Your Life in My Hands
'I am a junior doctor. It is 4 a.m. I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.'How does it feel to be spat out of medical school into a world of pain, loss and trauma that you feel wholly ill-equipped to handle? To be a medical novice who makes decisions which - if you get them wrong - might forever alter, or end, a person's life?In 'Your Life in My Hands', television journalist turned junior doctor Rachel Clarke captures the extraordinary realities of life on the NHS frontline. During last year's historic junior doctor strikes, Rachel was at the forefront of the campaign against the government's imposed contract upon young doctors. Her heartfelt, deeply personal account of life as a junior doctor in today's NHS is both a powerful polemic on the degradation of Britain's most vital public institution and a love letter of optimism and hope to that same health service."Eloquent and moving...There have been many books written by young doctors, but none comes close to Clarke's in describing the physical and emotional exhaustion, and the intense highs and lows, of working as a hospital doctor. Clarke's description of one of her consultants gently telling a young girl that no more treatment for her leukaemia is possible that it is time for her to die will reduce you to tears. Anybody who wants to understand what is happening to the NHS should read this book." - Henry Marsh, neurosurgeon and author of Do No Harm and Admissions"From the very heart of the NHS comes this brilliant insight into the continuing crisis in the health service. Rachel Clarke writes as the accomplished journalist she once was and as the leading junior doctor she now is - writing with humanity and compassion that at times reduced me to tears." - Jon Snow, Channel 4 News"Dr Clarke has written a blockbuster, a page-turner, a tear-jerker. This is a "from-the-heart" front-line account of the human cost of the wanton erosion of a magnificent ideal - healthcare free at the point of need, funded through public taxation, available to all - made real in the UK for near 70 years. It is a love-song for the wonderful National Health Service that has embodied - to an extent equalled nowhere in the world - the principle that healthcare is not a commodity but a great duty of state." - Prof. Neena Modi, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Your Life in My Hands Details

TitleYour Life in My Hands
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 1st, 2017
PublisherJohn Blake, Metro Publishing
ISBN-139781786064516
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Medical, Health, Medicine, Autobiography, Memoir

Your Life in My Hands Review

  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    This struck a cord with me on a personal level as I'm currently an allied health professional working within the NHS on the 'frontline', and I've also recently been on the other side of care as an inpatient myself. Rachel Clarke writes passionately about the recent doctors strike and the political incorrectness surrounding a floundering NHS. She cares deeply about patient care and the fight to save the NHS, as do all of us who work within it. I've striked myself - and believe me we never did it This struck a cord with me on a personal level as I'm currently an allied health professional working within the NHS on the 'frontline', and I've also recently been on the other side of care as an inpatient myself. Rachel Clarke writes passionately about the recent doctors strike and the political incorrectness surrounding a floundering NHS. She cares deeply about patient care and the fight to save the NHS, as do all of us who work within it. I've striked myself - and believe me we never did it for the money. We did it because of desperately low morale, and concerns over patient safety. Nobody goes into medicine for the mega bucks, regardless of what Jeremy Hunt wants you to believe. Everything that's written here is told from the heart, and I mirror so many of her valid points. To save our NHS we must all confront these times of austerity and a troubling conservative government who seem content to destroy it from the inside out. Only by standing together and refusing to accept anything less than acceptable for our patients will it survive. Yes, this is always going to be biased towards the junior doctors plight. It's written by a junior doctor who has personally confronted Hunt over his contradictory statements and incorrect statistics. But do I care? No. Because I will fight for the NHS until my last breath, and it's a joyous thing to read something that agrees with me on so many points. Being able to go into hospital (as I have over the past week, twice) and not worry about a large medical bill that I could never possibly pay, is my right as a British citizen, and is something I am immensely proud of this country for. God bless the NHS.
    more
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    (2.5) I was expecting a fairly straightforward memoir of a doctor’s education and practice, à la Henry Marsh, but really this is more of a polemic against Jeremy Hunt’s policies for the NHS. The system is already underfunded and doctors, especially trainees, are already overworked and underslept, Clarke argues, yet the government wanted to force juniors to work more weekend hours too. She went to the press and was active in the campaign against the proposed new contracts. Ultimately this is more (2.5) I was expecting a fairly straightforward memoir of a doctor’s education and practice, à la Henry Marsh, but really this is more of a polemic against Jeremy Hunt’s policies for the NHS. The system is already underfunded and doctors, especially trainees, are already overworked and underslept, Clarke argues, yet the government wanted to force juniors to work more weekend hours too. She went to the press and was active in the campaign against the proposed new contracts. Ultimately this is more about politics than medicine, which will limit its appeal outside of Britain. I wanted more in the way of anecdotes from her professional life – she was a TV journalist until retraining as a doctor at age 29, and surely both careers should make for good stories.Favorite lines:“The question that led me, heavy-hearted, full of doubt, to the picket lines in 2016 was not ‘How can I protect my Saturday overtime?’ but, ‘How can I continue to conduct myself with compassion and humanity in an NHS that is falling apart?’”“We do our bit to assist, if we possibly can. And there is always, even when medicine is exhausted, our touch or voice or smile. It can hurt. It can thrill. It can take your breath away. Painful, bittersweet, overwhelming, magnificent medicine. For me, no other job could come close.”(of the NHS) “For me, there is nothing in Britain that better represents the decency, humanity and generosity of spirit of the country to which I belong. The patient whose status gives me the greatest concern today is the NHS itself, and ultimately its fate rests not in my hands but in yours.”
