counter create hit War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line

Availability: Ready to download

For more than 25 years, surgeon David Nott has volunteered in some of the worlds most dangerous conflict zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major metropolitan hospital. He is now widely acknowledged as For more than 25 years, surgeon David Nott has volunteered in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major metropolitan hospital. He is now widely acknowledged as the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. War Doctor is his extraordinary story, encompassing his surgeries in nearly every major conflict zone since the end of the Cold War, as well as his struggles to return to a “normal” life and routine after each trip. Culminating in his recent trips to war-torn Syria—and the untold story of his efforts to help secure a humanitarian corridor out of besieged Aleppo to evacuate some 50,000 people—War Doctor is a blend of medical memoir, personal journey, and nonfiction thriller that provides unforgettable, at times raw, insight into the human toll of war.  


Compare
Ads Banner

For more than 25 years, surgeon David Nott has volunteered in some of the worlds most dangerous conflict zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major metropolitan hospital. He is now widely acknowledged as For more than 25 years, surgeon David Nott has volunteered in some of the world’s most dangerous conflict zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993 to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out lifesaving operations in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major metropolitan hospital. He is now widely acknowledged as the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. War Doctor is his extraordinary story, encompassing his surgeries in nearly every major conflict zone since the end of the Cold War, as well as his struggles to return to a “normal” life and routine after each trip. Culminating in his recent trips to war-torn Syria—and the untold story of his efforts to help secure a humanitarian corridor out of besieged Aleppo to evacuate some 50,000 people—War Doctor is a blend of medical memoir, personal journey, and nonfiction thriller that provides unforgettable, at times raw, insight into the human toll of war.  

30 review for War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X

    I thought this book was going to be the first all-gold 10 star of the year, but it has too many flaws. The author always presents himself as on the 'right' side of the conflict and he goes to many conflicts in Africa, the Middle East (mostly), that the other side are the worst kind of beasts to roam the earth, and with ISIS this is certainly true. But... then he says that Hamas is a properly elected government (it held a single election back in 2007) and not a terrorist organisation and ignores I thought this book was going to be the first all-gold 10 star of the year, but it has too many flaws. The author always presents himself as on the 'right' side of the conflict and he goes to many conflicts in Africa, the Middle East (mostly), that the other side are the worst kind of beasts to roam the earth, and with ISIS this is certainly true. But... then he says that Hamas is a properly elected government (it held a single election back in 2007) and not a terrorist organisation and ignores all the internal violence, concentrating just on Israeli attacks as though they were unprovoked. This undermined my trust in his judgements, was he as partisan in all of them as in this and I just didn't know enough about those situations to be aware of it? When he started to pray, I could understand that, he was under the most enormous pressure. But he put himself there! He admits that the first time he was under threat of losing his life and lived, he got the most amazing rush and had become addicted to it, physically, like a junkie. But then he meets his future wife, although he is in older middle age by now and never married, and she goes to church every lunchtime to pray for him and he gets religion and I start to skim. A rather heart-warming story was when he was invited to his first Royal banquet and was to sit at the left side of the Queen, a very honoured position, and would therefore spend half the meal conversing with her. (Half her coversation is to the right, half to the left). She says something about the war zones and it makes him, already nervous, well up with tears so she does something extraordinary. She opens a silver jar on the table, pulls out a dog biscuit, breaks it, giving him half and for the rest of the meal they feed the (numerous) corgis under the table. "This is much better than conversation, isn't it?" She says kindly. I liked how the author spoke in detail of the operations, I was a bit lost, I don't know more than the basic anatomy and roughly which organs do what, and this was detailed and very bloody, but interesting too. I liked hearing about the patients and the little he knew of their lives and countries, especially the Syrians and Syria for which he has a great deal of affection. One intensive care ward containing four patients with all modern life=support equipment was run by a single nurse who continually noted all vital signs and urine etc outputs. Each bed had two video cameras on it, and with her data and those pictures, and Arab-American doctors in the US monitored the ward 24 hours a day and directed the treatment. I was very impressed. It all gets political towards the end. He is famous, on tv, gets interviewed by major journalists, sets up a very worthy foundation to educate other doctors in war surgery and even gets to speak to presidents. I saw the point, but phonecalls reported word for word are boring. I wasn't sorry when the book ended and couldn't be bothered to read the afterword. ________________ The author spares you nothing. The two worst atrocities I have read (in the 21st C) are here. The first is in Chad, on the borders with Sudan where 2 million black Africans have fled from the Sudanese civil war and especially the brutality of the Janjaweed, the government-funded Arab militia. There has long been dissent and hatred from the Arab, Muslim North (now North Sudan) towards the Black, Muslim, Christian and Animist South - an agricultural rather than urban people. The author was a surgeon working for Medicine Sans Frontiers on the Chad/Sudanese border and he says that there were a lot of children, little girls of 10 or so, who had been made pregnant by rape from these Janjaweed. The little girls pelvises were too small to deliver a child and they would labour for days and (those that didn't die) would be brought, sometimes a long distance, to the hospital. One little girl's baby had died during that time and was rotting and gangrenous inside her. He describes he procedure he says he thought was last used in Victorian times, where via the cervix, the skull, a green and black, stinking mess and bones of the dead baby are broken so that they can be pulled out of the vagina. It was, he said, as traumatic for the medical staff as for the little girl. The Sudanese girl who was enslaved around the corner from me. Slave: My True Story The second atrocity that is so bad it is beyond any kind of understanding or humanity, was a game the snipers played in Aleppo in Syria. The hospital staff would notice that on any given day the gunshot injuries of so many of the patients would be similar. It was, the author was told, a game for points the snipers played, to target a certain part of people to shoot at. One day it was pregnant women.... One woman was shot and so she had an emergency Caesarian. Her uterus was shattered, she would never have another child. And this one, dead, had the bullet lodged in his brain. _____________________ What life is like in Afghanistan under the Taliban (view spoiler)[The doctor is talking about being Taliba-run Kandahar in 2001. At that time, the author says, the Taliban enforced the following laws: Children were not allowed out and were forbidden to play with toys, especially of Western origin Education was banned apart from studying the Qu'ran. Women's education was especially frowned upon (see I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban Kite-flying or playing music were also banned as they took children away from the study of Islam Men were not allowed to shave their beards Women were confined to their homes, had to cover themselves head to foot, includig their eyes. He says that even in the hospital the female nurses had to wear burkhas and cover their eyes with crocheted veils. One of them flashed her ankle showing fishnet tights - that counts as an act of defiance there. Men, fathers or husbands and children were not allowed to visit the female wards. If the woman was dying, she died without seeing them, she died alone. She was lucky she wasn't caught. At the entrance to the operating theatres was a policeman who had to approve all surgery. One day he turned down an operation on a woman with a torn placenta, he felt it was right she and her baby die. Another day, the male scrub nurse was missing. He'd trimmed his beard to fit under his surgical mask. The policeman had punished him for this unIslamic act by confining him to a shipping container for 24 hours with 50 other men. No light, no toilets, no food, no water and a temperature of about 50 degrees C. The author went to the football stadium to witness the application of Sharia law. He writes that women were buried up to their necks in sand and stoned to death. Some women had to build a wall with their own bare hands and then stand by it whilst a truck was driven at high speed into them. Families of of victims of crime were allowed to kill the alleged perpetrators themselves. Dr. Nott said it reminded him of Roman spectacle or of a bullfight he had attended in Spain, but this was much, much worse. The situation now is that many men have fled Afghanistan, but generally leave the women behind as is common across the Middle East and North Africa. This results in 85% asylum seekers, refugees or migrants, depending on your point of view, being male leaving behind the women and children. Considering that polygamy is common, one man might be leaving four women and their children behind unsupported and with the women often not able to work or find work, it's a dire situation for them. Consequently women in Afghanistan are very frightened of a peace accord with the US. The few rights the women do have now, they afraid they will lose with a withdrawal of troops leaving a vacuum the Taliban will be quick to fill, and it will be back to the brutality of 2001. (hide spoiler)] My Afghani taxi-driver's story (view spoiler)[ I got a mini-cab in London a while back. It was raining and quite a long journey so I had time to talk to the driver. He had been a policeman in Kandahar and had ambitions to become a lawyer, his not very good command of English was holding him back. He and his wife had grown up in a village and been best friends and childhood sweethearts, his wife's ambition was to have a small shop of her own. Women are not allowed to have any kind of businesses that might deal with men and no friendship. And so they had fled and come to the UK where he studied English and she had a little corner grocery shop and they went out and about together holding hands, he said, and his wife was a happy woman. Small freedoms we take for granted. (hide spoiler)] Reading notes (view spoiler)[The author spent his first four years in Welsh-speaking Trelech, in a tiny terraced house with grandparents, aunties and assorted others. It's a long journey from there being a consultant surgeon nicknamed 'the Indiana Jones of Surgery". I'm looking forward to reading it. I hadn't realised how dedicated these doctors who volunteer were. They have to take unpaid leave from their hospitals and get £300 a month for expenses. (hide spoiler)] Review 4/2020

