Bodies, by Jed Mercurio

Written by the same person who was responsible for the TV series "Cardiac Arrest", which I thought was brilliant, and favourably reviewed everywhere, I was very much looking forward to reading this book.

The book follows the fortune of a newly qualified doctor (I'm not sure if you find out his name) working as a junior house officer in a hospital, putting up with ridiculous hours, unhelpful nurses, and senior consultants who are incompetent but who you daren't upset because you rely on them for a reference. This is a different world from that portrayed in "Casualty" and yet it is worryingly believable.

In the course of the book, a series of patients appear, and plenty of detail is provided on their ailments and treatments, with a glossary of terms at the back of the book to help explain some of the terms that pepper these descriptions, which tends to enhance the believability.

The storyline that overlays this has our doctor responding to the pressures he's under by a gradual numbing of his emotions, with consequent damage to his relationships in his personal life.

Although it was a compulsive read, I was a bit disappointed as it seemed to me to be pretty much a re-hash of CA, with many of exactly the same themes (as I remember), including our lead character struggling (albeit briefly) with a dilemma over how to reconcile his Christian faith with what he sees going on in the hospital. I wonder if Jed Mercurio has any other stories to tell.

Completed : 11-Apr-2003

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