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Book Review: In Stitches – The highs and lows of being an A&E doctor by Dr Nick Edwards


After discovering his very kind review of my book in the Nursing Standard I felt duty bound to purchase and read Dr Nick Edward’s book in return.

I don’t normally read books of the medical genre because:

a) I live and breathe medical type issues for the day job and I usually prefer to read Italian fiction and in particular Italian crime fiction as a form of escapism.

b) I worry that these books will influence my ‘unique’ writing style.

c) I worry even more that they will make me realise how pale my efforts were in comparison and then I’ll be forced to seek out more Pinot Grigio than usual to drown my sorrows.

However, I really enjoyed the book and found his writing style very engaging. He comes across as a genuinely nice guy; not only the type of doctor that I would like to work alongside and perhaps be mentored by (if you’re reading this Dr Nick – please take note), but also the type of doctor who I would like myself or my family to be treated by should we ever require the service of an Emergency Department – although perhaps that important fact should have been said first…

Dr Nick Edwards is a non de plume and if I’m honest, I rather envy those who write under a pen name.  How wonderful to have that freedom of speech, confident in the knowledge that your true identity will remain secret, leaving you free to tackle with gay abandon some of the meatier issues without recourse – I’m far too much of a coward to be controversial while writing in my own name.

Jealousy put aside, I found it to be a well written, interesting, funny and easy to read collection of stories. All the elements one would expect to find in a book of this genre are played out. Tales of happiness and heartbreak, integrity and ignorance are peppered with insightful observations on the behaviours of the NHS, patients and other members of staff. Dr Edwards manages to illustrate perfectly how government policy has had its impact over the years – sadly not always for the benefit of the patient (in fact it was within those observations where I found most of the heart breaking and ignorant elements).

Dr Edwards and I may work within different professions, but I found his thoughts and experiences often echoed many of my own. As a paramedic, I was pleased to note that he referred very positively to the ambulance crews that he dealt with. Initially however, I was left wondering where in the country he worked, because it appeared that whenever a patient was brought in by an ambulance crew they never seemed to have had any paramedic interventions performed. For example, when cardiac arrest and trauma patients were brought in, it was Dr Edwards who tubed them, gave analgesia, Narcan and put in lines/IOs etc as paramedics stood impotently by. I should have thought that patients who were coming in by ambulance would have these bits already done – surely this couldn’t be happening in London? This started to bug me and so I asked Dr Edwards about my observation. In his reply he pointed out that a lot of the tales in his book were pulled from times gone by, since then the number of paramedics has risen and the amount of pre-hospital interventions gone up massively. From a personal point of view while I would have liked to see the full gamut of skills that paramedics use reflected in the book – obviously this should never be at the expense of historical accuracy!

In summary: A great read that will interest health care professionals and lay folk alike, highly recommended.

(Click here to see the book on Amazon.co.uk)


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