Written From The Frontlines Of The Pandemic, Rachel Clarke’s Memoir ‘Breathtaking’ Is A Must Read

Weeks before the first wave of Covid-19 overwhelmed Britain last spring, palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke came down with symptoms that, any other year, would be a dead ringer for the common cold. But one in particular gave her pause: an usual degree of breathlessness. Her husband, a pilot, had recently flown back and forth from Lombardy, where the first major European outbreak was in progress. She suspected he might have exposed her and wanted to get tested for Covid-19, but didn’t meet the criteria. “This isn’t for me,” she urged the call center worker who picked up when she called the hotline. “It’s to make sure I don’t walk back into my hospice as patient zero and infect all the patients I’m trying to look after. Can I be tested to make sure that doesn’t happen?” The answer was no. The loss of breath is a recurring theme in Clarke’s latest book, Breathtaking: Inside the NHS in a Time of Pandemic, an intimate and impassioned account of her experience on the frontlines of Covid-19 from January to April 2020. In that time, the virus spread from China to Italy to London to Oxfordshire, the location of the hospice where Clarke usually works and the NHS hospital where she eventually volunteers. But as designated wards overflow with intubated patients and the death toll climbs ever higher, another refrain emerges—the loss of trust between frontline medics and their national government. Read full article on Forbes
© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.