomes a dying patient in her own hospital in this gripping memoir of unbearable loss, which calls for medical professionals to see patients as human beings, not just as a diagnosis.

Sunday Times 'MUST READ'

'Tense, powerful and gripping
... her writing style is often nothing short of beautiful - evocative and emotional.' Adam Kay, Observer


At seven months pregnant, intensive care doctor Rana Awdish suffered a catastrophic medical event, haemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life in her own hospital, enduring a series of organ failures and multiple major surgeries.

Every step of the way, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected and shocking than her battle to survive: her fellow doctors’ inability to see and acknowledge the pain of loss and human suffering, the result of a self-protective barrier hard-wired in medical training.

In Shock is Rana Awdish's searing account of her extraordinary journey from doctor to patient, during which she sees for the first time the dysfunction of her profession’s disconnection from patients and the flaws in her own past practice as a doctor. Shatteringly personal yet wholly universal, it is both a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness and a call to arms for doctors to see each patient not as a diagnosis but as a human being.

Reviews

Awdish looks at the way we practice medicine with a combination of love and outrage. She writes beautifully about the secret, shameful feelings many doctors feel they have to hide and she shows us how we might do better. After reading this book, I feel like a different doctor.

Gabriel Weston, author of Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story

Outstanding... What marks it out is not the scale or urgency of the trauma, although I read the first chapters at such a pace that I almost had to remind myself to breathe. It is the writing. It sparks and crackles with a dark energy... The writing is not just intense, but intelligent... In Shock stands above other patient memoirs.

James McConnachie, The Sunday Times

Urgent and supremely eloquent... In Shock is a book to set alongside the likes of Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Direct Red by Gabriel Weston and, of course, Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air.

Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller

Tense, powerful and gripping... her writing style is often nothing short of beautiful - evocative and emotional.

Adam Kay, The Observer

A compassionate and critical look at medicine and illness from both a doctor’s and a patient’s perspective... Awdish has written a unique and insightful memoir.

Publishers Weekly

In Shock is both an enthralling page-turner and a haunting call to arms for the medical profession to practice with greater kindness, compassion and humility. Awdish captures beautifully how and why doctors, against our best selves, can lose sight of our patients in furious pursuit of the diagnosis, the save, the cure. Anyone – doctor or otherwise – whose life has been touched by illness will be transfixed by this deeply moving tale of catastrophic illness and everything it teaches us.

Rachel Clarke, author of Your Life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor's Story

There are few recent books to compare it to. Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air, another physician’s account of illness, ended with his death. Awdish lives to tell the tale, but her cascade of medical problems is appallingly severe. Like [Adam] Kay’s, her writing is motivated by trauma, both her own and that of her medical colleagues…The dramatic story of her illness and recovery alone would make the book compelling, but in the growing genre of medical non-fiction, it is her reflections on medical practice that really stand out.

Dr Alexander Van Tulleken, TLS

A brave, powerful memoir about what it is like to be both a doctor and a patient... There is a widsom that literally comes from suffering.

The Times

Had me hooked right from the start. Incredible story, and even more incredible story-telling... has had an unexpected impact on me and will change the way I practice medicine from here on.

Dr Ranj Singh

Compelling and insightful, this story of what a doctor learns through coming close to death is packed with both action and reflection.

Cathy Rentzenbrink, bestselling author of The Last Act of Love

Harrowing and enlightening... This is a story of darkness and light, horror and hope. It's not an easy read, but it is a fascinating one, and highly recommended.

The Sunday Business Post

An extraordinary memoir.

Daily Mail

Awdish describes her experiences powerfully... In Shock is a reminder that the sick are not subhuman, doctors are not superhuman, and that medicine needs to be human in order to truly heal.

Sarah Ditum, Mail on Sunday

In Shock is a notable, ambitious and welcome contribution to an emerging dialogue concerning the quality and orientation of acute hospital care.

Paul D'Alton, Irish Times

Awdish's book is the one I wished we were given as assigned reading our first year of medical school, alongside our white coats and stethoscopes ... dramatic, engaging and instructive.

New York Times

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9780593079492

    October 30, 2017

    Bantam Press

    272 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback

    9780552174756

    March 19, 2019

    Corgi

    272 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au