  2. 4 out of 5

    India M. Clamp

    Imagine, operating while shrapnel flies, in the open and sometimes when you look up from the surgical table you find your nurse and anesthetist have abandoned their post. This is the schwarz welt where Dr. David Nott exists for a time to bring mercy, healing and safeguarding up to ten lives a day in Syria. Is sapienta superat morus his mantra? War and Dr. Nott---sans personal life---describes its sanguine tragedy of a baby being rescued from a building with a crushed arm and part of its little Imagine, operating while shrapnel flies, in the open and sometimes when you look up from the surgical table you find your nurse and anesthetist have abandoned their post. This is the “schwarz welt” where Dr. David Nott exists for a time to bring mercy, healing and safeguarding up to ten lives a day in Syria. Is “sapienta superat morus” his mantra? War and Dr. Nott---sans personal life---describes its sanguine tragedy of a baby being rescued from a building with a crushed arm and part of its little skull lost. So foreign to the little OC Babies here in California---who would never know a tragedy of such magnitude. Chaos was the cocktail Dr. Nott drank nightly and retitled it normal. “In the chaotic first few days after the disaster...I had resolved to share the dreadful story of the pregnant woman whose unborn baby had been shot...and talk about how bad things were in northern Syria.” ---David Nott, General & Vascular Surgeon (U.K.) In this world, hospitals are targets (like physicians and all medical personnel). We follow him in his travels to Afghanistan, Libya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Iraq, Haiti, Syria and Gaza hearing the sniper fire, bombs and ghoulish like screams. After work most physicians retire to the sanctity of a trouble-free domicile, Nott seeks just the opposite. “War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Lines” is not for the meek. Certain death was surely on the menu when meeting the Taliban leader for approval on an operation for an Afghan lady. Despite such circumstances, Nott was serene, composed and the paradigm of a Welsh, University of Manchester (UK) trained vascular surgeon. Read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Such a hard-hitting book written by one of the most heroic people I have ever come across. What. A. Guy. (The writing itself is 4 stars but the lasting impression it gives makes it a 5 star book)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Veronica ⭐️

    *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... David Nott has written a compassionate story of his years as a volunteer surgeon working in hospitals around the world in war torn areas in Afghanistan, Sarajevo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Darfur, Yemen and Gaza. Operating in poorly equipped hospitals with the most basic of instruments. Nott didnt come from a privileged background. He describes his sometimes harsh and lonely upbringing. He has achieved his accomplishments through hard work and *https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogsp... David Nott has written a compassionate story of his years as a volunteer surgeon working in hospitals around the world in war torn areas in Afghanistan, Sarajevo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Darfur, Yemen and Gaza. Operating in poorly equipped hospitals with the most basic of instruments. Nott didn’t come from a privileged background. He describes his sometimes harsh and lonely upbringing. He has achieved his accomplishments through hard work and perseverance. There were wins and failures along the way. It’s hard for a book like this, with David in the centre of some quite political wars, to not be political however he steers clear of taking sides giving the reader facts and eye witness accounts. David Nott comes across as humble and sensitive. The inhumanity he witnesses has a profound effect on him and he finds it hard to fit back into normal life. Nott explains his need to help people and the pull to be amidst the trouble and constant danger of a war zone, operating while missiles are reigning down and during sudden blackouts. Survival sometimes was just pure luck. War Doctor is a fascinating and humbling account of a doctor’s life in a war zone. Written with real compassion for all humankind. David Nott is a true humanitarian. An emotional afterword by David’s wife Eleanor is filled with love and pride. *I received my copy from the publisher

