I started and finished the book in a couple of days, as I found it so enthralling and could not wait to see the outcomes.
It was a most enjoyable read from many perspectives. It gave me a great opportunity to reflect in depth on the pleasures and some of the problems associated with clinical practice and teaching, and on some of the difficulties with clinician-administrative linkages in hospitals.
I’ve had the privilege of meeting weekly over the last three years with the same small group of medical students, seeing patients with them and acting as teacher, tutor and mentor. We address clinical interviewing and examination, professionalism and ethics. There is no shortage of ethical themes arising from the patients the students see, as well as those we see together, but your novel is also a great source of additional issues to discuss. It would make great reading for clinical students, and also as a basis for discussions with them.
I admired and in many ways could readily identify with Dr Nevsky until the very end of the book, after the sexual encounter with his registrar… It seems to me a pity that there was not more discussion of the issues around and the magnitude of this transgression, after which Nevsky seemed to return to practice, almost as before.
I was also struck by Ursula Timoshenko’s behaviour after she was found to have a life-threatening condition. My experience, based on several similar patients with hypochondriasis as a “way of life”, is that their anxiety and behaviour changes completely after such a diagnosis. My patients all became surprisingly calm and accepting and so much easier to manage, almost as if they’d been just waiting the whole time to develop something sinister.
I do look forward to your next novel!