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Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday?Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor.Follow Ben as Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday?Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor.Follow Ben as he grabs his medical bag and flies to glamorous locations -- helping to pick up the pieces after another holiday emergency. Dramatic, hilarious or wildly unexpected, for flying doctors, emergency medicine doesn't just take place in intensive care wards -- it can happen just across the aisle on your next flight.


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Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday?Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor.Follow Ben as Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday?Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor.Follow Ben as he grabs his medical bag and flies to glamorous locations -- helping to pick up the pieces after another holiday emergency. Dramatic, hilarious or wildly unexpected, for flying doctors, emergency medicine doesn't just take place in intensive care wards -- it can happen just across the aisle on your next flight.

30 review for Holiday SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    *My thanks to David Haviland at Thistle Publishing for inviting me to read Holiday SOS. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange* Dr Ben MacFarlane gives us a fascinating insight into his time as a flying doctor, repatriating British patients back to the UK, after various medical mishaps in locations all around the world! His cases vary from the excruciatingly embarrassing (but amusing) incidents, to the really sad ones including a patient who, within days of arriving at his holiday des *My thanks to David Haviland at Thistle Publishing for inviting me to read Holiday SOS. I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange* Dr Ben MacFarlane gives us a fascinating insight into his time as a flying doctor, repatriating British patients back to the UK, after various medical mishaps in locations all around the world! His cases vary from the excruciatingly embarrassing (but amusing) incidents, to the really sad ones including a patient who, within days of arriving at his holiday destination is taken ill and receives the worst possible diagnosis, but despite that, the patient is determined to embrace life to the full and informs Dr MacFarlane that he will make a return visit the following year. Sadly I doubt that he did. What a delightful memoir this was. There’s plenty of laughter, along with the tears, and although some of the medical procedures and illnesses which involve bodily fluids might well leave some of you feeling a little queasy, it was still a great read, and I’m left with a sense of what a fantastic job these people do, often in very difficult circumstances without the backup and support that they would get in a hospital situation. It’s not just medical competence that’s required either but someone who’s able to create a sea of calm for a patient who’s scared and a long way from home. This was a light hearted and refreshing read and I would definitely recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    Thank you to Thistle Publishing who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. Ben MacFarlane is a doctor who works in "repatriation." That is, when people from England go on holiday and find themselves in a medical predicament, Ben fetches them from the country they travelled to. This is paid for by insurance companies. These unfortunate patients planned on a nice vacation, but instead are in hospital in various states of medical calamity. Ben gets his mission of where he has to travel, revi Thank you to Thistle Publishing who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley. Ben MacFarlane is a doctor who works in "repatriation." That is, when people from England go on holiday and find themselves in a medical predicament, Ben fetches them from the country they travelled to. This is paid for by insurance companies. These unfortunate patients planned on a nice vacation, but instead are in hospital in various states of medical calamity. Ben gets his mission of where he has to travel, reviews the case file of the patient, packs the appropriate medical bag and sets off to accompany his charge on their return to England. The stories in this book are all real cases Dr. MacFarlane experienced while performing as a repatriation doctor. When Dr. MacFarlane meets the patient at their hospital in another country, he speaks to the doctors, reviews their medical files and examines the patient himself. He must decide if the patient is capable of travelling home. In most of these stories, the patients were deemed worthy of travel, but a medical crisis ensued during the flight/transport home. It was quite interesting and sometimes riveting reading of Dr. MacFarlane's quick action; determining what would help these patients and his execution of life-saving medical treatment. It is actually awe-inspiring to think of so much responsibility in a person's hands. Whilst performing in such a critical and responsible role, he still finds pleasure in experiencing as much of the various locales he travels to while off-duty. In fact, he butters up one of the workers at the office with fine chocolate when she throws a really nice hotel accommodation his way. I consider the book cover to be ill-designed. It looks rather comical like the book is not an authentic recounting of a real doctor's experiences. It reminds me of a comic book cover. Maybe it was chosen to lighten the aura of the seriousness of the stories, but I think they should consider a cover change. I didn't realize until the end chapter that this was a real doctor's experiences, culled from Dr. Ben MacFarlane's diaries. There were quite a lot of stories in this book and I grew rather tired of having to hit the reset button to learn of yet another patient and their trials and tribulations. There was also a backstory of a budding relationship between a stewardess and Dr. Ben, and also the camaraderie between the office personnel. Maybe if there was a bit more personal backstory to Dr. MacFarlane I'd have made a better connection to the book. It wasn't exactly boring, but it didn't totally grab me either.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Holiday SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor I really found this book an exciting and quick paced read as I followed British doctor Ben MacFarlane on his fascinating work doing repatriations as he travels to bring different patients back home after they have had accidents or fallen ill while on vacation. I’d never heard of a job like this and loved reading about it. The cases were interesting to read about and well detailed. He shared how he flew to the patient, checked them out Holiday SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor I really found this book an exciting and quick paced read as I followed British doctor Ben MacFarlane on his fascinating work doing repatriations as he travels to bring different patients back home after they have had accidents or fallen ill while on vacation. I’d never heard of a job like this and loved reading about it. The cases were interesting to read about and well detailed. He shared how he flew to the patient, checked them out with their current physician, nurse, etc. and examines them himself, then gets them ready to fly back to the UK to another hospital. There they will be looked after until they are well enough to be discharged to their home. Many of the locations were fun and exotic to travel destinations, making this job a real perk in lots of ways, along with all of the flyer miles, for those who love travel and meeting new people. But it did have a crushing effect on his original relationship, as his girlfriend complained that he was gone all of the time. Dr. Ben did share his more heart-pounding cases for the book, where things got scary on the return trip and he had to show his expertise enroute. But he’s a veritable Macgyver of the skies, it turns out. This book is a no-brainer for anyone who thinks they’d be interested in checking it out. Go ahead and give it a try. I suspect you may like it. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Ben MacFarlane, and the publisher for my fair review. 3.5 of 5 Stars Thistle Publishing - 230 pages Pub: Nov 8th, 2018 My BookZone blog: https://wordpress.com/post/bookblog20...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    I really enjoyed this book. This book really opened my eyes to doctors who travel like Dr. Ben McFarlane does and if I did need a doctor while on holiday, I would love it to be someone like him. He sure saw his fair share of illnesses. All different kind of scenerios which I think would be a fascinating job getting to travel all around the world like that. I want to thank Thistle Publishing for this book in return for my honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Cats’ Mother

