Life and death in a modern hospital, from 'poet-physician' Seamus O'Mahony, the award-winning author of The Way We Die Now and Can Medicine Be Cured?
Seamus O'Mahony charts the realities of work in the 'ministry of bodies', that huge complex where people come to be cured and to die. From unexpected deaths to moral quandaries and bureaucratic disasters, O'Mahony documents life in the halls and wards that all of us will visit at some point in our lives with his characteristic wit and dry and unsentimental intelligence.
Absurd general emails, vain and self-promoting specialists, the relentless parade of self-destructive drinkers and drug users, the comical expectations of baffled patients: this is not a conventional medical memoir, but the collective biography of one of our great modern institutions - the general hospital - through the eyes of a brilliant writer, who happens to be a gifted doctor.
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I enjoyed the voice. Listening was more like viewing a series of photographs than reading a single narrative. It was an interesting mixture of humor and grief. I will probably listen to it again. It may have stronger appeal and be more relatable to those us who work in hospitals because many hidden understandings were left unsaid.
A good read but contrary to popular opinion, I found the author quite condescending and seemed to feel above many of his patient, such as the alcoholic woman who's disease he used, to mock the employers in a clinic who were 'dumb enough to hire someone like her'. We could all be 'her' at a stage in our lives. Her illness was due to a disease, happens to intelligent people too. Also to point out the pharmacm rep who winked vulgarly (how on earth does one wink vulgarly?) at a doctor... How dare she, a meer employee of a pharmaceutical company do such a thing.
I have read many medical biographies, Stephen Westaby and Henry Marsh' being far before this one. They were reflective, brutally honest and critical of themselves at times. This was a critique of people in a position of powerlessness, for the most part, being mocked by a consultant physician. To add, I'm Irish and I understand Irish humour and sarcasm. This was neither.
I really don't understand the rave reviews for this.