Seven Signs of Life by Aoife Abbey

The first book I’ve read in 2022 is this medical memoir by an NHS intensive care doctor.

As the title suggests, Seven Signs of Life is divided up into seven chapters, based on the themes of grief, joy, fear, distraction, anger, disgust and hope.

Published in 2019 a few months before covid reared its ugly head, Aofie Abbey‘s book is full of wisdom and insight into what life (and death) is like on the NHS frontline.

Her anecdotes deal with a wide range of patients who all have one thing in common; they were admitted into intensive care. Some survive, many do not.

The stories of these patients are woven skillfully into a rich tapestry in which Abbey analyses and unpicks her own ethics, beliefs and approaches to her stressful and demanding job.

Yes, this is one of those popular life-affirming non-fiction books, but it packs an emotional punch that others can only dream of.

There can be no better advertisement or justification for our NHS.


See also: This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

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