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In Shock

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

The Book in Brief

In Shock is a riveting first-hand account from a young critical care physician, who in the passage of a moment is transfigured into a dying patient. This transposition, coincidentally timed at the end of her medical training, instantly lays bare the vast chasm between the conventional practice of medicine and the stark reality of the patient.

Hauntingly perceptive and beautifully written, it allows the listener to transform alongside her, and watch what she discovers in our carefully cultivated, yet often misguided standard of care. The author demonstrates through engaging narrative and laser-sharp wit how the unbearable is borne. She comes to understand the fatal flaws in her profession and in her own past actions as a physician. She also achieves, through unflinching presence, a crystalline vision of a new and better possibility.

Dr. Awdish fashions an elegant, yet urgent call to action. As she finds herself up against the same self-protective partitions she was trained to construct as a medical student and physician, she artfully illuminates the dysfunction of disconnection. Shatteringly personal, and yet wholly universal, she offers a brave roadmap for anyone navigating illness. 

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"Awdish's book is the one I wished we were given as assigned reading our first year of medical school, alongside our white coats and stethoscopes...dramatic, engaging and instructive." ―The New York Times Book Review

“Awdish's story is grueling: a catastrophic miscarriage, multiple organ failure, the uncertainty that accompanies a sudden medical crisis. In Shock searches for a glimmer of hope in life’s darkest moments, and finds it.”

―The Washington Post

"A very important book. Awdish looks at the way we practice medicine with a combination of love and outrage. After reading this book, I feel like a different doctor."

―Dr. Gabriel Weston, author of Direct Red: A Surgeon's Story


Outstanding... What marks it out is not the scale or urgency of the trauma, although I read the first chapters at such a pace that I almost had to remind myself to breathe. It is the writing. It sparks and crackles with a dark energy... The writing is not just intense, but intelligent... In Shock stands above other patient memoirs.

― The Sunday Times, James McConnachie

Tense, powerful and gripping... her writing style is often nothing short of beautiful - evocative and emotional.

― The Observer, Adam Kay

In Shock is both an enthralling page-turner and a haunting call to arms for the medical profession to practice with greater kindness, compassion and humility. Awdish captures beautifully how and why doctors, against our best selves, can lose sight of our patients in furious pursuit of the diagnosis, the save, the cure. Anyone – doctor or otherwise – whose life has been touched by illness will be transfixed by this deeply moving tale of catastrophic illness and everything it teaches us.

―Rachel Clarke, author of Your Life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor's Story

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