Dr. Rana Awdish never imagined that an emergency trip to the hospital would result in hemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. But after her first visit, Dr. Awdish spent months fighting for her life, enduring consecutive major surgeries and experiencing multiple overlapping organ failures. At each step of the recovery process, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected: repeated cavalier behaviour from her fellow physicians–indifference following human loss, disregard for anguish and suffering, and an exacting emotional distance.
The author comes to understand the fatal flaws in her profession and in her own past actions as a physician while achieving, through unflinching presence, a crystalline vision of a new and better possibility for us all.
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication date: October 24th 2017
I was first attracted to this book because it was written by a doctor. I thought it may have been about a doctor who had had a near death experience (I read a book like this a few years ago), what I was greeted with so much more. This was a slow to start book but well worth persevering with as the story contained within its pages is very powerful and at times gut-wrenching. However, it also showcases Dr Awdish’s own personal development and growth through an extremely harrowing time for her and her family. It also opened her eyes to how, at least at her own hospital (the story is set in America), impersonal the medical profession is. Her discovery of this as a patient herself led to her being a pioneer for change whereby the patients were treated as human beings and not an illness or surgery that needed performing.
Dr Awdish being a change pioneer though was only part of the story. A big part of the story was really about learning to make her own voice heard in spite of how much pain she was in. The description of her horrific trauma and the toll that that put on not only herself but also her husband and wider family unit, tugged at the heart strings. More than that though, it showed Awdish deal with the ramifications of a misdiagnosis of her initial symptoms, to eventually finding out what really was the problem and getting that rectified, to having her second child (she lost her first one as a result of the severe trauma suffered through her blood loss). This is a story of triumph, positive change where it was needed most, and finding your voice so that you can be heard instead of depending on others to speak up for you because you’re physically unable to do so.
Recommend for: Adults