Wednesday, March 13, 2019
The Human Kind
A Doctor's Stories From The Heart Of Medicine
By Peter Dorward
Published by Green Tree/ Bloomsbury, September 2018
Dr Peter Dorward is a GP in Edinburgh, and has a very mixed general practice indeed. He also trains students. From his beginning days as a junior doctor, feeling out of his depth and battling extreme exhaustion in the "bad old days" of medical training to the current way of training and working, he looks at all aspects of medicine in a general practice and the incredible variety of patients, lifestyles and situations which he meets as a result.
He describes some memorable characters who stay with you long after you have closed the book - especially Alicia whose ability to interact with the world is sadly diminished and nobody really knows how much she takes in although her doting mother believes she is actually very able to respond and interact. From youngsters with functional illnesses to drug addicts, angry patients to depressed patients, from the terminally ill to the emergency cases he is called to see, Dr Dorward describes his attitudes and thoughts about prescribing protocols, moral and ethical dilemmas and what he believes are the societal and psychological underpinnings for many illnesses.
This is not always an easy book to read; there are quite lengthy philosophical discourses about the nature of health, illness, society and medicine and parts of the book are really very sad indeed. I did find his commentary about a former student's Christianity very dismissive and patronising, which is a shame as Dr Dorward is otherwise obviously a caring and compassionate man.
I did enjoy the book, but I don't think it will be one I would read again.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.