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    Every month I contribute to Doctors without Borders which is just the English description of MSF, an organisation this author did many humanitarian work for. Now I know exactly what my money is being used for and perhaps I should start donating more. Doing humanitarian work in a warzone is all kinds of crazy and leaves the volunteers with PTSD for years afterwards. From pulling bomb detonators out of legs to pulling dead babies out of pregnant 9-year olds, this man has seen some truly horrific Every month I contribute to Doctors without Borders which is just the English description of MSF, an organisation this author did many humanitarian work for. Now I know exactly what my money is being used for and perhaps I should start donating more. Doing humanitarian work in a warzone is all kinds of crazy and leaves the volunteers with PTSD for years afterwards. From pulling bomb detonators out of legs to pulling dead babies out of pregnant 9-year olds, this man has seen some truly horrific things. Not only do you need to deal with medical emergencies without proper equipment, you also need to process the thought that you may be saving someone’s life who will go on to commit atrocious crimes. You just don’t know who you are healing in a war zone. The author volunteered as a doctor in Sarajevo, Syria, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Yemen, Aleppo, the list goes on and on, spanning 20 years. He even treated Osama Bin Ladin’s wife for fibroids….. before Bin Laden became the household name for terror after 9/11. Similar to a war journalist the author also openly admits that he got addicted to the rush of adrenalin going into places he could be killed at any moment. This is a book full of medical marvels and the worst of human depravity during a war. I would have given this 5 stars had the last 20% not become overly political. Its still worth the read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Welsh surgeon David Nott combines advanced technical skills with extreme altruism: for weeks of every year he takes unpaid leave to volunteer with a medical charity like Médecins sans Frontières or Syria Relief in war zones or disaster areas around the world. The kinds of procedures he has performed in Sarajevo, Kabul and Darfur are a world away from his normal work as an NHS consultant in London: amputations, treating injuries caused by homemade bombs, and delivering the babies of young rape Welsh surgeon David Nott combines advanced technical skills with extreme altruism: for weeks of every year he takes unpaid leave to volunteer with a medical charity like Médecins sans Frontières or Syria Relief in war zones or disaster areas around the world. The kinds of procedures he has performed in Sarajevo, Kabul and Darfur are a world away from his normal work as an NHS consultant in London: amputations, treating injuries caused by homemade bombs, and delivering the babies of young rape victims. His memoir is mostly structured by countries and/or time periods. There are gripping moments – such as completing a difficult amputation by following instructions texted to him by a London colleague – but also some less fascinating chronology. The book is slow to start and took me weeks to get through. However, it shines when Nott recalls particular patients who have stood out for him. All told, his is an amazing and inspiring story. See my full review at Shiny New Books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alina

