• Open Book

    Books for Aspiring Medics

Doctor's Desk

Atul Gawande

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Whether you're following a recipe, investing millions of dollars in a company or building a skyscraper, the checklist is an essential tool in virtually every area of our lives, and Gawande explains how breaking down complex, high pressure tasks into small steps can radically improve everything from airline safety to heart surgery survival rates.

The Checklist Manifesto

Microscope

Rebecca Skloot

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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. Born a poor black tobacco farmer, her cancer cells – taken without her knowledge – became a multimillion-dollar industry and one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet Henrietta's family did not learn of her 'immortality' until more than twenty years after her death, with devastating consequences . . .

The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks

Image by Startaê Team

Siddhartha Mukherjee

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‘Mukherjee calls this great and beautiful book a biography, rather than a history, because he wants his reader to understand his subject not just as a disease, a scientific problem or a social condition, but as a character – an antagonist with a story to tell. His intensely vivid and precise descriptions of biological processes accumulate into a character, fully developed and eerily familiar. ’ Observer

Emperor of All Maladies

Hospital Bed

Paul Kalanithi

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At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.  It is a memoir about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air

Image by Robina Weermeijer

Oliver Sacks

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These are case studies of people who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts whose limbs have become alien; who are afflicted and yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents. In Dr Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, each tale is a unique and deeply human study of life struggling against incredible adversity.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Surgery

Atul Gawande

This is a stunningly well-written account of the life of a surgeon: what it is like to cut into people's bodies and the terrifying - literally life and death - decisions that have to be made.There are accounts of operations that go wrong; of doctors who go to the bad; why autopsies are necessary; what it feels like to insert your knife into someone.

Complications

Stethoscope on the Cardiogram

Adam Kay

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Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay's This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn't – about life on and off the hospital ward.

This is Going to Hurt

Assortment of Pills

Ben Goldacre

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 In this eye-opening book he takes on the MMR hoax and misleading cosmetics ads, acupuncture and homeopathy, vitamins and mankind’s vexed relationship with all manner of ‘toxins’. Along the way, the self-confessed ‘Johnny Ball cum Witchfinder General’ performs a successful detox on a Barbie dolland probes the supposed medical qualifications of ‘Dr’ Gillian McKeith.

Bad Science

Justice Scale

Tony Hope

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Tony Hope deals with the thorny moral questions such as euthanasia and the morality of killing, and also explores political questions such as: how should health care resources be distributed fairly?

Medical Ethics: A Very Short Introduction

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