Author(s): Dr. Rana Awdish
At seven months pregnant, intensive care doctor Rana Awdish suffered a catastrophic medical event, haemorrhaging nearly all of her blood volume and losing her unborn first child. She spent months fighting for her life in her own hospital, enduring multiple major surgeries and a series of organ failures. Every step of the way, Awdish was faced with something even more unexpected and shocking than her battle to survive- her fellow doctors' inability to see and acknowledge the pain of loss and human suffering, the result of a self-protective barrier hard-wired in medical training. In Shock is Rana Awdish's searing account of her extraordinary journey from doctor to patient, during which she sees for the first time the dysfunction of her profession's disconnection from patients and the flaws in her own past practice as a doctor. Shatteringly personal yet wholly universal, it is both a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness and a call to arms for doctors to see each patient not as a diagnosis but as a human being.
"Awdish looks at the way we practice medicine with a combination of love and outrage. She writes beautifully about the secret, shameful feelings many doctors feel they have to hide and she shows us how we might do better. After reading this book, I feel like a different doctor." -- Gabriel Weston, author of Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story "Devastating and life-affirming all at the same time. As a fellow physician and mom, I found myself immersed in In Shock, both by Rana Awdish's description of her heartbreaking losses as well as her triumphs of making it back to life repeatedly, to ultimately tell this story so beautifully. She reminds us all of the critical importance of maintaining our 'human-ness' when we are taking care of the very ill." * Lynn E. Fiellin, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine * "Perhaps the bravest book that I have ever read in its gripping honesty and powerful lessons. An unrivaled view of healthcare as it really is - its triumphs and missteps - through the riveting, nakedly honest story of a physician who became seriously ill ... reads like a page-turning novel." -- Leonard L. Berry, PhD, Regents Professor, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement "When Rana Awdish's brief description of her medical experiences was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, one leading health care expert (who did not know Rana) tweeted that everyone who takes care of patients should read it. The same is true for In Shock, her book that describes her medical ordeal and the insights that flowed from it. Her story of her clinical problems and what she experienced as she endured them reads like The Odyssey. The moment toward the end when she takes the stage to describe her experiences for her medical colleagues is nothing less than electrifying. And the insights about the nature of healing with which she concludes her book are an inspiration." -- Tom Lee, Chief Medical Officer for Press Ganey Associates, Inc. "This book is remarkable - should be required reading for every medical caregiver. In Shock is so beautifully written, so full of wisdom about illness, emotional connection and ripe with ideas for improving communication with my patients. I was so moved by Dr Awdish's courage, resilience and passion to improve medical practice." -- Jeffrey Millstein, MD, Penn Medicine
Dr Rana Awdish is an intensive care doctor and the Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Programme at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Dr Awdish's mandate is to improve the patient experience across the system and speak on patient advocacy at health care venues across the US. She lectures to physicians, health care leaders and medical schools across the country. She was awarded the Speak-Up Hero award in 2014 for her work on improving communication in medicine, and was named Henry Ford Hospital's Critical Care Teacher of the Year 2016.