    this was my 30th book of the year. unfortunately it wasnt for me. I didnt like it at all. david nott has undoubtedly done a lot of good in his field and has saved countless lives, which regardless of context can only be a good thing, and of course on that I commend him, and its good that he brings to light many of the atrocities facing victims of war across the world. I just really disliked this book, for the following reasons: 1. the writing in this book is clunky and I couldnt get along with this was my 30th book of the year. unfortunately it wasn’t for me. I didn’t like it at all. david nott has undoubtedly done a lot of good in his field and has saved countless lives, which regardless of context can only be a good thing, and of course on that I commend him, and it’s good that he brings to light many of the atrocities facing victims of war across the world. I just really disliked this book, for the following reasons: 1. the writing in this book is clunky and I couldn’t get along with it. I felt that the prose was very much “I did this, I did that, I felt like this”, which didn’t sit well with me. he seemed to write of harrowing atrocities briefly and move on from them as if they were a minor detail. conversely, the descriptions of surgery were a little *too* detailed, and read like a medical textbook. it didn’t flow well. there were also points at which the language used came across as patronising and highlighted things that would have been blisteringly obvious to the reader, for example when he described a man being tortured inside a filthy, sweltering storage container and then added “it was a horrendous way to treat people”. thanks david, I was edging towards thinking it sounded pretty comfortable. thank you for bringing me back down to earth. 2. I have complicated feelings about westerners entering war zones and being hailed as heroes for doing so. almost all of the time, these people are rich and privileged. who else can afford to take weeks of unpaid leave? why aren’t the local medical staff hailed as heroes? why aren’t the civilian victims & casualties of these wars hailed as heroes? why is it always the noble christian westerner with a saviour complex swooping on by to spread their infinite wisdom to these ‘poor, poor people’ the ones who get a book deal and lunch with the fucking queen? I know we can’t just throw pragmatism out of the window in the name of pure ideology all the time, I get that, but I feel like david nott’s visits to these war torn countries could be yet another, albeit veiled, form of western imperialism. I just wish people would read this stuff with more of a critical eye. these wars are often made a lot worse, if not caused by the west, and it frustrates me that privileged people like david nott can leave their “comfortable flat” (direct quote) and head into a war, knowing that they can leave and go back to their lives of luxury whenever, feeling very pleased with themselves. I could go on with this but I won’t. 3. david nott is obviously a very clever and very talented man, but in this book he comes across as so dense and arrogant. if he knew use of cameras was forbidden (especially opposite an ISIS base), why did he insist on using his camera to take a picture of the sunset, only to then be stormed by ISIS for doing so? if he knew his eyesight wasn’t adequate to pilot a boeing 737, why did he proceed to do so and almost crash-land it? why, after the boeing incident, did he risk a load of his colleague’s lives by flying them around in a helicopter, which he almost crashed into a hotel and a power line? why, despite being warned by locals, did he attend a public display of the taliban’s punishments and executions, stay to watch them unfold, describe them graphically in the book, and then complain about the trauma of seeing it - why didn’t he leave after it became obvious what he was watching? why, when the rules stated not to, did he travel in an unarmed vehicle, only to be shot at, and then describe feeling “exhilarated” by the bullets that flew across the top of his head, and express relief that the front passenger was killed instead of the driver? it also made me utterly despair to read david nott write that part of his reasoning for impartially saving the lives of terrorists was that “maybe when he wakes up, the terrorist will hear that his life was saved by a western christian doctor, and might change his point of view”...OH MY GOD. it all made me want to scream. 4. this book is very author-centred. david nott seems intent on making himself the star of the show. the people suffering the most in these wars are the innocent civilians. so why does he not make them the focal point? the narrative always came back to david - how he felt, what he thought, how hard it was for him. it’s such a shame, because if this story had been told from a different point of view, by someone who put their patients at the forefront of the narrative, it would have been a better book. I found it almost laughably irritating that he describes confidently his weirdly intense interest in war, borne out of watching the killing fields when he was younger (please). I found it so rich and so frustrating to read of his “excitement” and “exhilaration” around war and around entering a war zone and endangering himself. it just absolutely reeks of voyeurism. there’s probably a lot more I could write here but I think I’ve covered the basics. I couldn’t wait to finish this book and I’m so glad to finally be able to move onto something else. I’m a little disappointed, because I thought that this book was going to be pretty good, going by the reviews. like I said, I don’t dispute that david nott has and continues to do benevolent work, but this book was quite unbearable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week: David Nott, the frontline trauma surgeon reads from his memoir about working in some of the world's most dangerous conflicts. For over twenty-five years, David Nott, has taken time off from his job as a vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in war zones and areas impacted by natural disasters. Together with his compassion and a desire to help others, his skills on the operating table have saved countless lives, and he now trains others in the techniques he From BBC Radio 4 - Book of the week: David Nott, the frontline trauma surgeon reads from his memoir about working in some of the world's most dangerous conflicts. For over twenty-five years, David Nott, has taken time off from his job as a vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in war zones and areas impacted by natural disasters. Together with his compassion and a desire to help others, his skills on the operating table have saved countless lives, and he now trains others in the techniques he has developed on the frontline. David Nott reads his remarkable story, telling us about what motivates him and his experiences of war. Read by David Nott Abridged by Richard Hamilton Produced by Elizabeth Allard https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This was such an emotionally charged read, and one that I recommend everyone has a copy of. Ive read lots of similar books this year but none quite like this; the author is an NHS doctor but volunteers himself, unpaid, to work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, taking care of casualties of war whether that be newborn babies to Isis soldiers. The author documents with searing honesty the realities of his work and how he spent countless hours only yards from fighting in the Middle This was such an emotionally charged read, and one that I recommend everyone has a copy of. I’ve read lots of similar books this year but none quite like this; the author is an NHS doctor but volunteers himself, unpaid, to work in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, taking care of casualties of war whether that be newborn babies to Isis soldiers. The author documents with searing honesty the realities of his work and how he spent countless hours only yards from fighting in the Middle East as he performed complex and sometimes extraordinary surgeries on patients. Although I have of course seen many news reports on the conflicts in places like Syria, it’s an entirely new perspective to hear about it first hand. On several occasions, the authors life was at risk as he came face to face with weapons. And once, when Isis soldiers invaded his theatre as he performed surgery. I wondered from the start what kind of impact his work has had on Nott psychologically, which he does briefly mention towards the end of the book. There are some truly heartbreaking stories within this book, but also stories of resilience and heroism. I’m not sure if he has ever been formally recognised for his work, but at the very least he deserves an MBE. This book deserves to be on the best seller charts for many months to come.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ST

    Incredible. What an amazing man, it blows my mind the places hes been and the things hes done in the most terrifying of war zones. Told in a truly accessible way. I have more understanding of the issues in some of these conflicts globally through this than through many news reports. Incredible career, inspiring read Incredible. What an amazing man, it blows my mind the places he’s been and the things he’s done in the most terrifying of war zones. Told in a truly accessible way. I have more understanding of the issues in some of these conflicts globally through this than through many news reports. Incredible career, inspiring read