    I saw this in my newsfeed when a friend reviewed it, and given that I work in Travel Medicine, was keen to read it myself, so was very happy to find it on NG as Read Now. I think it should be required reading for any health professional who sees patients pre-travel, and will be recommending it to all my colleagues. We spend a lot of time talking about the prevention of scary-sounding infectious diseases like yellow fever and typhoid, but the reality is that far more travellers are killed or hosp I saw this in my newsfeed when a friend reviewed it, and given that I work in Travel Medicine, was keen to read it myself, so was very happy to find it on NG as Read Now. I think it should be required reading for any health professional who sees patients pre-travel, and will be recommending it to all my colleagues. We spend a lot of time talking about the prevention of scary-sounding infectious diseases like yellow fever and typhoid, but the reality is that far more travellers are killed or hospitalised overseas for injuries, often sustained doing things they wouldn’t dream of back home. Unfortunately there’s no vaccine against stupidity. This book is a sobering reminder of some of the worst things that can happen to a holiday-maker, written by the white night who comes to save them. Ben McFarlane works as a repatriation doctor, which involves travelling anywhere in the world to retrieve sick or injured patients, assess their fitness to travel, and escort them home. Things don’t always go according to plan. Written in 2009, based on events from the early 2000s, this is being republished now. The cover makes it look light-hearted and fun, but the book is full of gory medical details and is probably not for the squeamish. I couldn’t believe that one doctor could experience so many near-disasters, but the afterword explains that while they are all true stories, names and details have been changed to protect the sometimes-innocent, and that this is a fictionalised amalgamation of the most interesting and outrageous cases. I suspect a completely true to life account would not make nearly such an entertaining read. Ben comes across as an irreverent and laidback medic, but who shows both balls of steel, amazing ingenuity and resourcefulness, and the patience of a saint with people who really shouldn’t be allowed a passport. I veered from feeling like this was a job I could enjoy, to feeling exhausted just reading about the constant travel, overnights, stressful situations, fast turnarounds and inability to plan much of a social life. This is a young and preferably single persons’ job, but the experiences he has would certainly be amazing. You don’t need to know anything about medicine to enjoy this, but reading this will ensure you take out comprehensive insurance for all future overseas trips (and thank the stars for the NHS if you’re British). Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Literary Soirée

    A truly funny, unique and absorbing medical memoir by the author, a “modern flying doctor,” who recounts a year in his life traveling to help people with medical crises on vacation or business. I never knew such a doc existed and he’ll captivate you with tales of galloping to the rescue via the deep blue skies. 4/5 Pub Date 08 Nov 2018 Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #HolidaySos #NetGalley

