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Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story
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Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  498 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
How does it feel to hold someone's life in your hands? What is it like to cut into someone else's body? What is it like to stand by, powerless, while someone dies because of the incompetence of your seniors? How do you tell a beautiful young man who seems perfectly fit that he has only a few days left to live?

Gabriel Weston worked as a surgeon in the big-city hospitals of
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 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
Derek Emerson
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books-read
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.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
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
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Cindy Smith
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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....
Tony Summer
This book tells us some of what goes on behind the scenes in hospitals, and in operating theatres in particular. It was quite shocking and I was initially engrossed. I finished it in a day, which is remarkable for me, as I am such a slow reader. But it was not a long book. In fact, I suspect that it was originally too short to be a book, because it deteriorated as it got toward the end. It seemed that the author had run out of factually-based incidents and then resorted to making things up. The ...more
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Als ich mit diesem Buch vom Rowohlt Verlag überrascht wurde, wusste ich zunächst nicht so richtig, ob ich mich auf dieses Buch einlassen kann, da die Kurzbeschreibung recht trocken klang. Dennoch wollte ich dem Buch eine Chance geben und wurde nicht enttäuscht. Zwar bin ich auch nicht übermäßig begeistert, allerdings hat mir "Wir Halbgötter" einen interessanten Einblick in den Alltag von Chirurgen gegeben, der mich nicht kalt gelassen hat.

Gabriel Weston schreibt sehr eindrucksvoll über ihre Arbe
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gelesen-2012
Wir Halbgötter Bekenntnisse einer Chirurgin hatte ich vor einigen Wochen unangekündigt im Briefkasten und nachdem ich mir den Titel und den Klappentext angeschaut habe, war es für mich eigentlich eher uninteressant. Was ist auch schon spannendes an einem Bericht darüber, wie Chirurgen arbeiten? Nach der Lektüre kann ich genau diese Frage gut beantworten, denn zu meiner Überraschung war die Geschichte tatsächlich sehr angenehm und auch spannend. Die Autorin Gabriel Weston hat ursprünglich Literat ...more

Dieses Buch bietet dem Leser einen Blick hinter die Kulissen des harten Berufsalltags einer Chirurgin. Die Arbeit im OP und der tägliche Kampf um Leben und Tod sind die täglichen Herausforderungen, mit der die Ärzte zu kämpfen haben. Ich bin die ersten Kapitel des Buches ein wenig zaghaft angegangen, da ich ich Angst vor zu detaillierten Beschreibungen hatte und insgesamt unsicher war, worauf ich mich mit dem Lesen dieses Buches einlassen werde.
Doch die kurzen Kapitel laden dazu ein, da
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doctor-books
Small, good-feel book with good paper choice and well-spaced font. That said, I did not like the author's way of throwing high-falutin' words and she came off as snooty.

A for effort, but the book is surgically removed from interesting and lacked 'heart'; no comparison to Atul Gawande (as it states in the description).

ENT surgeon . . . OK. I suspect she would be the type in the movie The Doctor (starring William Hurt). When he, himself, needs an ENT he gets a cold, seemingly uncaring fish woman d
Jen Well-Steered
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
Shonna Froebel
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nicola Smith
Oct 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-life, 2012
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
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sarah Cubitt
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Syazwan by: Eimad
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),
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author of the book--an arts student turned surgeon--uses her female intelligent observation and sentiments to dissect the incidences that happen to patients, to other surgeons and to other doctors. She reveals her intimates feelings when she fails to balance what is best for her career and what is best for her patient, and her pride when she correctly diagnoses a patient on her first day of supervising the ER...It is a fast read that is filled with excitement. Each chapter ends with a climax ...more
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.
Petra Eggs
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Wendy Greenberg
A female surgeon's memoir of her medical then surgical training. A good read but needed more editing as endless stretches were repeated. That said, reading the case studies of composite patients was fascinating. BUT not nearly as well written as Henry Marsh (do No Harm) and Tanya Byron (The Skeleton Cupboard) which are similar medical recollections and how a career is distilled.
Neil Crocker
The author, Gabriel Weston, takes us on a precise little tour from residency through becoming a good, if not great, ENT surgeon. She gives us tons of little insights and perspectives into topics and issues that I can sort of guess at from watching ER, but never really appreciated fully. It's a good and worthwhile read, and quick too, at only 200 pages.
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