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    A searingly honest account of life on the frontline of the NHS in modern times. Perhaps I'm biased because I am a nurse (although I did elect to leave the NHS earlier this year for reasons not dissimilar to those documented here) but I thought this was a brilliantly articulate book. The author does not shy away from the cold hard facts of modern medicine, in fact she relishes in telling the readers how it actually is. Much of the book is dedicated to the junior doctor strike era of late 2016 and A searingly honest account of life on the frontline of the NHS in modern times. Perhaps I'm biased because I am a nurse (although I did elect to leave the NHS earlier this year for reasons not dissimilar to those documented here) but I thought this was a brilliantly articulate book. The author does not shy away from the cold hard facts of modern medicine, in fact she relishes in telling the readers how it actually is. Much of the book is dedicated to the junior doctor strike era of late 2016 and early 2017, at this time I was working on an NHS hospital ward (and can say with some confidence that I'm sure this author is writing about the same hospital and Trust). What Doctor Clarke writes is true. Politicians, hospital bureaucrats, bed managers, the numerous "suits" who patrol our wards and departments seeking out areas to make cuts - they should all read this. Truth is, people are dying because of hospital cuts. Staffing is, and always has been, a critical focus of NHS management. What the author demonstrates here is that without taking care of your staff you cannot expect a fully functioning health service. At times, I became misty eyed reading as I have seen much of what she describes for myself.It's not all doom and gloom. There are uplifting accounts of patients defying the odds and about the beauty of modern medicine. I particularly liked the authors nod to how the NHS is free at the point of contact. For all it's faults, if you were to break a leg, be diagnosed with cancer or develop an inflamed gall bladder today in Britain, you do not have to worry about a large bill dropping on your door step tomorrow.
    more
  • Shirley Revill
    January 1, 1970
    A very well written account of what it's like to be on the frontline in the NHS and it's quite a harrowing story.Thank goodness for the angels in the NHS who are doing there best to help save lives and ease the suffering of many.Underpaid, overworked, undervalued by the Jeremy Hunt's of this world and still they stay helping others in this stressful job.Thank goodness there are people like this who work all hours to help the dying and the sick.This book made me reach for the tissues at times. Ve A very well written account of what it's like to be on the frontline in the NHS and it's quite a harrowing story.Thank goodness for the angels in the NHS who are doing there best to help save lives and ease the suffering of many.Underpaid, overworked, undervalued by the Jeremy Hunt's of this world and still they stay helping others in this stressful job.Thank goodness there are people like this who work all hours to help the dying and the sick.This book made me reach for the tissues at times. Very well written and narrated. Recommended.
    more
  • Adam Yates
    January 1, 1970
    Many excellent medical memoirs have made their way onto bookshelves of late (Do No Harm, Being Mortal) and this is an addition to that worthy list. This is frontline medicine rather than grumpy surgeons or hospice philosophy. This is the face of the NHS that some of us have unfortunately witnessed.On a day when the government hands over £1bn to the Northern Irish for help pushing bills through the House of Commons, spare a thought for doctors and nurses who save lives on minimal rest with no app Many excellent medical memoirs have made their way onto bookshelves of late (Do No Harm, Being Mortal) and this is an addition to that worthy list. This is frontline medicine rather than grumpy surgeons or hospice philosophy. This is the face of the NHS that some of us have unfortunately witnessed.On a day when the government hands over £1bn to the Northern Irish for help pushing bills through the House of Commons, spare a thought for doctors and nurses who save lives on minimal rest with no appreciation or managerial support.
