At seven months pregnant, intensive care doctor Rana Awdish suffered a catastrophic medical event, haemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life in her own hospital, enduring multiple major surgeries and a series of organ failures.
Every step of the way, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected and shocking than her battle to survive: her fellow doctors’ inability to see and acknowledge the pain of loss and human suffering, the result of a self-protective barrier hard-wired in medical training.
In Shock is Rana Awdish's searing account of her extraordinary journey from doctor to patient, during which she sees for the first time the dysfunction of her profession’s disconnection from patients and the flaws in her own past practice as a doctor. Shatteringly personal yet wholly universal, it is both a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness and a call to arms for doctors to see each patient not as a diagnosis but as a human being.
About the Author
Dr Rana Awdish is an intensive care doctor and the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Programme at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Dr Awdish's mandate is to improve the patient experience across the system and speak on patient advocacy at health care venues across the US. She lectures to physicians, health care leaders and medical schools across the country. She was awarded the Speak-Up Hero award in 2014 for her work on improving communication in medicine, and was named Henry Ford Hospital's Critical Care Teacher of the Year 2016.
"Outstanding... What marks it out is not the scale or urgency of the trauma, although I read the first chapters at such a pace that I almost had to remind myself to breathe. It is the writing. It sparks and crackles with a dark energy... The writing is not just intense, but intelligent... In Shock stands above other patient memoirs." -- James McConnachie * The Sunday Times *
"Tense, powerful and gripping... her writing style is often nothing short of beautiful - evocative and emotional." -- Adam Kay * The Observer *
"In Shock is both an enthralling page-turner and a haunting call to arms for the medical profession to practice with greater kindness, compassion and humility. Awdish captures beautifully how and why doctors, against our best selves, can lose sight of our patients in furious pursuit of the diagnosis, the save, the cure. Anyone - doctor or otherwise - whose life has been touched by illness will be transfixed by this deeply moving tale of catastrophic illness and everything it teaches us." -- Rachel Clarke, author of Your Life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor's Story
"Awdish looks at the way we practice medicine with a combination of love and outrage. She writes beautifully about the secret, shameful feelings many doctors feel they have to hide and she shows us how we might do better. After reading this book, I feel like a different doctor." -- Gabriel Weston, author of Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story
"A brave, powerful memoir about what it is like to be both a doctor and a patient... There is a widsom that literally comes from suffering." * The Times *
"There are few recent books to compare it to. Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air, another physician's account of illness, ended with his death. Awdish lives to tell the tale, but her cascade of medical problems is appallingly severe. Like [Adam] Kay's, her writing is motivated by trauma, both her own and that of her medical colleagues...The dramatic story of her illness and recovery alone would make the book compelling, but in the growing genre of medical non-fiction, it is her reflections on medical practice that really stand out." -- Dr Alexander Van Tulleken * TLS *
"Compelling and insightful, this story of what a doctor learns through coming close to death is packed with both action and reflection." * Cathy Rentzenbrink, bestselling author of The Last Act of Love *
"Urgent and supremely eloquent... In Shock is a book to set alongside the likes of Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, Direct Red by Gabriel Weston and, of course, Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air." -- Caroline Sanderson * The Bookseller *
"An extraordinary memoir." * Daily Mail *
"Awdish describes her experiences powerfully... In Shock is a reminder that the sick are not subhuman, doctors are not superhuman, and that medicine needs to be human in order to truly heal." -- Sarah Ditum * Mail on Sunday *
"In Shock is a notable, ambitious and welcome contribution to an emerging dialogue concerning the quality and orientation of acute hospital care." -- Paul D'Alton * Irish Times *
"Awdish's book is the one I wished we were given as assigned reading our first year of medical school, alongside our white coats and stethoscopes ... dramatic, engaging and instructive." * New York Times *
"Harrowing and enlightening... This is a story of darkness and light, horror and hope. It's not an easy read, but it is a fascinating one, and highly recommended." * The Sunday Business Post *
"Had me hooked right from the start. Incredible story, and even more incredible story-telling... has had an unexpected impact on me and will change the way I practice medicine from here on." * Dr Ranj Singh *
"A compassionate and critical look at medicine and illness from both a doctor's and a patient's perspective... Awdish has written a unique and insightful memoir." * Publishers Weekly *