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Your Life In My Hands - a Junior Doctor's Story

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,357 ratings  ·  139 reviews

'I am a junior doctor. It is 4 a.m. I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.'

How does it feel to be spat out of medicalharm.'

How

...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 13th 2017 by Metro
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,357 ratings  ·  139 reviews


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P-eggy
Politics: poly - many, ticks - nasty blood-sucking little insects. The title and blurb promise the story of a new doctor's experience of being responsible for emergency patients, making life and death decisions. But after a few interesting chapters to build up identification and empathy with this young doctor, she gets going with her polemical memoir.

The blurb is a cynical come-on by a left-wing activist to gain sympathy for her political position and to no doubt gain votes for the Labour party
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Sara
This struck a cord with me on a personal level as I'm currently an allied health professional working within the NHS on the 'frontline', and I've also recently been on the other side of care as an inpatient myself.

Rachel Clarke writes passionately about the recent doctors strike and the political incorrectness surrounding a floundering NHS. She cares deeply about patient care and the fight to save the NHS, as do all of us who work within it. I've striked myself - and believe me we never did it
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Laura
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star
A searingly honest account of life on the frontline of the NHS in modern times. Perhaps I'm biased because I am a nurse (although I did elect to leave the NHS earlier this year for reasons not dissimilar to those documented here) but I thought this was a brilliantly articulate book. The author does not shy away from the cold hard facts of modern medicine, in fact she relishes in telling the readers how it actually is.

Much of the book is dedicated to the junior doctor strike era of late 2016 and
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Rebecca
(2.5) I was expecting a fairly straightforward memoir of a doctor’s education and practice, à la Henry Marsh, but really this is more of a polemic against Jeremy Hunt’s policies for the NHS. The system is already underfunded and doctors, especially trainees, are already overworked and underslept, Clarke argues, yet the government wanted to force juniors to work more weekend hours too. She went to the press and was active in the campaign against the proposed new contracts. Ultimately this is more abou ...more
Shirley Revill
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical, audiobook, doctor
A very well written account of what it's like to be on the frontline in the NHS and it's quite a harrowing story.
Thank goodness for the angels in the NHS who are doing there best to help save lives and ease the suffering of many.
Underpaid, overworked, undervalued by the Jeremy Hunt's of this world and still they stay helping others in this stressful job.
Thank goodness there are people like this who work all hours to help the dying and the sick.
This book made me reach for
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Adam Yates
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many excellent medical memoirs have made their way onto bookshelves of late (Do No Harm, Being Mortal) and this is an addition to that worthy list. This is frontline medicine rather than grumpy surgeons or hospice philosophy. This is the face of the NHS that some of us have unfortunately witnessed.

On a day when the government hands over £1bn to the Northern Irish for help pushing bills through the House of Commons, spare a thought for doctors and nurses who save lives on minimal rest
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Beth Bonini
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
"Cancer, heart attacks, car crashes, brain damage - we know the bolts from the blue are out there, we just never believe it is us they will strike. Perhaps it is only when you or your family are smitten that you fully appreciate - with relief and gratitude - that the NHS is there, ready and willing to scoop up your loved one and put them back together again, without a punitive bill attached."

Rachel Clarke - NHS doctor, former journalist, mother, daughter, wife - has written a powerfu
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Michelle Keill
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
As I was about to be wheeled in for an life-saving operation on my lung, my surgeon stopped by to see me, as surgeons do, to explain the procedure and ask if I had any questions. After asking him not to kill me, I expressed concern about my recovery (my mother had had to have drain in her lung when she was ill and had been agony), and also that, if all went well and he had not indeed killed me, I was due to be discharged on a Saturday. Again, having been through various dramas during my mum's il ...more
Mared Owen
Apr 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Mixed feelings about this one. Think the problem was the writing style and the author, and not the actual message. Although I do recognise that its angry tone is completely justified, it would have been nice to see more constructive criticism instead of just scathing criticism. A polemic such as this one would be more effective if the author gave her suggestions for a better future rather than just rant about the past and present. Nevertheless, this is an incredibly important book that the entir ...more
Wendy Greenberg
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Telling it as it is. A brave decision and presented with the clarity of a well researched journalist with the dedication & soul of a doctor living on top of this unexploded bomb. Rings so many bells for me...I worked in NHS admin for 15 years as the current crisis built, flagging concerns at every stage. What is it with politicians that they don't want to consider, appreciate, believe views from the coalface?
Everybody should read this..and weep..
Alexandra
May 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
as a newly minted doctor, i knew twenty-eight causes of pancreatitis, the names of all two hundred and six bones in the human body, the neurophysiology of stress and fear, but not— not even remotely—how to make the emergency decisions that, if i got them wrong, might end up being the death of someone. no one had taught me what to do with all my knowledge. i wasn’t even sure i could correctly pick out the sick patients from the ones i didn’t need to worry about. and yet, in dimly lit wards across the“as ...more
George (BuriedInBooks)
Hi everyone here is my latest review!

Today I review Your Life In My Hands, A Junior Doctors Story. Written by Rachel Clarke!

I started reading this book quite excited after reading This Is Going To Hurt written by Adam Kay. But unfortunately felt misled by the title, I thought i was going to read the memoir of a junior Doctor, not a Political activist. Too much of this book was focused on the political issues with the NHS and Jeremy Hunt.

As I’ve said I feel the title and branding of the bo
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Laura Spira
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough read but it stands proudly next to the work of other doctors like Atul Gawande and Henry Marsh who have provided important insights into the lives of medical practitioners, desperately trying to meet the expectations of their patients and their expectations of themselves. I think we often forget that doctors are human, too, in our desire for them to provide clear diagnoses and to make us well.

