I made the mistake of reading this while I was on call. And yes, I do work in a hospital. While my experience of working 24/7 was not quite as bad as the unnamed doctor, there are a lot of things that ring true in this book. Written in conjunction with numerous hospital staff, this book tells the story of a truly horrible 24 hours in the Emergency Department. While all of these things do happen, hopefully they don’t happen in a single (double) shift.
This book is incredibly funny and yet incredibly sad. From the propofol and sux (suxamethonium, both anaesthetics) races – wrong, but oh so funny to the nurses hiding the chocolates, this will have you laughing and crying. People really do take up residence in the ED waiting room, the place usually has several drunks sleeping it off and others do shoot up just outside. There are also the traumas that just cannot be saved and the unexpected deaths when it all looked so medically simple.
The book also catches the feelings of the staff – from feeling useless at a trauma, exhilaration after a successful resuscitation and annoyance at the abuse of the system as well as the ‘four hour rule’ (i.e. in and out of ED in four hours or less, it’s the source of a lot of talk currently in Australia). I don’t know if some of the sexual things go down but the tiredness and the snaffling of food, any food is all real.
This is a great look at what goes on in the ED from the doctor’s perspective – it is moving and funny. The procedures are explained simply (and correctly, one of my issues with some fiction books) and it’s a light, quick read.
My only issue was that my ebook copy has a big black blank for the cover, disappointing as the cover is pretty good.
Read this if: you’re after an insider’s perspective on life in the ED without actually having to work there.
9 out of 10.