Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story, By Gabriel Weston


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The Independent Culture

How does it feel to have someone's life in your hands? Remove a foreign object from a toddler's nose? Handle exquisitely strangulated haemorrhoids? This slender, elegantly written memoir by a female surgeon, Gabriel Weston, is a fascinating no holds barred account of life in the operating theatre.

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Peeling off her scrubs after a particularly grim operation, botched by a senior male colleague, Weston recalls her underwear being "wet with this woman's blood". She is no less frank about the emotional fall-out of her job: after the death of a 20-year-old from bowel cancer, she cycles home along the Embankment "feeling the pleasure of life and luck in my veins". She has no time for moaners, nor does she find babies cute, but counts her greatest failure as leaving a ten-year-old, admitted with a headache, to die alone.