Clarke writes well, as one might expect from someone whose first career was in journali
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Lucy
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: med-related
As a fourth year medical student, I enjoyed this book, even though at times it almost entirely destroyed any motivation I had to carry on in medicine. Dr Rachel Clarke offers an insight into the daily workings of the NHS few of us will ever experience, warts and all. I'd encourage anybody to read it, whether you have a medical background or not, especially if you want to truly understand what the BMA/Hunt Junior Doctor scandal was all about.
Jako
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
56% - 2.8 stars - liked it

A book about unlikely events which one would not believe could take place in a modern western country — a good story for adamant statists. I truly enjoyed the medical stories; however, there was a bit too much politics to me.
Elena Cojocaru
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good insight of the NHS and it's cracks
Nichola Ní Mhuraláin
Too much politics for me - the first one of these books I have struggled to enjoy.
Ume
This review was originally posted on Waterstones.com.

Thank you to Metro publishing for sending me a copy of this book for the purpose of a review.

This book is powerful, poignant and passionately argued throughout. You can feel Dr. Clarke’s passion for her profession and the depth of her care for her patients - it is almost visceral.

She vividly illustrates the excruciating workload of our healthcare staff and the real strain of our NHS and is a must-read for anyone intere
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Thelastwordreview
At the age of 29 Rachel Clarke decided on a change of career, a starting out in journalism in television news she decided the pull of a career in medicine was too great. After all, both her father and grandfather both had careers in medicine. So now it time for Rachel to follow in their footsteps. In Your Life in My Hands Rachel Clarke talks passionately about life as a junior doctor in the NHS.

Many always dream of being a nurse or a doctor specialising in specific areas of medicine, but no-one
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Ros Lawson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A frightening account of life as a junior doctor on the NHS front-line. I felt Rachel Clarke’s pain, frustration, fear and sheer exhaustion throughout the book when she so often found herself out of her depth. I completely understand her desire to leave medicine when she felt she wasn’t doing a good enough job and was letting her patients down. Luckily for the NHS (and patients they care for), there are a lot of ‘Rachel Clarke’ s employed by them who are prepared to fight for what they believe i ...more
Sharon
'I am a junior doctor. It is 4 a.m. I have run arrest calls, treated life-threatening bleeding, held the hand of a young woman dying of cancer, scuttled down miles of dim corridors wanting to sob with sheer exhaustion, forgotten to eat, forgotten to drink, drawn on every fibre of strength that I possess to keep my patients safe from harm.'

This sounded like just my kind of book. I love books that are written by people ‘in the job’, a behind the scenes look at what actually goes on. I’
...more
Wendy Williams
Apr 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rachel Clarke is a self-proclaimed Junior Doctor activist who gives an articulate account of the issues that led to the junior doctors' strike. Unfortunately it does so through a prologue, epilogue and fifteen chapters. I don't want to take anything away from the writing or the message which are both fluent and interesting - for a few chapters. But the repetitive tirade became tedious in book form. This is not your usual doctor's memoir and the 88 references would have been the clue if I had bot ...more
Kath
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliantly written(the author was a journalist before a Dr) and frightening but starkly true picture of the NHS. This is echoed by 2018 TV programmes like 'Ambulance' and 'Hospital' as well as friends working in high pressurised NHS environments where firefighting is all they are managing to do. Whilst it is true that the NHS was not created to deal with the wide range of treatments that are now available, and there are areas of waste, for example in the administration of prescription medicin ...more
Lexy
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know whether this was marketed wrong or I just didn’t get it, but I thought this would be a book about a junior doctors experiences in medicine. It turned out to be a political rant about the NHS with some experiences scattered throughout, most of which were included in order to illustrate a point rather than inform the reader.

I feel like I know a lot more about the NHS and the risks and pressures it faces, and there’s nothing wrong with writing a book about that. I just feel like this
...more
Samantha Taylor
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Henry Marsh's "Do No Harm" and Paul Kalanithi's "When Breath Becomes Air" so I really hoped this wouldn't disappoint - and it certainly didn't. All of the fear, wonder, pain and joy of medicine are in the book. The author was a journalist before she became a doctor and this shows. There is amazing attention to the details that bring alive what it's really like to be there in the hospital at 4am. It's also a calm but powerful attack on the NHS cuts that may end up destroying our health se ...more
Madeleine Black
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had so many mixed emotions reading this book which made me both cry and smile. This is a heart-rending honest account of what it really means to be a junior hospital doctor working in the NHS. I knew Doctors/nurses were stretched and understaffed but my eyes were opened even more. What came through so strongly thoughout the book was Rachel's unwavering compassion and commitment for her world of medicine and her patients
Mo
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book which served its purpose well drawing attention to duplicitous politicians and the harm that can be done by hospital trust administrators who are neither medically qualified nor scientifically savvy. Mood rousing rather than statistic packed but with many potent anecdotes taken from the personal experience of the author.
Zoe (readabilitea)
A very powerful read about the NHS - highly informative, persuasive and emotional. A bit repetitive in places but it made me want to work for the NHS which no other thing has ever achieved so a worthy start to 2018
Scott Vine
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read about life in the NHS, and one I could readily identify with being the partner of an NHS nurse.
Jessica Hinton
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It feels so very fitting that I am writing this book today, on the day that our most sacred of all institutions, the NHS, turns 70. I, like many of us, feel incredibly passionate about this stalwart of British life. That no matter who you are or what your income, Health care is free for ALL at the point of service. It's something to be incredibly proud of. But you can be proud of something, whilst still acknowledging that it is slowly, inexorably, being broken apart.

In this book, Clarke tells the oth
...more
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