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    In early 2016, I was over at a family friend's house for dinner. I'm going to call them the D's for short. Mr and Mrs D are doctors based in central London. One is a professor for the Royal College of Surgeons, the other is a senior consultant at the royal free and Chelsea and Westminster hospitals. I think, anyway. It's hard for me to understand exactly what they do as doctors and surgeons tend to stratify in order to help the greatest amount of patients, therefore the answer they give to what In early 2016, I was over at a family friend's house for dinner. I'm going to call them the D's for short. Mr and Mrs D are doctors based in central London. One is a professor for the Royal College of Surgeons, the other is a senior consultant at the royal free and Chelsea and Westminster hospitals. I think, anyway. It's hard for me to understand exactly what they do as doctors and surgeons tend to stratify in order to help the greatest amount of patients, therefore the answer they give to what "they do", tends to change depending on what they're learning at this very minute. ANYWAY, I was at their house for dinner in 2016 and my sister brought up Desert Island Discs. Dr D- said he had a friend who went on desert island discs, and here's where I first heard of David Nott. Dr D told me about how in Syria, David Nott was held at gunpoint when operating on the brother of a member of ISIS. He told me how David had learned how to perform his first c-section in a war zone. He told me how David had almost lost his pass with Doctors without Borders because he tried to get a Haitian toddler who had necrotized tissue and dead bone in a portion of her skull out of the country and into the UK so she could be properly operated on. He told me that after David's second (SECOND) return from Syria in 2014, he went to meet the Queen for his services and charity work and almost had a mental breakdown as she sat next to him, to which the queen brought him back from the brink by getting dog biscuits and letting him feed her dogs. I heard all this at a dinner party, half drunk, four years ago and it all stuck with me. Flash forward four years later, I'm working in a bookshop and a proof of David Nott's autobiography comes through the door. I didn't remember his name, I didn't even know what he looked like really, but I knew immediately that this was the man I'd heard of at the dinner party years prior. I had to read his firsthand account. It has been to date the most - I didn't know how to lead on from that sentence, but I didn't want to delete it. War, for me, has always been displayed through the lens of three viewpoints: the warrior, the reporter, and the civilian. This was the first time I've ever seen war from the perspective of the doctor. Not only that, but multiple wars. While all the bloodshed and carnage, carnage of the scale of modern warfare is going on, here are people scrambling about, trying to remain calm so they can put the pieces of people back together and sew some semblance of peace back into a broken body. David Nott operated on countless victims, soldiers, children and doctors alike in the past 30+ years of his voluntary work as a doctor on the front lines. The descriptions he has written for his experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life, I can only imagine how it will stay with him. Very rarely do I read a book and say, uncaring of a person's taste or of their choice in literature, that this is a necessary read. Everyone. I repeat, everyone must read this book to understand a sliver of what modern warfare is today. This is the account of a man who has had to contend with Russians dropping barrel bombs and chlorine gas on civilians in order to prop up a dictatorial regime. This is a man who has railed against the British government for their inadequacy to act on front of the worst humanitarian disaster of the 21st century to date. People, especially in the UK and Europe, need to understand why Syria's mass exodus started and why the prosecution at the hands of the EU and danger of death whilst crossing the Mediterranean was the far more preferred option than staying in the hands of Assad, who is himself a British trained doctor. I'm going to get off my soap box now. Just read the damn book. Please. You need to understand.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000... Description: For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the worlds most dangerous war zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993, to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out life-saving operations and field surgery in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major London teaching hospital. The https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000... Description: For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones. From Sarajevo under siege in 1993, to clandestine hospitals in rebel-held eastern Aleppo, he has carried out life-saving operations and field surgery in the most challenging conditions, and with none of the resources of a major London teaching hospital. The conflicts he has worked in form a chronology of twenty-first-century combat: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria. But he has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. Driven both by compassion and passion, the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. But as time went on, David Nott began to realize that flying into a catastrophe – whether war or natural disaster – was not enough. Doctors on the ground needed to learn how to treat the appalling injuries that war inflicts upon its victims. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jackie Law

    In a growing field of medical memoirs War Doctor stands out for its purpose to increase awareness of the reality of modern warfare on the individuals and communities directly affected. The author has volunteered his services as a trauma surgeon in active war zones including: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Gaza and Syria. He pulls no punches in his descriptions of the horrific injuries and personal In a growing field of medical memoirs War Doctor stands out for its purpose – to increase awareness of the reality of modern warfare on the individuals and communities directly affected. The author has volunteered his services as a trauma surgeon in active war zones including: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Gaza and Syria. He pulls no punches in his descriptions of the horrific injuries and personal dangers encountered in each of these places. By describing the treatments offered as he attempts to patch up bodies torn apart by weapons designed to inflict maximum damage, his story avoids polemic. Rather it is a humane account of the many good people risking their lives to help those caught up in evil deeds carried out by those seeking to gain or hold on to power in a region. David Nott spent his early years in rural Wales before moving with his parents to England. He studied medicine at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester, staying in the north of England for his Junior Doctor years. He realised during this time that he wished to work in war zones where his surgery could make a significant difference. He set out to gain relevant experience. “I’d need a fantastic breadth of knowledge in general surgery, which I was on the way to achieving. And I realized it would also be good to know a lot about vascular surgery, too: if I was to spend time in dangerous places, I’d be seeing and dealing with a lot of injuries from bullets or bombs, and knowing how to clamp off blood vessels would be essential.” Nott’s first consultancy post was at Charing Cross Hospital in London. Surgeon friends there told him about Médecins Sans Frontières, an organisation offering short placements abroad for medical personnel. With agreement from his employer, Nott was able to take unpaid leave from the NHS and go on his first mission – to Sarajevo in 1993. Over the course of the following decades he would travel to sites of conflict gaining a wealth of experience working in the most challenging environments, often with minimal supplies and equipment. Chapters detail a number of these placements focusing on patients who left key impressions. As a reader it is difficult to comprehend how those who caused the injuries could inflict such pain and suffering on their fellow human beings. Much of the book focuses on memorable surgeries carried out in makeshift hospitals. With a constant stream of all but destroyed bodies arriving, decisions needed to be made quickly about who it would be worth treating. On one occasion a man required every unit of blood available in the city. When he subsequently died the question of how many others would die for want of a blood transfusion lingered. On a mission in Africa Nott treated pregnant girls as young as nine years old – victims of rape whose pelvises were not developed enough for full term births – who were brought to the camp hospital after many hours in labour to have their now dead babies removed in an attempt to save the mother’s life. In Afghanistan he witnessed the public spectacle of punishments meted out under Sharia law, Taliban style. “women being stoned to death after being buried up to their necks in sand; women being placed beside a wall they had built with their bare hands and killed after a truck was driven at the wall at high speed. […] I was astonished and sickened by the cruelty that one human being could bring to bear on another, and it filled me with revulsion. The football stadium was full of people watching and I wondered what they all felt. Were they completely inured to it?” The impressions left by such monstrous behaviour increasingly affected the doctor when he returned to his job in London. During a private consultation he all but lost it when a patient complained about how she suffered due to unsightly thread veins. On a mission in Aleppo, Nott noticed that patients would arrive with similar injuries that changed each day. “Abdulaziz told me that he’d heard that the snipers were playing a game: they were being given rewards, such as packs of cigarettes, for scoring hits on specific parts of the anatomy. […] This sick competition reached its nadir towards the end of my time there when it appeared that one particularly vicious and inhumane sniper had a new target of choice: pregnant women.” The author treated several of these women whose babies had been shot in utero. It was this experience that finally drove him to try to publicize the horror of what was happening in Aleppo once he returned to London. The media showed interest and he began to offer interviews and share pictures taken. Harnessing his increasingly public profile, Nott sought to help those now trapped and in imminent danger in Syria. Given the horrors recounted, this book could be challenging to read yet much of it comes across as hopeful due to the determination of the medical teams to continue to offer treatment whatever else is happening in their vicinity. Nott includes many instances when his efforts were unsuccessful, and examples of risks he took that with hindsight were foolish. He does not paint himself as a hero but rather as a man who relished the adrenaline rush of danger. Nevertheless, it is hard to do anything but admire the tenacity and bravery of all the medics. The writing is precise and succinct but retains a compassion for the suffering of those whose lives have been stripped to a struggle to survive in unimaginable conditions. Details of the medical procedures are fascinating and described in accessible language. And yet, with so many wars included there is a feeling of despair when considering what man is capable of inflicting. Nott admits that his work has left him in need of therapy for PTSD. I mentioned that the stated purpose of the book was to raise awareness and in this it succeeds. It is, however, difficult to know what to do with such awareness in a world controlled by the egocentric – venal governments willing to turn a blind eye to atrocities carried out by extremists. Whilst being a moving, balanced and insightful account of the horror of war and the commitment of medics, it is also a harrowing read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linh

