Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story. Gabriel Weston
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Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story. Gabriel Weston

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Surgeons have long been known for their allergy to doubt, an unsurprising trait in professionals who must play God, routinely risking someone else's life to do their job. But in this illuminating memoir, Gabriel Weston reveals the emotions, passions, and doubts normally hidden behind a surgeon's mask.

Interweaving her own story with those of her patients, old and young, Wes...more
Published January 1st 2010 by Vintage Books USA (first published February 1st 2009)
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This book was very interesting and had a great hook. However it just wasn't fascinating. Let me explain a little bit about what I mean. The concept of how a doctor becomes a surgeon and the things they have to do, see, hear and feel was interesting. However actually reading about it just wasn't real fascinating. It took me about a week and a half to read it while I was reading other books because it just wasn't a great read. It was a very average book. Instead of telling her travails in order, s...more
This book should be read by all trainee doctors, especially the female ones. It is well written and very readable, with explanations of complex proceedures clear enough for anyone to understand, and is sprinkled with surprising but apt similes and quotes from many types of literature. Her compassion and understanding for her patients is evident throughout. But mainly it should be read because the author has articulated topics that are not covered well elsewhere in medical training- the difficult...more
Derek Emerson
The beauty of internal organs sliced open, the obsession with neatness surrounding an operating room, and the hypnotic and amplified sounds of paramedics rushing into a hospital. These could be elements in a horror novel featuring a sadistic surgeon, or they could be Gabriel Weston's descriptions of her foray into the surgical world.

Weston is a British surgeon who now works part time as an ear, nose, and throat surgical specialist, and her book offers a fascinating look into a world seen by few....more
This book sounded better in the previews than it actually was, perhaps because the author is an Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon and there's not a lot of high drama in that. Also, she is a British surgeon and the medical practices there are a bit different than here in the USA. The time the stories in this book occurred is not specified, perhaps because many of the details were generalized or fabricated to protect the anonymity of her patients, but the stories were interesting nonetheless.
I don't f...more
DIRECT RED is a memoir of sorts about an English surgeon's experiences in the job. It's organized not chronologically, but by theme - Beauty, Death, Emergencies, etc.

What I liked most about this book was seeing the fear of failure that Weston had as a surgeon. (In my job, I might fear screwing up, but if I do no one gets hurt.) Interestingly, the fear seemed to mostly mostly a fear of losing face rather than accidentally cutting an artery or something.

I also appreciated the insight into why su...more
Paul Pessolano
"Direct Red" is the story of Gabriel Weston. Gabriel is an English surgeon and she gives insight into the life of a surgeon. Although classified as fiction, the stories are true, with the exception of names.

Gabriel gives the reader an unusual look at the daily life of a surgeon. This is unusual in that Gabriel gives us a look at the daily decisions that have to be made prior to an operation and those that have to be made immediately. Not all cases will present a life and death situation, but the...more
Snagged this bad boy on post Christmas clearance from Barnes & Noble online, and as with most books I get from their website I'm just kind of taking a chance and hoping I like the outcome. Luckily, this was one of the times I did! It's a pretty self explanatory book, from the subtitle alone, but Weston writes like a writer and not like what I imagine a surgeon writes like. Perhaps it is because she comes from an English under grad degree, but for whatever reason, I enjoy it. My one problem w...more
What I liked about it: Everything. This might be the perfect book. But if I have to name a standout reason for loving it, it would have to be her ruthless takedown of the medical establishment, from the rigid hierarchy of the daily surgical meetings, in which residents are lined up according to seniority behind their department heads and routinely criticised for admitting too many patients, to her first night in general surgical residency, when a woman who was shot in a nightclub bleeds out in t...more
Direct Red begins with a surgeon suppressing nausea — her own. She’s holding open someone’s neck, and she’s not sure she’ll maintain her composure. To cope, she focuses on re-objectifying the body in front of her: She mentally recites the coloured dyes from her anatomy slides, trying to change the flesh and bone in front of her from someone’s body into the universal, abstracted body of her textbooks and training. Relief arrives, the incident only a brief lapse in her professionalism and one that...more
Nicola Smith
A very real account of life as a surgeon. I was impressed by the honesty she displayed when talking about her feelings and attitudes, especially when they weren't the "right" thing to be feeling or thinking. It clearly demonstrated the difficulties in medicine that training cannot necessarily prepare you for and only experience can teach. Myself a final year medical student, a lot of the writer's experiences rang true and it was reassuring to know that the dilemmas I face are not dissimilar to t...more
Shonna Froebel
This is not a memoir done in a chronological style. Weston uses a themed approach, with each chapter focusing on a particular aspect of her experience while training as a surgeon in Britain.
I found this to be extremely engaging and an approach that leads the reader into dipping in and out of the book in short sessions.
She speaks of her own learning experiences including when she felt she fell short and she also takes about more general experiences including her own view among her peers. This is...more
Holly Lee (Bellas Novella)
First and foremost, I love medical memoirs. The stories are interesting and exciting, because most situations are life and death when it comes to the medical field. If you like medical memoirs I would suggest Another Day in the Frontal Lobe: A Brain Surgeon Exposes Life on the Inside. Its the same idea as Direct Red, but better executed. Katrina Firlik's novel features each chapter having its own story, but it still plays into the general story of the book. Direct Red reads more like a collectio...more
A poignant, frightening, adjective-filled book of fragmentary moments in the life of a female surgical trainee, as she moves through medical and surgical specialties on her way to sub-specialisation. She shines a light on the darker moments of medicine/surgery and the cruelty the career seeks to place on its participants. Her rushed ending, hinting at her choice of life over work, is perhaps the most interesting essay. Sadly, it only hints.

