Life Support

Jim Down

£14.99

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Penguin Books Ltd
4 March 2021
ISBN: 9780241506318
Hardback

From the publisher

AN OBSERVER PICK FOR NONFICTION TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2021

'Deeply affecting - a personal memoir that grips, harrows, inspires and, ultimately, uplifts with its vein of deep humanity' Philippe Sands

'One of the doctors with the most hands-on experience of Covid in the country' Edward Docx, New Statesman


A powerful, moving account of an intensive care doctor's life on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic

As a doctor running the intensive care unit at one of London's top hospitals, Jim Down has spent his life working as healthcare's last resort, where the unexpected is always around the corner, and life and death decisions are an everyday occurrence.

But nothing had prepared Jim and his team for the events of spring 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic descended. In Life Support, he tells the extraordinary month-by-month story of how as the nation came to a standstill, he and his colleagues donned PPE, received an unprecedented influx of patients, transformed their hospital and took on the biggest challenge in the history of the NHS.

The pandemic raised difficult questions for Jim: how do you fight a new disease? How do you go home at night to your wife and young children when you've spent all day around highly infectious patients? How do you tell a mother that her healthy young son has died, only days after falling ill?

With warmth, honesty and humour, this book is a gripping, moving testament to the everyday heroism of the NHS staff in a global crisis, and an unforgettable insight into what was really happening in the wards as we clapped on our doorsteps.