    **UPDATED REVIEW** I'm currently a third of the way through We Can't Say We Didn't Know and it does everything David Nott doesn't do. There's a combination of facts and news to understand the politics of conflict; alongside a focus on the humans who stayed behind or left and why. It's all of the things that would have made Nott's book that wasn't just him navel gazing. War Doctor was our book club's June read, and in our discussion, a big question was: if you're telling your own story: just why **UPDATED REVIEW** I'm currently a third of the way through We Can't Say We Didn't Know and it does everything David Nott doesn't do. There's a combination of facts and news to understand the politics of conflict; alongside a focus on the humans who stayed behind or left and why. It's all of the things that would have made Nott's book that wasn't just him navel gazing. War Doctor was our book club's June read, and in our discussion, a big question was: if you're telling your own story: just why would you present it like this. I was very tepid in my initial thoughts about the book, and knew that it was incomplete. Now that I'm reading a book covering similar topics, I'm now just extremely annoyed because Nott's book does a disservice to the people he claims to care about. It's a weird combination of fabrication, diminishment of the good work being done by local organisations (say the White Helmets, anyone?), erasure of victims and survivors and an active avoidance of discussing politics.  It's not quite fake news, but the narrative that he chooses to tell and his role in it all makes me feel much stronger in my resolve that his book adds close to zero value into the world. Also, I emailed his foundation a month ago to access their book club discussion questions and they still haven't gotten back to me. Why wouldn't you just make them more easily accessible!? Original review below was a relatively generous two stars: Taking a leaf from Nott's writing style, a few scattered thoughts... I get that some books are written primarily as a device to "build brand" for some combination of booking more speaking/media gig, to raise money for a charity or drum up leads for a business. That's fine, I don't inherently have anything against these sorts of books. However, after finishing the War Doctor, I might start to actively avoid them in the future. International development and aid is work that is good, needed and riddled with moral quandaries and dilemmas. (And when done even slightly below average, the consequences are disastrous, but that's a different topic and it's not like Nott even skimmed the surface of this tension despite decades of experiences). I'm not here to pass judgement on Nott, although, I must say, he really doesn't come across as likeable or three dimensional in terms of "character" depth. Quotation marks because he is a real person. I'm just very confused that this is how he's chosen to portray himself given that he was both controlling this entire narrative and the only character in the book. That takes me to my next point: this book was written poorly and lacked any semblance of a structure or narrative arc that I could follow. Why wasn't it chronological, or regional or conflict-based? I didn't get why it jumped to and fro. I didn't get why there was a whole chapter about him flying. I'm not a medical student myself, so maybe this was more interesting than a standard text book. I did study politics, and his few words about the conflicts themselves were no more detailed than newspaper articles. It sort of read a little bit like audio description for TV or a school student reading out their oral presentation book report, index card by index card. A huge part of me wonders how much of this book was edited/ghost-written by his partner, Eleanor Nott. The afterword was also awkward, and I didn't get why it was there. If this book really was a device to raise money--then it could have at least been explicit with what they wanted me to do upon finishing. Lastly, maybe this would have resonated more if I was in the UK for a lot of his heroics (the final few chapters). It could have been a case of seeing it on the news, then seeing this at a bookstore and wanting to learn more. Instead, those final chapters also left me confused having read the memoirs of seasoned diplomats because they never came as close as Nott did in inferring his influence.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ardon Pillay

    This isnt quite the usual biography of a doctor; its something much more. It starts off as most medical biographies do, with Nott explaining why he got into medicine, but it takes an interesting turn as he decides to take his skills beyond the UK. He makes the decision to enter active war zones, to lend medical support. In these sections of the book, no detail of the cost of war is spared; Nott has seen the most horrific of injuries, and has had to deal with them under the most austere This isn’t quite the usual biography of a doctor; it’s something much more. It starts off as most medical biographies do, with Nott explaining why he got into medicine, but it takes an interesting turn as he decides to take his skills beyond the UK. He makes the decision to enter active war zones, to lend medical support. In these sections of the book, no detail of the cost of war is spared; Nott has seen the most horrific of injuries, and has had to deal with them under the most austere circumstances. I found myself amazed with the level of innovation this demanded; for example, Nott ended up using a surgical procedure typically used to treat pancreatic cancer to treat someone with a bullet wound to their midgut. However, innovation isn’t sufficient to be able to make a difference under these conditions. It takes remarkable grit, dedication and courage. I’d say this is a book every medical student, and every prospective medical student, should read. It simply leaves you in awe of the dedication some people have to the profession.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shahiron Sahari

    An excellent and gripping book written by a genuine humanitarian and true-life superhero. David Nott is a Welsh surgeon who has, since he qualified, been dropping everything at the drop of a hat to work in war zones, saving the lives of countless poor souls unlucky enough to be caught in some of the worst conflicts of our time. One of the worst situations he writes about, and which he brought to attention on British TV, was the time he and his fellow surgeons noticed that casualties were coming An excellent and gripping book written by a genuine humanitarian and true-life superhero. David Nott is a Welsh surgeon who has, since he qualified, been dropping everything at the drop of a hat to work in war zones, saving the lives of countless poor souls unlucky enough to be caught in some of the worst conflicts of our time. One of the worst situations he writes about, and which he brought to attention on British TV, was the time he and his fellow surgeons noticed that casualties were coming in one week with injuries to similar body parts. One week it would be people's right legs, another would be the groin area, and another would be pregnant women. Turns out that the snipers were "incentivised" each week to hit a different body each week by their "supervisors" and were duly rewarded. But it is not all doom and gloom, and heartbreak. There is a lot to admire about him and other people like him who do the thankless, highly dangerous work they do without regard for their safety or for reward. A highly readable page turner that packs an emotional wallop but is ultimately inspiring.

