cover image In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope

Rana Awdish. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-11921-6

Awdish’s debut memoir is a compassionate and critical look at medicine and illness from both a doctor’s and a patient’s perspective. Awdish, the director of the pulmonary-hypertension program at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, suddenly saw things from the other side of the table when, late into her pregnancy, she arrived at the hospital where she worked with internal bleeding and a near-fatal preeclampsia condition, called HELLP syndrome. She describes the hospital as “an inner-city hospital with advanced subspecialty services that took care of the sickest of the sick” and recounts that as a patient there, she relearned how to approach patients. The baby died in utero, and for the several years she cycled in and out of the hospital fighting to stay alive with various organ failures that resulted from the condition. Her book is an intimate account of her recovery with the help of her doctors. Over the course of her journey, she comes to understand how doctors fail to fully humanize their patients, arguing that they become more concerned with patients’ symptoms and a diagnosis than with the actual patients themselves. She also provides a self-reflective account of suffering from a chronic illness with the desire to be heard as a patient. She writes of her professional life: “It’s a very different course than the one I set out on all those years ago when I believed healing to be clean, academic and straightforward. It’s far more humble, honest, and informed by an ocean’s weight of suffering.” Awdish has written a unique and insightful memoir. Jacqueline Murphy, Inkwell Management. (Oct.)