Critical: Stories from the front line of intensive care medicine

Critical: Stories from the front line of intensive care medicine
Pub date 30th May 2019
Original publisher Simon & Schuster (UK)
International publishers Yilin Press (China), Idea Shelf (Korea), Insignis (Poland), 20/20 (Portugal), Eksmo (Russia)




An intelligent, compelling and profoundly insightful journey into the world of intensive care medicine and the lives of people who have forever been changed by it.

Being critically ill means one or more of your vital organs have failed – this could be your lungs, your heart, your kidneys, gut or even your brain. Starting with the first recognised case in which a little girl was saved by intensive care in 1952 in Copenhagen, Matt writes brilliantly about the fascinating history, practices and technology in this newest of all the major medical specialties. Matt guides us around the ICU by guiding us around the body and the different organs, and in this way, we learn not only the stories of many of the patients he’s treated over the years, but also about the various functions different parts of the body.

He draws on his time spent with real patients, on the brink of death, and explains how he and his colleagues fight against the odds to help them live. Happily many of his cases have happy endings, but Matt also writes movingly about those cases which will always remain with him – the cases where the mysteries of the body proved too hard to solve, or diagnoses came too late or made no difference to the outcome.


Praise for Critical 

‘A very special book filled with stories of survival, hope and loss.’ – Adam Kay, author of the best-selling book This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

‘I loved it. So carefully written and obviously as a doctor, I could totally get behind the stories of Gram and the origin of ICU, but the patients…just so touching. I love the exploration of what it means to survive, at what cost and so on. A lovely book.’ – Dr Nikki Stamp, author of Can You Die of a Broken Heart? A Heart Surgeon’s Insight Into What Makes Us Tick

‘A gripping realism of life in intensive care that reminds us how fragile is life. Written with humility and insight this is an intriguing glimpse into a world of life-saving decisions. It is life affirming and hugely reassuring.’ – Professor Dame Sue Black, author of All That Remains: A Life in Death

‘Compassionate and moving… Morgan provides a rich array of stories and characters. Alongside the cases studies, he details the development of the medical practices and technology – from the iron lung to ultrasound – that have helped make such life-saving procedures possible.’ – The Observer

‘An illuminating, compassionate insight into the fascinating world of intensive care.’ – Leah Hazzard, author of Hard Pushed


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