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    What a fantastically enjoyable read! I never even knew that there were such people as repatriation doctors or nurses. I’d never even really thought about how people who are injured or who are taken ill whilst abroad actually make it home, but of course now it makes perfect sense. In many cases someone trained has to go out to retrieve them and care for them en route. This book tells of some of the scenarios these competent and caring health professionals have to face – and they certainly face so What a fantastically enjoyable read! I never even knew that there were such people as repatriation doctors or nurses. I’d never even really thought about how people who are injured or who are taken ill whilst abroad actually make it home, but of course now it makes perfect sense. In many cases someone trained has to go out to retrieve them and care for them en route. This book tells of some of the scenarios these competent and caring health professionals have to face – and they certainly face some challenging situations. I’m pretty sure they don’t face back-to-back crises as are portrayed here – at least, I hope not! – but a bit of poetic licence doesn’t go amiss and I was gripped throughout. If ever I get injured abroad I hope I get sent someone as capable as the doctor portrayed here, anyway. And I just know I won’t be able to help myself if I see someone ill or injured at an airport – I will just have to sneak a peek ( ever so discreetly of course) to see who they have with them. An absolutely compelling short book, great fun to read, and a timely reminder to perhaps take a bit of extra care when travelling.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Bentley

    Holiday SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor by Ben MacFarlane and Neil Simpson I must thank two people for this brilliant and refreshing read. Obviously, one is Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, miscellaneous other scary incidents, and all the other things that can go wrong when we travel overseas. Holiday SOS is his story - a year in the life of a British flying doctor repatriating the sick, injured, mentally unwell, and Holiday SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor by Ben MacFarlane and Neil Simpson I must thank two people for this brilliant and refreshing read. Obviously, one is Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, miscellaneous other scary incidents, and all the other things that can go wrong when we travel overseas. Holiday SOS is his story - a year in the life of a British flying doctor repatriating the sick, injured, mentally unwell, and the druggies (not counting the grandma who accidentally took one of her grand-daughter’s Ecstasy tabs) from all corners of the world. The other is Neil Simpson who was the person who wrote the book confirmed in the author’s note from Dr. MacFarlane at the back of the book. I’m surprised Simpson doesn’t get a credit in the Amazon product listing The tales veer from the serious, to funny, and the downright ridiculous all told in a style that’s so easy to read. The authors and the doctor deal with some frightening crises; some at 35,000 feet altitude in cramped conditions. What truly comes over to the reader is the doctor’s humanity, his empathy to others, and of course his medical skills. He seems like the kind of guy I’d love to have a beer with, never mind treat me if he attends on me in a medical capacity. It’s a fascinating, refreshing read and highly recommended. I thank the authors and publisher, Thistle Publishing, for a free digital copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it! Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday? Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SO I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it! Who are you going to call if it all goes wrong on holiday? Meet Doctor Ben MacFarlane. His job is to bring people back to Britain after holiday disasters, gap year crisis, embarrassing incidents on business trips and all the other things that can go wrong when we head off overseas. Holiday SOS is his story -- a year in the life of a very British flying doctor. Follow Ben as he grabs his medical bag and flies to glamorous locations -- helping to pick up the pieces after another holiday emergency. Dramatic, hilarious or wildly unexpected, for flying doctors, emergency medicine doesn't just take place in intensive care wards -- it can happen just across the aisle on your next flight. This book was a hoot! The dramatic episodes were sad and scary but the funny ones made up for it ... do not read this book on public transit or in a waiting room as your laughter will make people wonder what exactly are you reading. Well written, well organized and a total treat of a read: if you want "something different to read" this is your book!! His other book is excellent as well so if you like this one be sure to read Cruise Ship S.O.S.: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Doctor at Sea "

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda Quick

    This is a memoir that reads like a novel. From the first page, I found myself pulled into the life and travels of the traveling doctor. His stories are at times funny, and at times poignant, but always engaging and entertaining, while sharing a glimpse of how repatriation works and the patients that require it. I have to confess that before stumbling upon this book, I never really gave a thought to how repatriation worked when someone became ill or injured when far from home.....and that's after This is a memoir that reads like a novel. From the first page, I found myself pulled into the life and travels of the traveling doctor. His stories are at times funny, and at times poignant, but always engaging and entertaining, while sharing a glimpse of how repatriation works and the patients that require it. I have to confess that before stumbling upon this book, I never really gave a thought to how repatriation worked when someone became ill or injured when far from home.....and that's after a career in health care. Also, I don't think I'll ever again travel overseas without buying travel insurance. I devoured this book in one sitting and highly recommend it. While those interested in the subject will love this book, a casual reader will also enjoy it . Put this one at the top of your TBR list and be very careful in your travels.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Marshall

