While there’s been a sharp rise in the number of ‘medical memoirs’ on our shelves recently, Seven Signs of Life is so much more than that. Filled with warmth, compassion and a recognisably Irish turn of phrase, these fascinating stories from a NHS intensive care doctor are in equal parts enlightening, hard-hitting and poignant. Aoife Abbey has a gift, as both a writer and a doctor, and I would recommend her book to everyone in a heartbeat.
Recommended by Caoilfhionn Fay, Head Office
Grief. Anger. Joy. Fear. Distraction. Disgust. Hope. All emotions we expect to encounter over our lifetime.
But what if this was every day? And what if your ability to manage them was the difference between life and death?
For a doctor in Intensive Care this is part of the job. Fear in the eyes of a terminally ill patient who pleads with you to not let them die. Grief when you make a potentially fatal mistake. Disgust at caring for a convicted rapist. But there are also moments of joy, like the rare bright spots of lucidity for a dementia patient, or when the ward unexpectedly breaks into song.
Dr Aoife Abbey shows us what a doctor sees of humanity as it comes through the revolving door of the hospital and takes us beyond a purely medical perspective. Told through seven emotions, Seven Signs of Life is about what it means to be alive and how it feels to care for a living.