    more
  • Beth Bonini
    January 1, 1970
    "Cancer, heart attacks, car crashes, brain damage - we know the bolts from the blue are out there, we just never believe it is us they will strike. Perhaps it is only when you or your family are smitten that you fully appreciate - with relief and gratitude - that the NHS is there, ready and willing to scoop up your loved one and put them back together again, without a punitive bill attached."Rachel Clarke - NHS doctor, former journalist, mother, daughter, wife - has written a powerful polemic he "Cancer, heart attacks, car crashes, brain damage - we know the bolts from the blue are out there, we just never believe it is us they will strike. Perhaps it is only when you or your family are smitten that you fully appreciate - with relief and gratitude - that the NHS is there, ready and willing to scoop up your loved one and put them back together again, without a punitive bill attached."Rachel Clarke - NHS doctor, former journalist, mother, daughter, wife - has written a powerful polemic here. Part memoir/part call-to-arms, Clarke gives a very personal account of her own choice of medicine as a career, and her belief that the NHS is a British institution worth fighting for. She deftly moves between politics (specifically the Junior Doctor strikes in 2015, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's attack on NHS doctors), scenes (sometimes graphic ones) from a hospital, and the toll that budget cuts and understaffing are taking on patient care and staff morale right now in the NHS. As I was reading this book, Lord Kerslake resigned as chairman of King's College Hospital Foundation. He was quoted as saying the health service could not continue 'staggering along' under the current funding levels - which is Clarke's point, entirely. I saw Clarke speak at the Cambridge Literary Festival in late November, 2017, and she was a passionate and informed speaker. There was no doubt about her idealism and deep belief in the NHS. But this book is deeply disturbing and frightening, and leaves the reader in no doubt of how dire the situation has become. It is, hands down, the most upsetting book I've read this year - and I cried at many points during reading it. The final chapter of the book is titled 'Hope', and Clarke emphasised in her talk how important it is that individuals write their MPs and demand that the NHS's problems be taken seriously. One of the reasons I have wanted to live the rest of my adult life in England, as opposed to the US, is its system of universal care. I hope that many people will read this book - not just those who have need of the NHS right now - and will be motivated to want to save this great institution.
    more
  • Michelle Keill
    January 1, 1970
    As I was about to be wheeled in for an life-saving operation on my lung, my surgeon stopped by to see me, as surgeons do, to explain the procedure and ask if I had any questions. After asking him not to kill me, I expressed concern about my recovery (my mother had had to have drain in her lung when she was ill and had been agony), and also that, if all went well and he had not indeed killed me, I was due to be discharged on a Saturday. Again, having been through various dramas during my mum's il As I was about to be wheeled in for an life-saving operation on my lung, my surgeon stopped by to see me, as surgeons do, to explain the procedure and ask if I had any questions. After asking him not to kill me, I expressed concern about my recovery (my mother had had to have drain in her lung when she was ill and had been agony), and also that, if all went well and he had not indeed killed me, I was due to be discharged on a Saturday. Again, having been through various dramas during my mum's illness when she was an inpatient over the weekend (getting her out of there was like Escape from Alcatraz), I was worried that I would be abandoned there until Monday. To this my surgeon just smiled (actually, I think he was trying not to laugh) and said, 'Don't worry about that. Things are different here - you'll see.'They were, and I did: it was a private hospital. I have less luxurious stays in hotels. There I was, in my own room, with my ensuite bathroom, nurses checking on my every ten minutes, and consultants queuing outside the door to wait their turn to see me (really). My biggest problem was pondering the menu to choose from the selection of puddings, and that I was constantly interrupted by physios, nurses, consultants, dietitians, registrars, pharmacists, etc. while I was trying to watch Come Dine with Me. I was so, so lucky - I knew that, and I felt guilty that I was lying there begging the medical staff to stop bothering me.This book is less a collection of 'doctor stories' (although there are a fair few) and more a treatise on the state of the NHS. What Dr Clarke describes is one of the reasons I got health insurance, having seen some horror stories with my own eyes during my mum's illness. And I think things are far worse now then they were then. I am proud to live in a country where healthcare is free, where a broken leg will not bankrupt me. But this is in serious jeopardy, and we need to do our bit to protect it, even if that 'bit' is only reading accounts like this - from people who know what's really going on. Who knows the NHS best - politicians, or the doctors, nurses and others who keep it running?
    more
  • Wendy Greenberg
    January 1, 1970
    Telling it as it is. A brave decision and presented with the clarity of a well researched journalist with the dedication & soul of a doctor living on top of this unexploded bomb. Rings so many bells for me...I worked in NHS admin for 15 years as the current crisis built, flagging concerns at every stage. What is it with politicians that they don't want to consider, appreciate, believe views from the coalface?Everybody should read this..and weep..
    more
  • Laura Spira
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tough read but it stands proudly next to the work of other doctors like Atul Gawande and Henry Marsh who have provided important insights into the lives of medical practitioners, desperately trying to meet the expectations of their patients and their expectations of themselves. I think we often forget that doctors are human, too, in our desire for them to provide clear diagnoses and to make us well. Clarke writes well, as one might expect from someone whose first career was in journali This is a tough read but it stands proudly next to the work of other doctors like Atul Gawande and Henry Marsh who have provided important insights into the lives of medical practitioners, desperately trying to meet the expectations of their patients and their expectations of themselves. I think we often forget that doctors are human, too, in our desire for them to provide clear diagnoses and to make us well. Clarke writes well, as one might expect from someone whose first career was in journalism. A brave idealism led her to gain her medical qualifications later in life than normal and her commitment shines from every page. But the inspiration for the book is much darker and she clearly sets out the contrast between the many equally committed staff working in the NHS and the politicians who perversely choose to undermine their work, ignoring evidence and seeking to shift blame for the undoubted shortcomings of a grossly under-resourced service. Although she tries to end on a hopeful note, the message of this book is gloomy but it needed to be written.