    The word interesting is overused these days, and thus is somewhat bereft of meaning. It applies to this book, though: I'd never even thought of the need for repatriation doctors, so this all took me a little bit off-guard. In the bookstore, I thought it looked like one of those breezy Babylon books - a fun read, something for a plane. It turned out to be more substantial than those, while still being a very engaging book. The author was a repatriation doctor, working for a private firm in London The word interesting is overused these days, and thus is somewhat bereft of meaning. It applies to this book, though: I'd never even thought of the need for repatriation doctors, so this all took me a little bit off-guard. In the bookstore, I thought it looked like one of those breezy Babylon books - a fun read, something for a plane. It turned out to be more substantial than those, while still being a very engaging book. The author was a repatriation doctor, working for a private firm in London whose staff of medical professionals (both doctors and nurses) travelled the globe on behalf of insurance companies and wealthy private individuals to return sick and injured people to the UK. The stories are presented in a sort of narrative arc. The technique works here, and the stories themselves have the same out-of-left-field quality. So what exactly do you do when, say, the patient you're transporting back from the US experiences complications halfway across the Atlantic... at the same time a baby in another compartment has a seizure? Or when you land in a less-than-accommodating Middle Eastern country whose airport security thugs decline to acknowledge your medical credentials and put a gravely ill patient's life at risk? Or when a routine job turns out to be retrieving a patient with a serious mental illness, who goes berserk at the ticket counter, shits on the floor, and wipes his butt with his boarding pass? For what this is, I'd actually have given it another star, but I thought one thing was a bit lacking in the writing: the author (and the ghostwriter he worked with, who is also credited) has a gift for explaining the medical stuff and the human side of things in a way that makes them very accessible, but doesn't do so well with establishing setting. Perhaps this is a function of his limited time in each locale, but even when he has more time in places like Cairo and Barcelona, places that are new to him, you still don't get a strong sense of place. This isn't a fatal flaw by any means. It's not totally overlooked, either, just an aspect of the writing that's consistently weaker than it could be. The only other caveat is that some of these tales are best not read while you're eating. Highly recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nan Williams

    This is not my normal style for reading, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. It was an account of a doctor employed in a medical rescue company catering to repatriating travelers for insurance companies. Sounds pretty dull, huh? Well, I would normally have thought so, too, but it was anything but dull! Each chapter had our protagonist traveling to a different locale to bring home a traveler who had had some sort of medical emergency or mishap and was unable to travel on his own. In addition to t This is not my normal style for reading, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. It was an account of a doctor employed in a medical rescue company catering to repatriating travelers for insurance companies. Sounds pretty dull, huh? Well, I would normally have thought so, too, but it was anything but dull! Each chapter had our protagonist traveling to a different locale to bring home a traveler who had had some sort of medical emergency or mishap and was unable to travel on his own. In addition to the vignettes of the victims (and their returns home), there were a couple of auxiliary stories throughout the book that tied everything nicely together, making a good flow for the disparate experiences. I highly recommend this memoir as it was well written, entertaining and enlightening. It was just plain enjoyable. I hope the author will write more. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Thistle Publishing, for an ARC of this book. This review will be published immediately on Good Reads and with Amazon when the hard copy is released.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Anyone who enjoys the 'Babylon' series will enjoy Holiday SOS - the tall tales and adventures of a repatriation Doctor. It seems that Ben MacFarlane is the non de plume of a 45 year old consultant. He is good friends with Neil Simpson who writes celebrity biographies - between them they have produced a great book. Witty, funny, emotional in places and often downright unbelievable! It really is amazing what some people get up to when they are away from home!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    A few years ago, I was with a tour group overseas and a lovely older woman tripped over a pile of suitcases. Our group was ready to embark on a 16-day cruise, so she hobbled along with us. But, she soon realized she had indeed injured herself and so she sought medical attention on the cruise ship. At our first port-of-call, she was transferred to a hospital in Stockholm. We learned that she spent a few days there, and then a nurse flew in to escort her back to America. I always wondered how she A few years ago, I was with a tour group overseas and a lovely older woman tripped over a pile of suitcases. Our group was ready to embark on a 16-day cruise, so she hobbled along with us. But, she soon realized she had indeed injured herself and so she sought medical attention on the cruise ship. At our first port-of-call, she was transferred to a hospital in Stockholm. We learned that she spent a few days there, and then a nurse flew in to escort her back to America. I always wondered how she fared. Well, after reading Dr. MacFarlane’s engrossing story, I feel much better. If she received the same level of care and compassion that Dr. MacFarlane dispensed, I know that her story ended as happily as most of this author-doctor’s patients. This book would make a great TV show. The story spans about a year in the life of this busy travelling doctor. He amasses millions of frequent traveler miles as he flies several times a week to bring patients back to their homes in England. From Tunis, to Cairo, the Canary Islands, St. Tropez, Barcelona, the Maldives, even Bulgaria our doctor-hero manages to enjoy flitting glimpses of these exotic holiday locales. We learn that he is doing this for more than just the travel miles and the sight-seeing. He truly cares about the people he escorts back home. Drama and plenty of medical emergencies make for an engaging read. This book also has plenty of heart. Some of the stories have their funny moments and some are tender and sad. My favorite one is about a lovely elderly patient named Mrs. Dean. Heartbreaking. The author concludes that he works with the best people in the world and he meets the most amazing people every day. He certainly communicates his passion for his work in this easy to read and entertaining book. Highly recommend. Thanks to NetGalley and Thistle Publishing for an ARC. This is my honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jannelies

