Seven Signs of Life: Unforgettable Stories from an Intensive Care Doctor

Arcade: Skyhorse. Oct. 2019. 288p. notes. ISBN 9781948924825. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781948924832. MED
Abbey (Royal Coll. of Physicians) chronicles her early years training to become an intensive care physician in the UK. This book is organized thematically around the “Seven Signs of Life”—fear, grief, joy, distraction, anger, disgust, and hope—perhaps playing on the concept of the seven deadly sins. Each chapter is based on a story of a patient, or something Abbey learned in the midst of her medical practice. The choice to organize the work around themes of human emotions allows readers to consider a particular aspect of medicine in relation to larger questions about how our emotions and dispositions shape our lives as well as decision-making in the medical field. As Abbey is based in the UK, some terms related to the National Health Service might be unfamiliar to U.S. readers.
VERDICT While the prose is somewhat uneven
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