I would recommend this book for those who are in medica...more
Frankly, lent to me by my son, I didn't know what it expect other than it being a quick read that could bolster my 2013 Reading Challenge. But. It was pretty good. I enjoyed learning more about the process doctors go through to become surgeons albeit within the British system.

A word of warning ... MANY squick-worthy parts so if you're at all squeamish might wanna give this one a pass.

And my only real beef was the quick change of POV in the final chapter ... like an editor had hacked away half t...more
I have just finished reading Direct Red and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am in no way connected to the medical profession and found the insight fascinating. It follows Gabriel's progress through training and acting as a surgeon.
A patient will never know what their doctor is really thinking or feeling at any point during treatment and this book provides an insight. The book is very well written and some of the situations are extremely comical, whilst others are very thought provoking and heart wrench...more
Sarah Cubitt
I really liked this book. I'm a doctor myself & so could relate very much to the anecdotes. It was lovely to learn that these things didn't just happen to me.
The stories are in bites just the right size and well-told. I could often picture both her colleagues and the patients & they made me laugh or feel angry or sad.
I think whether you are related to medicine in any way or not, there will be something that you take away from this book, even it us just thinking about how your doctor may...more
There should be made compulsory for those who wanted to pursue in medical or any health care profession to be well-informed or have a written consent before they started their med-school. I'm sure that this book is one of them.

Some might have been drawn in by tv series about doctors life (which probably did each and every doctor wannabe would have kept all the episodes), but does it really shows what does real one really think of?

A personal view well written by a surgeon (intern and attending),...more
Petra X aka Bubbles
Gritty story by a junior surgeon of what its really like working in the operating theatre in particular and hospital in general. Sort of analagous to office politics with real knives and plenty of gore, venom and the occasional sly romance. The author can look forward to a great career in writing chicklit if the medical world gets all too much for her.

Thoroughly enjoyable and recommended to lovers of tv medical soap operas as well as those who are addicted to medical memoirs.
Nov 25, 2011 Eimad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: medical student
Shelves: biografi
A biography of a surgeon.well frankly just a little of doctor that can write this well.It is a good thing the author once studied English Literature.This book does not really focus on medical view but more to emotional view of a doctor.We tend to ignore that doctor is a human too and we demand a perfect surgery and else but this author told me how this world are.Are doctor a savior or an executioner?read it and find it yourself.
Taucha Gretzinger
I admit, I expected a book written by a surgeon to be kind of dry and systematic, but a book written by a surgeon with an English degree is something else entirely. I think what I appreciated most is that she didn't try to make this the memoir of a scalpel welding hero. She was honest about her strengths, ignorance, and arrogance. That takes more courage than just writing about your gold-star achievements.
Kim Le
Gabriel Weston is a surgeon that gives insight into the world of medicine. The book organization is not chronological but based on theme instead. I loved the fact it was wrote in that style, simply because It was easier to depict her message on each subject she listed.

I gave it a three star because I got disengaged and starting forcing myself to finish it.
What was most interesting about this book was how/why the author gave up her fast-track surgery career. What comes clear in the writing is the submissive relationship she seemed to have to her career in the first place.

Also some insight into how doctors need/want to think, and how the hospital system impacts how they do their work.
Cindy Smith
I liked the premise and outline of the book, but the content and writing didn't win me over. partly because for this author, surgery is first, career is second, she is third, and it seems as if her patients and family are tied for last. granted, surgeons aren't known to be warm fuzzy docs, but....
I loved this book. It was a facinating look at medicine and surgery, specifically, from the inside. You get to go into her brain and hear her human thoughts colide with her work ones. She writes each chapter by topic and just opened my eyes to how a surgeon looks at a patient. I loved the whole thing.
Very straightforward, clear writing not only about what it is to be a surgeon (or trying to be a surgeon) but also what it is to be a woman in predominately male work place. She writes as I assume she would cut, cleanly, in straight lines, without avoiding the uncomfortable issues or feelings.
Hazel McHaffie
I've been wanting to read this for ages but it was too expensive until recently. I read it this week while travelling - a slim volume that's finished in a few hours. It resonated with me because I've spent so much of my life in hospitals. And I liked Weston's humility and honesty.
Sarah Smith
I just thought this book was fascinating! Especially how surgeons are expected to immediately deal with nudity, death, etc. without any training. I loved the ending as well - what is truly important in life? Being the savior of strangers or the savior of your own family?
A surgeon's memoir (somewhat fictionalized to protect identities and compress incidents). She is very, brutally honest about her reactions to situations, like when she is unsympathetic or impatient. It's very much a memoir, and I find I prefer a book with more clinical details.
I really liked this book: it contained pertinent, interesting stories about surgery and medicine. I had already read it before, but this time it left a bigger impact on me, which just shows the same book can have different effects depending on the time I'm reading it.
Eh. Not so much about surgeons - Gabriel Weston is British, so the book ended up being more about her experiences with 'public' versus 'private' hospitals. And I wasn't happy with her reasons for leaving what she considered to be A GREAT SURGEON to be a MOM/SURGEON.
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