    What a delightful insight in the lives of Ben MacFarlane and his colleagues. After having to organize a trip home for someone who went on a skiing holiday to Austria - and guess what happened - and had to return with two broken arms, I decided never ever to go on a trip without a good insurance. And glad I did, although I certainly hope never to need the help of Ben or one of his colleagues. I think they do a fantastic job and the book is very honest, in that we not only read about the excellent What a delightful insight in the lives of Ben MacFarlane and his colleagues. After having to organize a trip home for someone who went on a skiing holiday to Austria - and guess what happened - and had to return with two broken arms, I decided never ever to go on a trip without a good insurance. And glad I did, although I certainly hope never to need the help of Ben or one of his colleagues. I think they do a fantastic job and the book is very honest, in that we not only read about the excellent medical care Ben delivers, but also about the fears, the tiredness, the loneliness even that comes with this job. But please, next time, choose another illustrator for a book like this? The cover is really not suitable for the book. Thank you Neil Simpson for putting Ben's 'adventures' to paper so nicely. Thank you Thistle Publishing and NetGalley for this review copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Helen Costello

    I LOVED THIS BOOK! Don't be fooled by the daft title or the frivolous cover, this is a properly good read. Dr Ben MacFarlane is a repatriation Doctor helping people return home to the UK after accidents or falling ill abroad. He is obviously very passionate about his job and writes so well about it. Perfect book for me with my obsession with medical memoirs and this is one of the best. The stories he tells are the more serious ones - he has a lot of traumas and things don't always go as smoothly a I LOVED THIS BOOK! Don't be fooled by the daft title or the frivolous cover, this is a properly good read. Dr Ben MacFarlane is a repatriation Doctor helping people return home to the UK after accidents or falling ill abroad. He is obviously very passionate about his job and writes so well about it. Perfect book for me with my obsession with medical memoirs and this is one of the best. The stories he tells are the more serious ones - he has a lot of traumas and things don't always go as smoothly as expected on the return journey. I suspect that a lot of his journeys are not as exciting but there's no book in them is there? The book does have some humour but not as laugh out loud as Adam Kay's This Is Going to Hurt. It is gruesome though so be aware! Just a brilliant read - I hope he brings out another.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Holiday SOS is a diary written as a book, covering a year of the authors life. He jumps on planes, sometimes at short notice to repatriate those who have been taken ill abroad. It is an enjoyable and insightful tale which gives an interesting look at what goes on in his personal and professional life. You would certainly be in good hands if Ben was your repatriation doctor. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, particularly to anyone who has enjoyed Imogen Edwards Jones 'Baby Holiday SOS is a diary written as a book, covering a year of the authors life. He jumps on planes, sometimes at short notice to repatriate those who have been taken ill abroad. It is an enjoyable and insightful tale which gives an interesting look at what goes on in his personal and professional life. You would certainly be in good hands if Ben was your repatriation doctor. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, particularly to anyone who has enjoyed Imogen Edwards Jones 'Babylon' series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This is the true medical memoire of a doctor whose job it is repatriating UK residents’ home when they are taken ill whilst travelling abroad be it on holiday or at work. He’s a real life flying doctor jetting off around the world at the drop of a hat to rescue and help UK citizens on their homebound flights when they need to get home urgently having fallen ill whilst away. It sounds very exciting but these repatriations are not always smooth going and the passengers are not always very grateful This is the true medical memoire of a doctor whose job it is repatriating UK residents’ home when they are taken ill whilst travelling abroad be it on holiday or at work. He’s a real life flying doctor jetting off around the world at the drop of a hat to rescue and help UK citizens on their homebound flights when they need to get home urgently having fallen ill whilst away. It sounds very exciting but these repatriations are not always smooth going and the passengers are not always very grateful either. Ben MacFarlane tells a series of short stories collected together in chapters and I can assure you that you will have a unique and varied read, telling stories of disasters, accidents, embarrassments and more. You’ll laugh out loud, be shocked, you’ll feel empathy but you’ll also wonder at the predicaments Ben writes about in this book. I received a complimentary copy of this memoire from Thistle Publishing through my membership of NetGalley. Thank you for my copy sent in return for an honest and unbiased review. This book is a light-hearted, amusing read and will keep you entertained, wondering whatever can possibly happen next. It’s a very well deserved 9.5/10 review from me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This is the third medical memoir I've read this year and I'm hooked. It takes a special type of person to take on the sort of challenges that Dr Ben McFarlane faced as an insurance company doctor. I have absolute respect for anyone who works in medicine. But to perform emergency, life saving procedures at 35,000 feet, often alone, amid turbulence, with just the contents of a doctor's kit bag is nothing short of extraordinary. I read at least half of the book with my mouth agape; mostly in shock This is the third medical memoir I've read this year and I'm hooked. It takes a special type of person to take on the sort of challenges that Dr Ben McFarlane faced as an insurance company doctor. I have absolute respect for anyone who works in medicine. But to perform emergency, life saving procedures at 35,000 feet, often alone, amid turbulence, with just the contents of a doctor's kit bag is nothing short of extraordinary. I read at least half of the book with my mouth agape; mostly in shock of the horrific and heroic tales, but also when reading descriptions of the luxurious hotels and airlines that Dr McFarlane's employer sent him on. Holiday SOS is a gripping, fast-paced read. I'm looking forward to his next book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Xanthi