  17. 4 out of 5

    david richards

    Remarkable and inspiring I'm a UK consultant surgeon of 20 years and I have heard David talk on 2 occasions. The first was in Glasgow at a trauma symposium. It was probably the best hour of any meeting I have ever been to. You could hear a pin drop as David explained the full horror of Aleppo. The second was at the Manchester Medical Society with another talk on a the trauma of war injuries. As a Manchester graduate myself it was an easy decision to buy this book. I read it in 2 sittings over a Remarkable and inspiring I'm a UK consultant surgeon of 20 years and I have heard David talk on 2 occasions. The first was in Glasgow at a trauma symposium. It was probably the best hour of any meeting I have ever been to. You could hear a pin drop as David explained the full horror of Aleppo. The second was at the Manchester Medical Society with another talk on a the trauma of war injuries. As a Manchester graduate myself it was an easy decision to buy this book. I read it in 2 sittings over a weekend. This tale of one mans determination to make a difference is awe inspiring. It puts the day to day traumas that I deal with into sharp perspective. The other aspect of this endeavour will be the teaching legacy. This has to be an important factor going forwards. Teaching the next generation of trauma surgeons is vital as who knows where the next gunshot or blast victim will show up.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lanxin (Alex)

    The book takes you on a loose journey across countries where few people have the courage and ability to venture. Written in a simple and accessible prose, this very personal voice aims to share the harrowing and distressing experiences of a volunteer doctor at some of the most extreme frontlines. It is rather sad but the book still had some moments of joy scattered along for comfort and hope. Throughout the whole book, and especially the last chapter, Nott showcases the sad limits society still The book takes you on a loose journey across countries where few people have the courage and ability to venture. Written in a simple and accessible prose, this very personal voice aims to share the harrowing and distressing experiences of a volunteer doctor at some of the most extreme frontlines. It is rather sad but the book still had some moments of joy scattered along for comfort and hope. Throughout the whole book, and especially the last chapter, Nott showcases the sad limits society still has when it comes to humanitarian rights for civilians trapped in the crossfires of political warfare - leaving a bittersweet note for the ending. While the writing isn't the most exceptional, the story within is very worth acknowledging and reading for yourselves.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sumaya Baghdady

    وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind Al-Maeda, Quran This book has certainly been a very hard read. Through the eyes of a single person, a lot of tragedies were portrayed. And after learning about each heartbreaking scenario, you know there are way more disturbing stories that couldn't find a chronicler. I can't understand how someone can rip the life out of another person. I cant understand ”وَمَنْ أَحْيَاهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً” ‏and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had ”saved the life of all mankind” ‏Al-Maeda, Quran This book has certainly been a very hard read. Through the eyes of a single person, a lot of tragedies were portrayed. And after learning about each heartbreaking scenario, you know there are way more disturbing stories that couldn't find a chronicler. I can't understand how someone can rip the life out of another person. I can’t understand how so many people are devoid of any kind of humanity. Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Burma, Somalia, Sudan, Uighur, and most Muslim countries are still experiencing injustice, torture, and oppression. And people who devote their lives to help are true heroes. Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever".

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jordanna Zetter

    Fantastic book. A great insight into some of the biggest conflicts of our life time but from a different view point. Written excellently showcasing the real emotional and moral struggles that arise. Dr David Knott is an incredible person and his story is equally as brilliant.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Zafar Ahamed

    This encompasses all the parts of surgery that make it exciting and what drives many to want to do it. Coming from a medical background however, the cases were less interesting in and of themselves compared to the decision making he and his team's were constantly faced. And as such it clearly comes at a cost. I felt the book only really picked up in the last few chapters whilst the first half were a bit repetitive after a certain point, I don't know whether this was deliberate. a point about how This encompasses all the parts of surgery that make it exciting and what drives many to want to do it. Coming from a medical background however, the cases were less interesting in and of themselves compared to the decision making he and his team's were constantly faced. And as such it clearly comes at a cost. I felt the book only really picked up in the last few chapters whilst the first half were a bit repetitive after a certain point, I don't know whether this was deliberate. a point about how banal these crises are (in which case excellent) or just an oversight. But for someone who's not an author you can give it a pass.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Waltham

    An exceptional read. The journey of a surgeon through training, working for our extraordinary NHS and applying his skills and qualities to humanitarian work. Nothing short of inspirational, particularly as this comes at a time when covid-19 is throwing challenges at humankind unlike many others. A must read. Although not for those with a weak stomach!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Long

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. What an incredible book written by an amazing doctor! He writes of the realities of being a surgeon in the midst of war and it sent shivers down my spine. Honest and raw writing. Excellent book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    An incredible man with an astonishing story. Presents the best and worst of humanity. Everyone should read it. I am in awe, he is a wonderful human being.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Renouf

    The most heart-wrenchingly moving book I have ever read. Both devastating and inspiring; a truly gripping piece of writing.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    An exceptional take, and some really moving passages. But on the whole the narrator bragged too much and glorified himself. Came across as a white saviour.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tanmay Jadhav

