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I Will Need To Break Your Other Leg - tales of medical adventure and misadventure

A collection of stories about the differing challenges faced by one particular doctor in the contrasting settings of India, Nepal and the UK

A collection of stories about the differing challenges faced by one particular doctor in the contrasting settings of India, Nepal and the UK

As the title alludes to, this book contains 25 stories, which can be read at random as each stands alone. They are, however, arranged to take the reader through author Prasanna Gautam's journey from training in India, to his return to his native Nepal and onto England and Scotland where he eventually worked as a consultant geriatrician.

He is a gifted storyteller who describes the scenes, patients and other characters, all of whom are based on real people and events, in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. He makes us aware of the lack of equipment and facilities in his homeland of Nepal and how he muddled through with a mixture of faith, skill, ingenuity and some luck, but also the loneliness which can be encountered in the UK where social support is supposedly heralded.

He touches on the local politics and meets arrogance, corruption and racism on his way but what shines through is his compassion for his vocation and the empathy he shows to his patients. As well as his triumphs he admits to mea culpas, but learns from them as we all should do.

Being a geriatrician in secondary care you sense his regret on occasion at his inability to follow up some of his patients he has discharged, which is an advantage we have as GPs. By the end of the book it made me glad once more for my choice of vocation, by reading his insights into the unique doctor-patient relationships we encounter.

This book would be enjoyed by the wider public and not just people of a medical background as he explains medical jargon in layman's terms, although they will miss the occasional inaccuracy - metatarsals in the hand and stemetil, otherwise known as betahistine.

Overall a thoroughly entertaining book that can be read in one sitting or be dipped into and out of.

Rating: 4.5/5

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