    more
  • Mared Owen
    January 1, 1970
    Mixed feelings about this one. Think the problem was the writing style and the author, and not the actual message. Although I do recognise that its angry tone is completely justified, it would have been nice to see more constructive criticism instead of just scathing criticism. A polemic such as this one would be more effective if the author gave her suggestions for a better future rather than just rant about the past and present. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly important book that the entir Mixed feelings about this one. Think the problem was the writing style and the author, and not the actual message. Although I do recognise that its angry tone is completely justified, it would have been nice to see more constructive criticism instead of just scathing criticism. A polemic such as this one would be more effective if the author gave her suggestions for a better future rather than just rant about the past and present. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly important book that the entire British public should read, but it's sad that the people who need to hear its message most (Theresa May & co) will never deem it important enough.
    more
  • Lucy
    January 1, 1970
    As a fourth year medical student, I enjoyed this book, even though at times it almost entirely destroyed any motivation I had to carry on in medicine. Dr Rachel Clarke offers an insight into the daily workings of the NHS few of us will ever experience, warts and all. I'd encourage anybody to read it, whether you have a medical background or not, especially if you want to truly understand what the BMA/Hunt Junior Doctor scandal was all about.
    more
  • Elena Cojocaru
    January 1, 1970
    A good insight of the NHS and it's cracks
  • Ume
    January 1, 1970
    This review was originally posted on Waterstones.com.Thank you to Metro publishing for sending me a copy of this book for the purpose of a review. This book is powerful, poignant and passionately argued throughout. You can feel Dr. Clarke’s passion for her profession and the depth of her care for her patients - it is almost visceral.She vividly illustrates the excruciating workload of our healthcare staff and the real strain of our NHS and is a must-read for anyone interested in the issue. It is This review was originally posted on Waterstones.com.Thank you to Metro publishing for sending me a copy of this book for the purpose of a review. This book is powerful, poignant and passionately argued throughout. You can feel Dr. Clarke’s passion for her profession and the depth of her care for her patients - it is almost visceral.She vividly illustrates the excruciating workload of our healthcare staff and the real strain of our NHS and is a must-read for anyone interested in the issue. It is mostly definitely a polemic, however, so those put off by political focuses may find other medical memoirs more up their alley. It is difficult not to compare it to other recent medical memoirs, unfair as it may seem, but the political focus (which is sometimes repeated to exhaustion, though I see why this is necessary) sets it apart from the fascinating medical stories of Do No Harm and Admissions, as well as the humour and accessibility of This is Going to Hurt, so those picking up this book expecting it to be similar may be disappointed. That is not to say this book is not full of heart and eye-opening anecdotes, however.Dr. Clarke is clearly in love with medicine but sometimes her writing reads as - not arrogant, but something akin to it - that her readers might not be able to understand exhaustion or that there are no other fulfilling jobs or the reader will not understand her macabre humour if we are non-medics - is sometimes patronising, in a way that other medical memoirs haven’t struck me as. I have a feeling this is a personal quip - especially as someone with many doctors as friends - and this is just how the author illustrates her passion, so please take this criticism with a grain of salt. One chapter I found weak was the Oestrogen chapter, which focused on sexism and gender issues. Unfortunately for me, this is a subject in which I’m rather well-versed (even in a medical context) and was tired of hearing the same statistical arguments which have not been subject to much rigour. In an older article for the Huffington Post, the writer claimed that women do not make the same as men for the exact same job - she does not repeat that debunked (but persistent) claim here, but instead implies that the reasons it exists - part time work, specialties, overtime, etc - are due to sexism. That if men were offered the same job flexibility as women, the wage gap would disappear - ignoring that 20% of part-time positions in the NHS are undertaken by men (if 80% are taken by women, as she claims) and that this has been tried and emphasised in Scandinavian countries, but part-time work is split between the sexes as much as it has ever been. Another bizarre claim was that there are no cerebral differences between the sexes - now, there tend to be statistical differences but of course, individual differences vary more. But to say they are none runs against research.* There is also the assumption that equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity is somehow the goal - I can’t think why any cogent thinker would assume a lack thereof must mean a sexist system, but there you go. This isn’t the place for me to criticise each claim made in that chapter, but it is too easy for me to do so - which is in itself problematic. That isn’t to downplay some of the terrible anecdotes in that chapter or that there is no sexism - obviously not working in medicine I can only sympathise with her experiences, and in fact Clarke comes across as much more reasonable and honest than most feminist rhetoric I’ve read in recent years and her message that she has never let the fact of her sex hold her back or hurt her confidence is refreshing. Also, I do actually agree with her that other professions in the UK could offer more part-time work for men, for the sake of their own freedom rather than ‘closing gender gaps'. But that making sure men and women make the same choices in equal numbers is somehow a marker for progress and will make either sex happy seems antithetical to liberal values to me. All that aside, I did enjoy this book and I admit that many of her anecdotes brought me to tears. I am sure she is a kind and excellent doctor but I had a few qualms , though I’m sure these are idiosyncratic. I was caught between giving this book three or four stars, but know that my true score is somewhere between the two. Overall, if you are in any way interested in the state of the NHS, and are looking to understand the struggles of its staff, don't pass this book up. *In fact much research on sex differences are stifled precisely because they do not show what popular thought would like them to - to the point that we will crown books containing falsehoods as winners for scientific book prizes (See Testosterone Rex, for example). All the research does emphasise that individual differences matter more and men and women should be treated as such, however, and I am not suggesting that the negative remarks about women's abilities in the chapter are true or justified. Starting points on this topic would probably be Steven Pinker and Simon Baren-Cohen, as well as all the criticism of Cordelia Fine's Testosterone Rex by scientists).
