Intensive Care: A GP, a Community & a Pandemic (Paperback)Gavin Francis (author)
From the author of Island Dreams, this deeply touching account of caring for a society in crisis follows the effects of Covid-19 in both urban and rural communities through the eyes of a GP.
Intensive Care is about how coronavirus emerged, spread across the world and changed all of our lives forever. But it's not, perhaps, the story you expect.
Gavin Francis is a GP who works in both urban and rural communities, splitting his time between Edinburgh and the islands of Orkney. When the pandemic ripped through our society he saw how it affected every walk of life: the anxious teenager, the isolated care home resident, the struggling furloughed worker and homeless ex-prisoner, all united by their vulnerability in the face of a global disaster. And he saw how the true cost of the virus was measured not just in infections, or deaths, or ITU beds, but in the consequences of the measures taken against it.
In this deeply personal account of nine months spent caring for a society in crisis, Francis will take you from rural village streets to local clinics and communal city stairways. And in telling this story, he reveals others: of loneliness and hope, illness and recovery, and of what we can achieve when we care for each other.
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 220 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 20 mm
Superb ... makes clear that the revelation of this plague has been twofold: our hubris has been shattered, yet there remains a staggering human capacity for bravery, courage and endurance. Francis witnesses it daily in the kingdom of the sick. From it, he takes heart, and urges us to do the same. - Madeleine Bunting, Guardian
Inspiring. I can't recommend it too strongly. You will learn a lot from it, and you will find much more that is encouraging. - Allan Massie, The Scotsman
One of the most absorbing books - of any type - that I've had the pleasure to read ... Although this is the story of a very dark time, it is full of warmth and decency. It is a book to be savoured. Beautiful things can emerge from desperate times; this book is one of those things. - Irish Times
An unmissable account of a year we will try too hard to forget - Kate Saunders, The Times
A public service ... compelling - New Statesman
I admire Intensive Care very much - the way it rises to the challenge of writing-to-the-moment, the way it manages compassion without sentimentality, & shows a constant commitment to social justice without piety. Its message is oddly reassuring too - as if we will eventually make sense of this pandemic. - Sarah Moss, author of Ghost Wall and Summerwater
A rich seam of insights and empathy runs through [all his books]: Francis' interest in and affection for his fellow human beings seem inexhaustible. Now comes Francis' new book, Intensive Care: A GP, a Community & COVID-19, a searing yet beautiful "eyewitness account of the most intense months I have known in my twenty-year career". ... It is now that Francis' writing comes into its own. With understated eloquence, he depicts the ravages of lockdown for the community he serves. ... Francis deals words with devastating potency. Swiftly, calmly he diagnoses a central cruelty of this pandemic: "That the virus spreads through speech and touch was one of its harshest twists, attacking the most basic elements of our humanity-how we connect, empathise and show love". Ultimately, Intensive Care is less a hot take than an astute manifesto for what matters most in life, as well as in medicine. Reciprocity, selflessness, compassion, and tenderness are what motivate Francis. He ends with the heartfelt hope that, despite everything the pandemic has and will continue to cost us: "the core of medicine-the clinical encounter with its alliance of science, kindness and intensive care-[will] endure. - Rachel Clarke, author of Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic and Your Life in My Hands, Lancet
Rich in compassion, patience and humanity. Early in the pandemic Francis read two books with plague themes, Boccaccio's Decameron and Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year. His own effort matches them...This is a short book, written in terse sentences with strong and immediate impact. It is intended to raise the human spirit as well as our understanding of health workers, shelf-stackers and the rest of us. - Oldie
Intensive Care is one doctor's beautifully written, easily read account of 2020, the year of Covid-19. It reveals the sheer intensity of what the pandemic has been like for workers in the health and care sectors. The stories it contains constantly remind the reader of the easily-forgotten fact that this whole extraordinary experience has been about people, both as individuals and as members of families, communities and workplaces, and how they survive or are enabled to survive - or not. Rich in detail, conscious of the long historical context of pandemics, Gavin Francis's book does not shy away from pain and despair but it is, ultimately, both humane and hopeful. The passages about the issue of homelessness, in particular, tell how apparently intractable issues can be solved when the will is there and the right people are involved. We may well need to be reminded of this, too, in the coming months and years. A great read and an important record of our times. - James Robertson, author of the Booker-Longlisted The Testament of Gideon Mack
Intensive Care is a marvellous book, superb... absolutely the best account I've seen of the realities of living through last year. I loved it. - Iona Heath, writer and former President of the Royal College of GPs
A wise, literate man whose compassion is grounded in realism - Tablet
Insightful ... compelling - Charlotte Heathcote, Daily Mirror
Compassionate, beautifully written ... will only grow in importance and interest as the years go by - Jenny Colgan, Spectator Books of the Year
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