From the bestselling author of Dear Life, Breathtaking is a compassionate, heartbreaking and compelling account of an NHS doctor in the midst of the greatest public health crisis in living memory. With a new introduction from Michael Rosen
How does it feel to confront a pandemic from the inside, one patient at a time? To bridge the gulf between a perilously unwell patient in quarantine and their distraught family outside? To be uncertain whether the protective equipment you wear fits the science or the size of the government stockpile? To strive your utmost to maintain your humanity even while barricaded behind visors and masks?
Rachel is a palliative care doctor who looked after the most gravely unwell patients on the Covid-19 wards of her hospital. Amid the tensions, fatigue and rising death toll, she witnessed the courage of patients and NHS staff alike in conditions of unprecedented adversity. For all the bleakness and fear, she found that moments that could stop you in your tracks abounded. People who rose to their best, upon facing the worst, as a microbe laid waste to the population.
Her new book, Breathtaking, is an unflinching insider's account of medicine in the time of coronavirus. Drawing on testimony from nursing, acute and intensive care colleagues - as well as, crucially, her patients - Clarke argue that this age of contagion has inspired a profound attentiveness to - and gratitude for - what matters most in life.
There are a host of first-hand accounts of the pandemic by medics promised for 2021, but this one, written by a palliative care doctor who wrote the bestselling Dear Life, sets a high bar - Sunday Times
A profound and tear-inducing book . . . a wonderfully written inside view of the NHS at a time of crisis, with candour and compassion, humanising a dehumanising situation . . . It is a remarkable achievement, which other chroniclers of the pandemic will struggle to match - The i
Clarke focuses on the glimmers of hope and innate goodness she was witness to, even in the most arduous circumstance - Radio Times
A book replete with courage and empathy. - Observer