    more
  • Ros Lawson
    January 1, 1970
    A frightening account of life as a junior doctor on the NHS front-line. I felt Rachel Clarke’s pain, frustration, fear and sheer exhaustion throughout the book when she so often found herself out of her depth. I completely understand her desire to leave medicine when she felt she wasn’t doing a good enough job and was letting her patients down. Luckily for the NHS (and patients they care for), there are a lot of ‘Rachel Clarke’ s employed by them who are prepared to fight for what they believe i A frightening account of life as a junior doctor on the NHS front-line. I felt Rachel Clarke’s pain, frustration, fear and sheer exhaustion throughout the book when she so often found herself out of her depth. I completely understand her desire to leave medicine when she felt she wasn’t doing a good enough job and was letting her patients down. Luckily for the NHS (and patients they care for), there are a lot of ‘Rachel Clarke’ s employed by them who are prepared to fight for what they believe in. Well done! What would we do without the likes of you?
    more
  • Thelastwordreview
    January 1, 1970
    At the age of 29 Rachel Clarke decided on a change of career, a starting out in journalism in television news she decided the pull of a career in medicine was too great. After all, both her father and grandfather both had careers in medicine. So now it time for Rachel to follow in their footsteps. In Your Life in My Hands Rachel Clarke talks passionately about life as a junior doctor in the NHS. Many always dream of being a nurse or a doctor specialising in specific areas of medicine, but no-one At the age of 29 Rachel Clarke decided on a change of career, a starting out in journalism in television news she decided the pull of a career in medicine was too great. After all, both her father and grandfather both had careers in medicine. So now it time for Rachel to follow in their footsteps. In Your Life in My Hands Rachel Clarke talks passionately about life as a junior doctor in the NHS. Many always dream of being a nurse or a doctor specialising in specific areas of medicine, but no-one prepares you for the real life on the front line that is looking after patients and dealing with the most traumatic moments that only a doctor can experience. Every patient is different, not every patient is understanding some can be rather rude. We ask a lot of doctors and what they have to except. Rachel’s accounts in her book are very eloquent and her writing style means that she comes across as though she there with you talking directly you. Just like a doctor in fact. Reading Rachel Clarke’s Your Life in My Hands gives you a real sense of life working in the NHS. Rachel worked in the NHS for eight years in total and so she has first-hand accounts of how the NHS was being destroyed brick by brick. Our nurses and doctors work incredibly long hours and for Rachel Clarke it was not unusual for her to work 70 hour weeks and the incredible mountain of paperwork that also had to be done. What does come across in Your Life in My Hands is her love of the profession but also a warning that our loved NHS is stretched to breaking point and that if this carries on our incredible nurses and doctors will not be able to continue the level of professionalism that we have come to expect. Jeremy Hunt’s 2015 intervention on imposing strict new working conditions on the profession and the NHS as a whole very nearly broke the back of the NHS that very winter. And it became Rachel’s role thanks to her previous career in TV news that she became the face of TV interviews during NHS Junior doctors strikes that followed. I hope sincerely that the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt has read Rachel Clarke’s passionate memoir but I doubt it. I am passionate about our NHS and the heroes that work in the NHS. I cannot praise Your Life in My Hands high enough. It you care about the future of the NHS then this is a book you must read. To Rachel Clarke I say thank you for writing this important book that in years to come may yet be a book every junior doctor will want to read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. 320 Pages.