    I know about travel insurance, even though I have never had to use it, but have never thought about what it entails - ie medical staff escorting you back home. This is what this book is about - a doctor bringing back people from overseas, who have had accidents and illnesses whilst on holidays or business trips. It was an interesting read and at times kind of gruesome and icky, depending on what the author was dealing with. It sounds like a very stressful job, despite the 'perks' of travelling t I know about travel insurance, even though I have never had to use it, but have never thought about what it entails - ie medical staff escorting you back home. This is what this book is about - a doctor bringing back people from overseas, who have had accidents and illnesses whilst on holidays or business trips. It was an interesting read and at times kind of gruesome and icky, depending on what the author was dealing with. It sounds like a very stressful job, despite the 'perks' of travelling to exotic and distant places. Although there is much tension and drama in the stories he has to tell, there is also a fair bit of humour, too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dee-Ann

    I loved this book. It was humourous, adventurous and full of health scenarios and remedies which I did not know existed. This book is an account of a part of the career of a doctor whose role was to provide medical assistant and to accompany travellers back to Britain who had become injured/unwell whilst overseas. Each destination and patient was different and makes you think about the possibilities of what could go wrong on a holiday.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Great book, I could hardly put it down. Some of the stories in here, about cases that went wrong as poor Ben brought them back to the UK, were just facinating. If you like medical stories or just intresting tales, this is a good book. (although I would avoid taking it on a overseas holiday, it would just make me a bit paranoid)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aunty Janet

    Very interesting read, loved every page!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandra "Jeanz"

    I have previously read this type of biography/autobiography and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far I have read a few teacher ones, including a Gervase Phinn titles. One of the first books of this genre I read and totally adored was the Diary of a Checkout Girl by Tazeen Ahmad. I hadn't really given much thought to how people that have accidents or are taken ill abroad are brought home safely. The cover depicts an image of the central character/person in the book who is also the author, Ben MacFarlan I have previously read this type of biography/autobiography and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far I have read a few teacher ones, including a Gervase Phinn titles. One of the first books of this genre I read and totally adored was the Diary of a Checkout Girl by Tazeen Ahmad. I hadn't really given much thought to how people that have accidents or are taken ill abroad are brought home safely. The cover depicts an image of the central character/person in the book who is also the author, Ben MacFarlane. The title Holiday SOS fits the book perfectly and in a few of the cases that Ben attends to there is certainly a "Save Our Souls" element to them! Then there's the "Sun, Sea and Surgery" byline which certainly attracts your eye to it. Thee guy representing Ben is wearing a white Doctors, along with a bright pair of shorts! and has a large holdall trolley of medical supplies. There is also a kind of introductory pre-title description on the front cover which says: The Life Saving Adventures Of A Travelling Doctor. This book is full of amusing quotes and amazing stories of what situations people find themselves whilst abroad. Ben started doing repatriations as a way of earning a little money but some became addicted to the lifestyle and the travel element of the job. Ben loves seeing different places. Its not all work and sometimes whilst he is abroad on a job he gets to do some sight seeing and experience the local areas for a few hours. This book reminded me of a couple of air hostess diary/books that I have read too. The camaraderie, the "gallows humour", and the blunt honesty of the books. One of the first jobs Ben shares with us is the story of Toby Martin Harris who is from London. Toby is a usually fit and well young man. His medical history is good, in that he is not on any regular medication, has no known allergies, and no blood problems. His family history is clear too with no history of heart disease, cancer, strokes or epilepsy. Toby is at the moment stranded in a Turkish Hospital after being "scooped up" off a Turkish roadside. It is Ben's job to check Toby over, and decide whether he is fit to leave hospital and well enough to board a flight home with Ben at his side to monitor him on the homeward flight. The book also contains the banter between the Doctors, Nurses and office workers. The boss in charge who does both the repatriations and the office work is Jackie. Jackie and Ben have a friendship that becomes stronger throughout the book. Jackie suspects she could be seriously ill but want to bury her head in the sand. Then it comes to the point that Jackie cannot hide her illness and she confides in Ben who tries his best to be there when she needs to talk and be sympathetic though he also administers some tough love telling her she needs to go to a Doctor instead of self diagnosing to find out exactly what it is that she is fighting against. There's quite a lot of rivalry and competition around who gets both the best jobs in the best places along with who can do the best sight seeing or best experience abroad whilst on a job. Then on the other hand when all the workers get together there is a bit of a who has bragging rights to the worst stories of the types of people they rescue and the worst accident/incidents they have had. There is a lot of comedy within this book but don't think its all fluffy and amusing there are some pretty sad and poignant stories especially one elderly lady who cries because she is so alone yet so happy to see Ben arrive to take her home. I loved the way those doing the repatriations buy chocolates and gifts for the guys back in the office to attempt to bribe them so they are given preferential treatment in getting access to the best jobs. We see the whole experience good and bad through Doctor Ben's eyes and then see a little from a newbie nurses perspective. She likes the sound of seeing different parts of the world and has the relevant qualifications she just doesn't have the confidence in herself to think on her feet and improvise should the need arise. Every one tries to reassure her, they even send her of trips with others to increase her confidence. My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were Interesting read. Kind of like a diary/journal about the life of a Doctor who takes care of those who are taken ill or have an accident abroad. This book was interesting, humorous, and informative! I also think whoever reads this book would never ever go abroad again without great holiday insurance.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lorie