    How do I begin to describe a book that has completely and utterly shaken me to the core and not just in a uni sectoral view. Having always dreamt of working for the MSF, this book was the account that I was so desperately looking for. I made the incidental decision to listen to this as an audiobook particularly becuase it was read by the author himself. I'd heard about him while I was rotating in neurosurgery at Imperial college where he was a professor of vascular surgery as well. Adding the How do I begin to describe a book that has completely and utterly shaken me to the core and not just in a uni sectoral view. Having always dreamt of working for the MSF, this book was the account that I was so desperately looking for. I made the incidental decision to listen to this as an audiobook particularly becuase it was read by the author himself. I'd heard about him while I was rotating in neurosurgery at Imperial college where he was a professor of vascular surgery as well. Adding the cautious dramatics to the stories he had written was the highlight of the book for me. It would not be an exaggeration to say that goosebumps are quite common. As a doctor, David got me hooked by the colourful description of war patients that he attended to as well as the unconventional set of skills he acquired in order to be competent. Something that is quite rare in westernised (superspecalised) medicine. Beyond that, his account of the war and devastation and the kind of effect it can have on the mind is something to reel in. Overall, this book sounds nothing less than a fictional autobiography of an infallible doctor but it is quite the contrary. Something I'd definitely recommend to medics and maybe even those who find themselves intrigued by the absurdity of war.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Dr David Nott is one of those special people who is not only having a busy life working in three London hospitals as a General and Vascular surgeon, but spends weeks each year volunteering to go into war zones to share his expertise. His experiences especially in Syria are pretty harrowing to read, as his descriptions of the wounded and injured are pretty descriptive. Putting himself at immense risk, you have to admire these brave who doctors and nurses who enter these war zones to help Dr David Nott is one of those special people who is not only having a busy life working in three London hospitals as a General and Vascular surgeon, but spends weeks each year volunteering to go into war zones to share his expertise. His experiences especially in Syria are pretty harrowing to read, as his descriptions of the wounded and injured are pretty descriptive. Putting himself at immense risk, you have to admire these brave who doctors and nurses who enter these war zones to help civilians injured. At times I had to put the book aside for a few hours after reading about some of the sad stories of women and children hurt and killed as it was all a bit much for me. There is some balance in the story, and I loved the stories of him meeting and falling in love with his wife and his two daughters. The story of his meeting the Queen is one that I will remember for a long time too. This is the type of man we should all know about, not c grade actors or one hit wonder singers or sports stars. But someone who spends their career in service helping those abandoned and hurt. Someone who sets up a charity to help train surgeons in war torn areas and increase their skills.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    "War Doctor" is a medical memoir by the trauma and vascular surgeon David Nott, chronicling his trips to practice trauma medicine in disaster and conflict zones from 1993 to the present. It's an honest, unflinching recollection of the horrors and realities of war and the reasons people volunteer there. Altruism will only get you so far - to really succeed, you need to thrive on the adrenaline rush of near-death. Medical non-fiction is a growth area - people are fascinated by how the body works "War Doctor" is a medical memoir by the trauma and vascular surgeon David Nott, chronicling his trips to practice trauma medicine in disaster and conflict zones from 1993 to the present. It's an honest, unflinching recollection of the horrors and realities of war and the reasons people volunteer there. Altruism will only get you so far - to really succeed, you need to thrive on the adrenaline rush of near-death. Medical non-fiction is a growth area - people are fascinated by how the body works and how people put it back together when it goes wrong. This is by no means the best written entry into this crowded genre, but it stands out because of its unflinching portrayal of the author's motivations. Nott is a hero who has done exceptional things for medicine in conflict zones - both in person, through political lobbying, and through his determination to train those unfortunate enough to live in the affected countries. However, he is also a man. He has made mistakes. His behaviour has been at times rash, and at times willfully ignorant. He admits to being an adrenaline junkie, unable to live without his missions to disaster zones - and not just because of the people there he could help. These admissions - the willingness to examine his own flaws - show his strength of character, and lend a visceral realness to the narrative essential to understand who you have to be to withstand such horrors as war. The latter chapters chronicled less of the Frontline action and more of the politics. The obliqueness of the political system is hard to understand, and this look at the challenges it poses was both fascinating and frustrating. So much of politics, like all of life, seems to be about who you know. A recommended read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karthik Kumar

    There is a lot to admire about the life of David Nott. His dedication to using his skills to help vulnerable victims of war, in the most trying of circumstances, appears time and again in this book. His flirtation with death in almost every mission really justifies the description of "living life on the edge". As a medical student, I actually found some of the case descriptions very interesting. For example, the development of damage control surgery and the importance of temperature control in There is a lot to admire about the life of David Nott. His dedication to using his skills to help vulnerable victims of war, in the most trying of circumstances, appears time and again in this book. His flirtation with death in almost every mission really justifies the description of "living life on the edge". As a medical student, I actually found some of the case descriptions very interesting. For example, the development of damage control surgery and the importance of temperature control in catastrophic haemorrhage all seem to be pioneered from work in warzones. Particular missions that struck a chord with me was working in the searing heat in the Congo, having to deliver babies by C-section and never having enough blood to transfuse. Some other memorable stories include instructing a plastic surgeon via skype to guide a reconstructive surgery step by step and attempting to repair a brachial plexus injury based on a text message. Despite the innumerable examples of heroism, this is a brutally honest piece. Dr Nott describes how he was accompanied by ISIS fighters once in theatres when treating an ISIS fighter and how he questioned the long term value of short missions where he would save a few and leave behind many wounded. This is why I was most inspired by his determination to teach and share his vast amount of knowledge in trauma surgery. He fondly recalls each of his Syrian colleagues and how they have gone on to successful surgical careers. Despite opposition to his methods, he was able to make changes in hospitals he worked in so that all doctors were producing better results. The latter half of the book is broadly consumed with the terrible situation in Syria, depicting in vivid detail the gruesome images of chemical warfare employed by the Assad regime. The siege of Aleppo and the attempts to rescue the doctors left there at times read like a thriller. There are so many incredible stories of friendship, hardship and small successes in this man's life. The only reason I am giving this book 4 stars and not 5, is that I almost found the near death experiences a bit too overwhelming - since there was almost one every 2 or 3 pages. This is an important exposé of the realities of war surgery however.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.