    more
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    'I am a junior doctor. It is 4 a.m. I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.'This sounded like just my kind of book. I love books that are written by people ‘in the job’, a behind the scenes look at what actually goes on. I’ve read many 'I am a junior doctor. It is 4 a.m. I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.'This sounded like just my kind of book. I love books that are written by people ‘in the job’, a behind the scenes look at what actually goes on. I’ve read many different occupations – paramedics, journalists, travel reps, vets….the list goes on – and am always on the lookout for new ones in this genre. This one sounded great “A Junior Doctor’s Story” even though I knew it wouldn’t be a bundle of laughs and was certainly expecting to get the tissues out.Dr Rachel Clarke is a former journalist turned Doctor. Her story covers snippets of her career so far. The stories of her and her patients are heart-breaking, but with a sense of relief that her patients have had a doctor so caring and understanding as what Doctor Clarke is. She tells her stories not only from the heart but also from the front line, showing what her and her fellow medical professionals have to endure on a daily basis.The criticism that I have with this book was that I was expecting it to be jam-packed full of stories and anecdotes. I wasn’t really expecting a book that was largely political with pages reserved for the NHS crisis, the doctor’s strike and Jeremy Hunt and with patients’ stories slotted in-between. This is not to say that I don’t agree or disagree with anything that was said about doctors working conditions, junior doctors strikes, the overstretched NHS or anything else that was mentioned, but I didn’t expect it to be drawn upon as much as what it was in the book. I loved reading the patients stories, no matter how heart-breaking they were. These have ranged from a Triple Aortic Aneurysm, infected appendixes, cardiac arrests and end of life care. It’s obvious that Doctor Clarke is a very good doctor with an exceptional bedside manner, and I thank and applaud each and every one of these doctors for doing what they do. It was an interesting and informative book, but I have to admit I skipped past most of the ‘political’ writing in search of more patient stories.Four stars!
    more
  • George (BuriedInBooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Hi everyone here is my latest review! Today I review Your Life In My Hands, A Junior Doctors Story. Written by Rachel Clarke! I started reading this book quite excited after reading This Is Going To Hurt written by Adam Kay. But unfortunately felt misled by the title, I thought i was going to read the memoir of a junior Doctor, not a Political activist. Too much of this book was focused on the political issues with the NHS and Jeremy Hunt. As I’ve said I feel the title and branding of the boo Hi everyone here is my latest review! Today I review Your Life In My Hands, A Junior Doctors Story. Written by Rachel Clarke! I started reading this book quite excited after reading This Is Going To Hurt written by Adam Kay. But unfortunately felt misled by the title, I thought i was going to read the memoir of a junior Doctor, not a Political activist. Too much of this book was focused on the political issues with the NHS and Jeremy Hunt. As I’ve said I feel the title and branding of the book is misleading so I would only recommend this to those interested in the political side of the NHS. Personally I wanted more story’s of everyday life of a junior doctor which the title and blurb lead me to believe the book contained. Unfortunately I felt the book is more of a personal attack on the NHS leadership and the then current health secretary Jeremy Hunt. It’s not all bad though, some of the few story’s in the book were moving and interesting some even made me chuckle. This is the only redeeming thing I can think of. In conclusion I feel the book is lucky to get the three stars I’ve given it. I will not be reading this again. Thanks everyone for reading this review!
    more
  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliantly written(the author was a journalist before a Dr) and frightening but starkly true picture of the NHS. This is echoed by 2018 TV programmes like 'Ambulance' and 'Hospital' as well as friends working in high pressurised NHS environments where firefighting is all they are managing to do. Whilst it is true that the NHS was not created to deal with the wide range of treatments that are now available, and there are areas of waste, for example in the administration of prescription medicin A brilliantly written(the author was a journalist before a Dr) and frightening but starkly true picture of the NHS. This is echoed by 2018 TV programmes like 'Ambulance' and 'Hospital' as well as friends working in high pressurised NHS environments where firefighting is all they are managing to do. Whilst it is true that the NHS was not created to deal with the wide range of treatments that are now available, and there are areas of waste, for example in the administration of prescription medicines, society and governments surely need to evolve to alleviate the problems. Something needs to be done.
    more
  • Samantha Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Henry Marsh's "Do No Harm" and Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air" so I really hoped this wouldn't disappoint - and it certainly didn't. All of the fear, wonder, pain and joy of medicine are in the book. The author was a journalist before she became a doctor and this shows. There is amazing attention to the details that bring alive what it's really like to be there in the hospital at 4am. It's also a calm but powerful attack on the NHS cuts that may end up destroying our health se I loved Henry Marsh's "Do No Harm" and Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air" so I really hoped this wouldn't disappoint - and it certainly didn't. All of the fear, wonder, pain and joy of medicine are in the book. The author was a journalist before she became a doctor and this shows. There is amazing attention to the details that bring alive what it's really like to be there in the hospital at 4am. It's also a calm but powerful attack on the NHS cuts that may end up destroying our health service. Loved it.
    more
  • Madeleine Black
    January 1, 1970
    I had so many mixed emotions reading this book which made me both cry and smile. This is a heart-rending honest account of what it really means to be a junior hospital doctor working in the NHS. I knew Doctors/nurses were stretched and understaffed but my eyes were opened even more. What came through so strongly thoughout the book was Rachel's unwavering compassion and commitment for her world of medicine and her patients
    more
  • Mo
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book which served its purpose well drawing attention to duplicitous politicians and the harm that can be done by hospital trust administrators who are neither medically qualified nor scientifically savvy. Mood rousing rather than statistic packed but with many potent anecdotes taken from the personal experience of the author.
    more
  • Zoe (readabilitea)
    January 1, 1970
    A very powerful read about the NHS - highly informative, persuasive and emotional. A bit repetitive in places but it made me want to work for the NHS which no other thing has ever achieved so a worthy start to 2018
  • Scott Vine
    January 1, 1970
    Great read about life in the NHS, and one I could readily identify with being the partner of an NHS nurse.
