AN OBSERVER PICK FOR NONFICTION TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2021 'Deeply affecting - a personal memoir that grips, harrows, inspires and, ultimately, uplifts with its vein of deep humanity' Philippe Sands 'One of the doctors with the most hands-on experience of Covid in the country' Edward Docx, New Statesman A powerful, moving account of an intensive care doctor's life on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic As a doctor running the intensive care unit at one of London's top hospitals, Jim Down has spent his life working as healthcare's last resort, where the unexpected is always around the corner, and life and death decisions are an everyday occurrence. But nothing had prepared Jim and his team for the events of spring 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic descended. In Life Support, he tells the extraordinary month-by-month story of how as the nation came to a standstill, he and his colleagues donned PPE, received an unprecedented influx of patients, transformed their hospital and took on the biggest challenge in the history of the NHS. The pandemic raised difficult questions for Jim: how do you fight a new disease? How do you go home at night to your wife and young children when you've spent all day around highly infectious patients? How do you tell a mother that her healthy young son has died, only days after falling ill? With warmth, honesty and humour, this book is a gripping, moving testament to the everyday heroism of the NHS staff in a global crisis, and an unforgettable insight into what was really happening in the wards as we clapped on our doorsteps. Product description Review 'An extraordinarily frank book laced with humour and self-deprecation' ― The Times 'Down is an ideal narrator ... three quarters of the way through Life Support I start weeping' -- Tanya Gold ― Daily Telegraph 'Deeply affecting - a personal memoir that grips, harrows, inspires and, ultimately, uplifts with its vein of deep humanity' -- Philippe Sands 'One of the doctors with the most hands-on experience of Covid in the country' -- Edward Docx ― New Statesman 'A deeply moving and beautifully written account of what life was truly like for our frontline ICU teams during the first wave of COVID-19' -- Dr Kevin Fong 'Reading Life Support, I was gripped, amazed, appalled and, ultimately, inspired. If Jim Down is as good a doctor as he is a writer, I'd definitely want him treating me' -- John O’Farrell 'I can't think of a more important and compulsive book to come out of the Plague Year. Read and weep with gratitude for the NHS and doctors like Jim Down' -- Rachel Johnson 'Jim Down's Life Support is essential reading for everyone who has been affected by Covid-19, which is to say everyone. Beautifully written, it combines warmth, humour and science to give a portrait of one of the most important but least understood parts of any hospital by one of the UKs pre-eminent ICU physicians' -- Dr Chris van Tulleken 'Reading this, I felt humbled. Written with great clarity, as well as humour and compassion, this is an extraordinary account of life on the Covid frontline, of the expertise and the dogged, unending labour of those who attempt to keep the rest of us - however sceptical we are, however careless - alive' -- Lissa Evans, author of V for Victory 'This is the struggle against COVID-19 unfolding in real time ... it is a story of how some of our most gifted and dedicated medical practitioners have been brought to the very edge of their abilities and endurance and how they came through, scarred but wiser ... above all it is a very human story about how people - medics and patients alike - found common cause in the face of a nasty speck of a disease that threatens our way of life' -- George Alagiah About the Author Dr Jim Down is a consultant in critical care and anaesthesia at University College London Hospitals. He chairs the ICU consultants' group, the department of anaesthesia weekly scientific meetings, and the UCLH Trust guideline committee. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has been on a new full-time, full-shift clinical rota for ICU, and was appointed Trust Lead for Ethics. This is his first book.