    To say I couldn't put this book down, was an understatement. I absolutely loved this book and the only disappointment I experienced was in reaching the end. I wanted to continue to travel with this well rounded and completely competent physician, who also entertained with a highly keen sense of humor. At the end of his novel, he asked to be "excused for focusing on the most exciting or unusual events ... and for writing them up like a novel rather than a strict medical textbook" which only emphas To say I couldn't put this book down, was an understatement. I absolutely loved this book and the only disappointment I experienced was in reaching the end. I wanted to continue to travel with this well rounded and completely competent physician, who also entertained with a highly keen sense of humor. At the end of his novel, he asked to be "excused for focusing on the most exciting or unusual events ... and for writing them up like a novel rather than a strict medical textbook" which only emphasized his being a well-respected and talented physician. If only there were doctor's like this one, to be found in private practice! He also said, how "pleased (he was) to be able to share some of those memories in this book." In response, I'd like to say what a privilege it was for me to read about his experiences and to have shared in his life & recollections. It proves how respectful he is/was of his patients and profession; I would love to meet a Dr. MacFarlane in person and to tell him just how fortunate his patients were to have met HIM! This was a thoroughly engaging novel, the fact that it was all true, makes it even more of a treat. I would recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the subject of medicine, travel and humor; especially humor found in the most unlikely of places ... the human mind and body. What an exciting (and yet exhausting) life he must lead ... and to save lives in the process, what a brilliant physician, not to mention great story teller. This book also gives one insight into our country's health care system as opposed to Europe's, the repatriation process, the NHS, how it works and what lengths it goes to for its citizens. Makes one think more than twice about "Obamacrap" oh wait, I meant Obamacare, didn't I? Nope, I was right the first time, what a joke.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aurelia Mast-glick

    The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor Every wonder what happens when someone is on vacation or holiday if you live in Europe, and they get sick or have an accident and can't travel home by themselves? Well, if you have insurance or are rich enough, you can have a doctor or nurse to come and take you home. This is that story. Ben is the traveling doctor and his book is set up as months, but in reality it's a culmination of some of his best and most adventurous patients, of times when th The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor Every wonder what happens when someone is on vacation or holiday if you live in Europe, and they get sick or have an accident and can't travel home by themselves? Well, if you have insurance or are rich enough, you can have a doctor or nurse to come and take you home. This is that story. Ben is the traveling doctor and his book is set up as months, but in reality it's a culmination of some of his best and most adventurous patients, of times when things went very wrong in the air or even before that. If you're a little squeamish on bodily fluids, this may not be the book for you. I found the whole story fascinating. I'm not sure I like to fly well enough to do it, but it certainly was a way for him to see the world: from Brazil to Las Vegas to France to Spain to Lapland and more, he got to travel it all. He also got to put in chest tubes and do CPR at 35,000 feet as well. And now, I shouldn't say more, but that gives you the idea that the book isn't dull. It is written in the style of England, so it is holiday instead of vacation and they got to hospital instead of to the hospital as I would say. It really didn't distract from the book once I got used to it. The bigger distracter and negative for me was the language. I know the author was only repeating the words of his patient and, in the one case especially, it might have been difficult to fully leave them out since it seemed to be a part of every sentence. However, I wouldn't want to recommend it to anyone else in an off-hand recommendation because of that. I received this book from Net Galley and was not required to write a positive review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    I love books like this, ones that expose the behind the scenes sides of certain jobs. Earlier in the year I read Adam Kay's book 'This is Going to Hurt' which wasn't dissimilar so when I saw this pop up on Netgalley I knew I had to read it. Ben Macfarlane is a repatriation doctor, meaning if you are in trouble abroad then he flies over to bring you home. Most of his stories seem fairly straight forward but it also shows how alone and resourceful you have to be at 35000 feet. I enjoyed the stories I love books like this, ones that expose the behind the scenes sides of certain jobs. Earlier in the year I read Adam Kay's book 'This is Going to Hurt' which wasn't dissimilar so when I saw this pop up on Netgalley I knew I had to read it. Ben Macfarlane is a repatriation doctor, meaning if you are in trouble abroad then he flies over to bring you home. Most of his stories seem fairly straight forward but it also shows how alone and resourceful you have to be at 35000 feet. I enjoyed the stories but they didn't make me feel the same as alot of Adam Kay's did. I enjoyed them, dont get me wrong, and they seemed real, I don't want to be reading over exaggerated rubbish but they didn't make me laugh or cry the same as Adam's did. The story of Mrs Dean was the only exception. That story broke me. I also felt like the ending was quite abrupt. Yes, it really did highlight that the job isn't for everyone with Ben's colleague Rebecca leaving for the cruise ships but Ben's future was quite unclear. Did he stay with Cassie? Did he continue with repatriation? It says he works in a London hospital now but why? Did he get fed up with never being home? I was left wanting more. 4.5/5 stars from me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    PETER MICHAEL