  • Jessica Hinton
    January 1, 1970
    It feels so very fitting that I am writing this book today, on the day that our most sacred of all institutions, the NHS, turns 70. I, like many of us, feel incredibly passionate about this stalwart of British life. That no matter who you are or what your income, Health care is free for ALL at the point of service. It's something to be incredibly proud of. But you can be proud of something, whilst still acknowledging that it is slowly, inexorably, being broken apart.In this book, Clarke tells th It feels so very fitting that I am writing this book today, on the day that our most sacred of all institutions, the NHS, turns 70. I, like many of us, feel incredibly passionate about this stalwart of British life. That no matter who you are or what your income, Health care is free for ALL at the point of service. It's something to be incredibly proud of. But you can be proud of something, whilst still acknowledging that it is slowly, inexorably, being broken apart.In this book, Clarke tells the other side of the political situation that led to the Junior Doctors strikes in 2016. As she quite rightly identifies, you might have been confused about the messages that were spread in the media - about how Hunt planned to move us to a '7 day NHS'. Somehow, in amongst all the spin, the government managed to make this out to be an issue about overtime pay, and not that, simply, WE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH DOCTORS TO SPREAD OVER 7 DAYS.There are 2 sides to every story, yes, but when given the choice of choosing to believe either our Doctors and Health Professionals; who have put their lives on hold to train for more years than most of us can even fathom, who have sacrificed so much because of the harsh working hours and conditions that the job demands, who do it all to be paid what is actually a pretty basic salary (let's face it, you don't go into medicine for the money).... when given the choice between listening to them, or to Jeremy Hunt? I know who I believe any day of the week. Let's remember these are people that work 70-80 hour weeks without blinking an eye. They choose to be in a job where they sometimes have to deliver the most heartbreaking news to people. They deal with life and death on a daily basis. Did we really think they went on strike for the first time ever over a quibble about overtime...? Clarke expertly brings to life exactly what it is really like to work on the NHS front line. Another book I recently read, also about working in the NHS (This is going to hurt - Adam Kay) did the same, albeit with quite a lot more humorous anecdotes. There is much less light relief in 'Your life in my hands' but it is equally excellent and equally compelling. She writes with passion and sometimes with desperation about the situation she found herself in, and ultimately why she felt she had to play such an instrumental part in the Junior Doctors campaign. The stories she tells are both powerful and humbling and had me constantly marveling that anyone could work with such compassion and integrity under these circumstances. And I think that's partly the problem, we just don't want to believe that things could possibly get so bad.This is absolutely not an easy read. It made me feel anxious. Anxious for what the future holds for our health service and for how long it can possibly be stretched, before it finally snaps. It made me angry to read about the wilful manipulation of facts and figures the government publicised to try to get public opinion on their side. But it also made me feel positive. Positive about the people on the front line that work themselves to the bone to provide this service, despite all the best efforts of the current government. (I have to leave aside the fact that Brexit will only make it harder for many of the passionate, incredible health professionals from abroad to work in the NHS. Because it will. And we don't have enough home grown Doctors to fill these vacancies. The sums don't add up. But I would be writing this all night if I did let myself go into it...)This is an excellent book. It feels more like a 'Call to action' than a book. You will finish reading it and ask yourself ' What can we do to protect the NHS and those that work in it'.(P.S - As a side note, I spent just over a year working in an administrative team as part of the Medical School at the University of East Anglia. I often caught myself meeting first year medical students and thinking to myself, 'You probably have about another 10 years before you will qualify fully in whatever specialism you end up in'. And I just couldn't imagine feeling that committed to something that you could start such a long journey. Somehow there are still young, passionate, compassionate people that want to join the profession. But not enough. I took my hat off to them then. I still do.)Read more reviews and ramblings at Hintonhitsthebooks.wixsite.com/blog
    more
  • Salman Tariq
    January 1, 1970
    “Have you ever killed a patient,” my senior asked me once.It might give goose bumps to readers, for us, it was normal talk which meant “ has ever patient slipped from your hands”The most dismal last experience was total antibiotic resistance to a patient who was on death roller coaster, he died drowning in his own lungs, he slipped from my hands. One shall not worry , there are countless other ways to die in hospital , lack of resources and “peanuts budget” to massive health care problems might “Have you ever killed a patient,” my senior asked me once.It might give goose bumps to readers, for us, it was normal talk which meant “ has ever patient slipped from your hands”The most dismal last experience was total antibiotic resistance to a patient who was on death roller coaster, he died drowning in his own lungs, he slipped from my hands. One shall not worry , there are countless other ways to die in hospital , lack of resources and “peanuts budget” to massive health care problems might be helpful to death.This book has touch of such experiences plus it accounts how doctors think or work in overburdened hospitals. These incidents overlap with on and off critique to Jeremy hunt myopic vision about Health care system in England. In detail that is not complex to an ordinary reader, one can understand from doctors’ perspective how public is misguided through media. The major event of junior doctor strike covers negative role of media and public regards for doctors. On one incident patients came out to join the hands with doctors in the strike. National Health Service UK is on brink of falling apart yet non-health care personals are made to govern the system that further aggravates the misery of understaffed departments. At times writer is over repetitive. Her first day on duty is a little emotionally exaggerated experience but that I might be gender biased about that.World has paranoia for military complexes , I wish if they had for hospitals. It is a must read for doctors who want to settle in UK in future.
