Critical by Dr. Matt Morgan @dr_mattmorgan @simonschusterUK #Critical #NetGalley #BiographiesAndMemoirs

Critical: Science and stories from the brink of human life by [Morgan, Matt]


‘A very special book filled with stories of survival, hope and loss.’
Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

‘This book offers real insight into life and death medicine.’
Dr. Michael Mosley

‘This book is marvellous: buy it, share it, recommend it…. We are fortunate to have dedicated, caring and humble folks such as Doc Morgan on the Critical Care front line. We are even better off when a writer can capture all that this exciting, mad, glorious and even exasperating job means. If you work in healthcare, know somebody that does, or simply inhabit a body then this book is for you: in fact it’s critical.’
Peter Brindley MD FRCP Can FRCP Edin FRCP Lond Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Anesthesiology, Medical Ethics University of Alberta

‘Just wonderful. I love the exploration of what it means to survive, at what cost and so on. Such an important factor and it’s a real problem with what we do. An old surgeon once told me ‘just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Operating is the easiest thing in the world, not doing so is incredibly challenging’. A lovely book.’ Dr Nikki Stamp FRACS Cardiothoracic and Transplant Surgeon and author of Can You Die of a Broken Heart?

Critical is an intelligent, compelling and profoundly insightful journey into the world of intensive care medicine and the lives of people who have forever been changed by it.

Being critically ill means one or more of your vital organs have failed – this could be your lungs, your heart, your kidneys, gut or even your brain. Starting with the first recognised case in which a little girl was saved by intensive care in 1952 in Copenhagen, Matt writes brilliantly about the fascinating history, practices and technology in this newest of all the major medical specialties. Matt guides us around the ICU by guiding us around the body and the different organs, and in this way, we learn not only the stories of many of the patients he’s treated over the years, but also about the various functions different parts of the body.

He draws on his time spent with real patients, on the brink of death, and explains how he and his colleagues fight against the odds to help them live. Happily many of his cases have happy endings, but Matt also writes movingly about those cases which will always remain with him – the cases where the mysteries of the body proved too hard to solve, or diagnoses came too late or made no difference to the outcome.


Critical: Science and stories from the brink of human life


This is a story written with tremendous knowledge, a big heart, and real life and death stories as it follows the first patient in a critical care unit to present day patients. If Dr. Matt Morgan is as talented as a doctor as he is a writer then his patients are truly blessed.

This book follows only a few real-life cases from the time that they come into the ICU to the time they either leave to go onto a specialised ward for their care to prepare them for home or it becomes the place that their lives end. The ICU department is for the extremely ill or injured patients that require 24-hour intense care with specialised nurses. The patients have a wide variety of conditions with the only common factor being that they may not survive or could survive but need various degrees of help.

Dr. Morgan takes the reader to the very beginning in 1952 Copenhagen and how the first unit came about. I really liked that this part of the story followed the young patient through her miles stones in life, not just until she was discharged from the unit.

One of the most import things that come across in this book is this Doctor’s ability to connect with not just the patients but all of the people that would be affected with this patients accident or illness. He stresses the importance of communication between family members, just in case, they will ever be faced with difficult decisions and know what their relative would like to happen.

This is a real must-read book from a doctor that cares not just about the medical needs but the patient too. The family that is left to make choices often make them for their own wants, rather than the best of their loved one. This book is written from the heart of someone that wants to make everyone aware that one way or another death will come to us all. We should talk and be clear if it is in the ICU, that everyone knows what you would want to happen and be prepared to follow and respect your wishes.

Highly recommended!


Matt Morgan

I am an intensive care doctor, scientist, teacher, geek and author interested in medical education and public engagement. I want to take you on a tour of my world in my book “Critical”.


Twitter: @dr_mattmorgan


Critical: Science and stories from the brink of human life by [Morgan, Matt]


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