RogerBW's Blog

War Doctor, David Nott 22 December 2019

2019 non-fiction. Nott is a general and vascular surgeon who uses his leave to volunteer with MSF in combat and disaster zones.

This is another Book of the Week condensation – though, like the Marie Colvin biography, since it seems to be mostly individual incidents it doesn't appear to suffer badly from the condensation. (I gather that the book has more talk about Nott's work outside the immediate environment of the operating theatre, but that's entirely elided here.) I'd also like to know whether in the full book there are any incidents in which Nott lost a patient.

The writing is generally pedestrian, but competent, and Nott reads reasonably well. The descriptions have clearly had to be simplified for the non-medic, but one can easily skip over the explanatory parentheses if one already knows where the femoral artery is and why it's important.

One doesn't get a full explanation of why Nott feels such a strong urge to risk his life doing this stuff, but I'm not at all convinced that he knows himself.

Definitely a book that I'd like to read properly.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog.

See also:
In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, Lindsey Hilsum


  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 04:34pm on 29 December 2019

    I've read the actual book and would recommend it. Very harrowing in places. And yes, he loses patients.

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