cover image Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story

Inferno: A Doctor’s Ebola Story

Steven Hatch. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-08513-9

Hatch, a physician and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, rivetingly recounts his work in an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia at the height of the deadly West African outbreak in 2014–2015. He breathtakingly narrates his “battle of a lifetime” while retaining a steely-eyed focus on the human tragedy. From the first death Hatch witnesses to the first survival of a patient under his care, he chronicles what it meant to go from “watching the world’s leading story to being the world’s leading story.” Professionally, he appreciates the critical role of nurses and the importance of touch, faces his own failures, and evaluates the good and bad of media coverage. On a personal level, Hatch gives stunning witness to the devastating loss caused by Ebola, including that of a father who survived the virus who then cares for his dying son. “We all knew that the [unit] was a place of hellish misery,” yet “despite that knowledge, we were able to keep on with our jobs,” Hatch writes. “Our cheer and hope were among our only weapons in the darkness.” Hatch’s chronicle is a compassionate, clear-eyed, and courageous account of how compassionate medical care proves a formidable force against the ravages of Ebola. Agent: Andy Ross, Andy Ross Agency. (Mar.)