    more
  • Lexy
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know whether this was marketed wrong or I just didn’t get it, but I thought this would be a book about a junior doctors experiences in medicine. It turned out to be a political rant about the NHS with some experiences scattered throughout, most of which were included in order to illustrate a point rather than inform the reader. I feel like I know a lot more about the NHS and the risks and pressures it faces, and there’s nothing wrong with writing a book about that. I just feel like this I don’t know whether this was marketed wrong or I just didn’t get it, but I thought this would be a book about a junior doctors experiences in medicine. It turned out to be a political rant about the NHS with some experiences scattered throughout, most of which were included in order to illustrate a point rather than inform the reader. I feel like I know a lot more about the NHS and the risks and pressures it faces, and there’s nothing wrong with writing a book about that. I just feel like this was packaged as one thing and ended up being something completely different.
    more
  • Nichola Ní Mhuraláin
    January 1, 1970
    Too much politics for me - the first one of these books I have struggled to enjoy.
  • Sian Bradshaw
    January 1, 1970
    This is not a happy book. It's not a book of cheery anecdotes. What it is, is an indictment of the current Government, and what it has done to the junior doctor. It is worth reading but it will leave you working out if you can afford private healthcare and wondering how we let it get this bad.
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Heartbreaking. The NHS urgently needs to be properly funded. Full review coming soon.Full review:Your Life In My Hands is incredibly moving and absolutely gripping. It describes Rachel Clarke's experiences as a junior doctor before eventually leaving the NHS to work in hospice care after being worn down by the consistent demands of the job. It's a book with an agenda, and there's nothing wrong with that. Clarke continually emphasises how the underfunding of our health service, especially since 2 Heartbreaking. The NHS urgently needs to be properly funded. Full review coming soon.Full review:Your Life In My Hands is incredibly moving and absolutely gripping. It describes Rachel Clarke's experiences as a junior doctor before eventually leaving the NHS to work in hospice care after being worn down by the consistent demands of the job. It's a book with an agenda, and there's nothing wrong with that. Clarke continually emphasises how the underfunding of our health service, especially since 2010, has led to the unnecessary suffering of patients and staff, and threatens the NHS's ability to provide quality care. In this, it reflects similar concerns to recent TV series such as Hospital, which also highlighted systemic problems such as operating theatres standing empty because there are not enough beds for patients leaving theatre (remembering that here 'bed' does not simply mean a literal bed but the equipment and staff required to ensure that patient is cared for properly). Clarke describes her personal experience of the junior doctors' strike, and reminds us once again of how much more complex that dispute was than we were led to believe by the press.Your Life in My Hands has been marketed as another memoir along the lines of Henry Marsh's Do No Harm, but this is a very different kind of book. Clarke's prose is not as elegant as Marsh's, but she makes up for that with her ability to clearly describe tangled issues of medical management and to continually put forward cogent arguments about the need for a radical shift in the system. Although the book is at least partly about her career, I never felt that she was trying to self-justify or self-aggrandise. She uses her personal experience to illuminate this now unhappily familiar story. I was saddened by some of her comments about her family life - especially the familiar calculation that her salary doesn't cover the childcare, rather than considering childcare as a cost that should be 'deducted' from the salaries of both herself and her husband - but these largely functioned to illustrate the very difficult situation of junior doctors.I very rarely describe anything as a must-read, but I do feel that the more people who read this important book, the better.I was given a free proof copy of this book by the publisher via the Amazon Vine Programme.
    more
  • Regina Cattus
    January 1, 1970
    As a young person looking to work in the NHS, this book was both fascinating and terrifying. I'd never realised the full complexity behind the Junior Doctor's strike. It's somewhat daunting to think that this politically embroiled, ailing and genuinely depressing - though nonetheless still something to be proud of for its core principles - could one day be my workplace. I'm not put off, exactly, but I would now feel more guilty about going abroad to practice!
    more
Write a review