So I had a week off (yeah I did the “taking a break from Twitter” thing that everyone talks about) and actually think it did me the world of good.

I’d like to talk about various points made in the last week over medical writing during a pandemic...
I think people who follow me know that my feelings on this are clear, and I know what I’m going to say is probably just preaching to the converted, but someone defending COVID memoirs wrote a long thread defending it, and I think with the dust settled, a rebuttal is only fair
So there was an argument about picking on one authors new book was misogynist.

I think the first thing to say was that there were plent of women on twitter who had something to say about this too. This was not “men lining up” to take a pop.
The next thing is that medtwitter spends a lot of its time taking the piss out of things regardless of sex. Doughnut hating cardiologists, Facebook stalking vascular surgeons, people threatening to resign, men drunk tubing their mate with a knife. We are an equal ops piss taker.
The fact is this - many of us find that taking the memories of a patients final moments to use it for a chapter of book which is then sold for literary entertainment (and that’s what books are) to be at Best uncomfortable and at worst unethical.
Many of us find that writing a book about a disease where people die breathless and scared, and then call it “Breathtaking” to be in poor taste.
What is common to both new COVID memoirs, that many of us agree on, is that it’s simply too soon. The ITUs maybe empty of COVID but the nation isn’t. The threat of a second wave is causing anxiety amongst NHS staff, and yet memoirs are coming out?!
So let’s address specfic arguments:
“But it’s anonymous/a composite!”

Maybe so, but both books are guilty of reasonably high profile doctors using the memories of patients in their final moments. My personal view is if a high profile Dr was looking after my dad, I’d have one eye on whether notes were being taken
I was once asked how I’d feel if I met one of these people or has to work with them. My answer was I’d be worried I’d end up in chapter 4.

I just don’t think anonymisation makes it ok when you are so well known.
“But there’s plenty of memoirs about all sorts of things!”

Most memoirs are written by the person experiencing the thing thats happened, or by a family member. Not their doctor.
“People write about real life all the time!”

Again usually the person experiencing it, or those close by. Have you read Take a Break magazine? People selling their stories of abuse for £250, written like Mills&Boon. Sometimes writing about real life is exploititive.
“But (author 1) is an ex-journalist, shes the right person to do it!”

Ed Sheeran is a skilled guitarist. Do I think the songs he crafts are any good? No.

Whether someone is good or bad writer is equally subjective. Many of us find the memoir writing style to be saccharine
We have all read enough anonymous Guardian healthcare articles to know that many of them are written in a way to 1) Make the job look really hard and 2) tug on heartstrings. You may think that’s good writing. I do not.
I also find previous guardian articles in which Grenfell tower and the #MeToo movement were used to draw obscure comparisons to NHS funding to be poorly conceived.
The fact is, this argument is a matter of opinion. Some people love Ed Sheeran and hate Eurovision. Others are the other way round (others are correct...). And the same goes for medical memoirs.
“But it might help people? I wouldn’t mind if someone wrote about my dead dad!”

But both books aren’t being sold as self help books in the time of corona. They’re memoirs. And again, matter of opinion.
And again, I want the doctor looking after me/my dad to be thinking about me/my dad. When I was doing local stand up to 5 people in a pub in Warrington, patients would half seriously say “oh! Well don’t do anything about me!”
“What about Henry Marsh/Adam Kay?”

Both doctors are not working. I have slightly more time for people doing it once they’ve retired.

That’s not to say I’m not critical. I’ve made jokes about Kay turning up to photo shoots in scrubs when he’s long retired from medicine.
And you know, if he wrote a book with a crass title playing on the illness itself, I’d take issue with that too.
Then there’s a wider issue about the defence of these books and the attempts to shut down our opinions.

“You’re being sexist” well I think we dealt with that.

“This is a pile on!” No. It’s many people from healthcare expressing the same opinion.
There has been little attempt by defenders of medical literature to try and meet is part of the way. They are right and we are wrong and horrible.
I can see that some people will enjoy reading both these memoirs. Some may even get comfort from it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think the title of one is poor, and that both are released too soon and have confidentiality concerns. But their supporters never see our concerns
And of course no one should be getting abuse. Again, saying “Ed sheerans new song is rubbish” is to my mind better than @‘ing him to tell him. So no, people shouldn’t be @‘ing either author.
Right. Let’s leave it there.
When I say leave it there, I mean I’ve run out of things to say. Of course comment. @ me, disagree/agree.
One more point (because I always do this after I ended a thread)

“But book 2 is for charity!”

Ends dont justify the means
You can follow @SamuelBS85.
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