    This is a very entertaining and intriguing book about a highly skilled young doctor travelling to overseas destinations to accompany sick and injured patients back to the UK. The book covers a number of short stories about the various medical adventures that the doctor (Ben MacFarlane) has experienced, mainly on scheduled passenger flights. The attention to detail was quite gruesome at times, but added immensely to the narrative. I was impressed with the skills and human empathy that MacFarlane This is a very entertaining and intriguing book about a highly skilled young doctor travelling to overseas destinations to accompany sick and injured patients back to the UK. The book covers a number of short stories about the various medical adventures that the doctor (Ben MacFarlane) has experienced, mainly on scheduled passenger flights. The attention to detail was quite gruesome at times, but added immensely to the narrative. I was impressed with the skills and human empathy that MacFarlane showed to his temporary patients. Also with his inventive procedural skills in utilising whatever items were on hand to save his patients. Not easy in a cramped airliner at 35,000 feet. A similarity to Apollo 13 springs to mind. The costs and complications of being seriously ill overseas and not having the assistance of a accompanying doctor to travel home with, are too frightening to contemplate. From a personal perspective, I have now made a solemn mental note to make sure that I am always covered by a medical insurance whenever I travel overseas! I can thoroughly recommend this read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    C

    Thank you Net Gallery and Thistle Publishing for a digital copy of Holiday SOS by Ben MacFarlane. All these stories are told in a years time. Some are funny, some are scary, and some people I wanted to slap. Ben MacFarlane takes us into his medical job as a traveling flying doctor from Britain. There is a story in between the medical stories just to give us something to follow in his personal life. I shelved this under suspense because these stories are suspenseful. Just read the first story, I w Thank you Net Gallery and Thistle Publishing for a digital copy of Holiday SOS by Ben MacFarlane. All these stories are told in a years time. Some are funny, some are scary, and some people I wanted to slap. Ben MacFarlane takes us into his medical job as a traveling flying doctor from Britain. There is a story in between the medical stories just to give us something to follow in his personal life. I shelved this under suspense because these stories are suspenseful. Just read the first story, I was on the edge of my seat with that one. Some stories I did cringe but couldn't stop. It's amazing how Dr MacFarlane could help these people for one on an airplane and two without a hospital setting with all the life saving tools but he did it. The people I wanted to slap were the woman and her kids, gosh have some respect and their language. Poor Doc. I enjoyed this book and hope if anything happens to myself or family overseas that Dr MacFarlane shows up. I recommend this witty, intense, interesting read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julie Haigh

    Enjoyable medical memoir. I love medical memoirs and have read a few by doctors, nurses, midwives etc. This one is different in that the author tells of his experiences as a repatriation doctor. I had never heard of these before, and didn't know they existed. The book comprises a year in the life of....a month by month account. Ben's job is to get the sick and injured holidaymakers back home again. He escorts and helps them home after illness and accidents on holiday. He might be in Turkey one d Enjoyable medical memoir. I love medical memoirs and have read a few by doctors, nurses, midwives etc. This one is different in that the author tells of his experiences as a repatriation doctor. I had never heard of these before, and didn't know they existed. The book comprises a year in the life of....a month by month account. Ben's job is to get the sick and injured holidaymakers back home again. He escorts and helps them home after illness and accidents on holiday. He might be in Turkey one day, St Tropez the next, etc. Don't think this is all concerned with eg. 18-30 club holidaymakers; irresponsible, heavy drinkers, people on drugs etc. Some are normal families where their relaxing holidays have been cut short by terrible accidents and sudden onset illnesses. This is an interesting read and I really enjoyed it. When I was only 30% into it I had already bought the follow-up book (Cruise Ship SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Doctor at Sea) where he's a doc on a cruise ship-couldn't resist! Looking forward to reading more.

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