Review

Review: Doctor’s Notes by Rosemary Leonard

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3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Last week I discussed the careers of book bloggers, and shared with you all that I aim to one day be a museum curator. But what I somehow failed to mention (don’t ask how) in that post is that my current job is a medical receptionist. It’s an interesting job, both enjoyable and very stressful at times. So when I saw this book on Bookbridgr I had to request it, to compare Rosemary’s stories to my own experiences!

There were some truly hilarious stories, and others that were really quite shocking. For example, within the same week Rosemary saw three teenage girls who’d all recently gotten pregnant and were happy to keep the baby as their boyfriends had proposed. And then a couple of weeks later, all three girls came back with another problem. Turns out they all had gonorrhea, had all been seeing the same man, who had gotten them all pregnant and proposed to each and every one. Although on occasion the detail in some tales was a bit grisly and graphic, the information about various medical conditions was fascinating. And of course there were bits that were possibly only funny if you work in a GP surgery – such as rushing to fulfill QOF targets before the end of the financial year (which we were doing at the end of March this year).

However, whilst it was quite enjoyable, at times it felt a little… uncomfortable, in a way. Obviously when it comes to healthcare there is a MAJOR emphasis on confidentiality, and this felt almost like it was breaching that trust at times. I know the names and identities were changed but still – what if someone featured in the book read it and recognised themselves? Sure, no-one else could, but that person would feel humiliated and betrayed. And then of course that left me feeling conflicted over whether I should really have found some of those stories funny, as they happened to real people and had real consequences. The writing style also reminded me of ‘true life’ stories in those trashy magazines that we love to hate (‘My father is also my brother!‘, I married a serial killer!‘ etc). Unfortunately, what let the book down the most in my eyes was how judgmental I felt Rosemary was at times. She makes far too many comments on class and appearance, and whilst I understand that doctors may see people in a different way because they’re used to making visual assessments, there was really no need for it here.

Overall, a light and quick read – occasionally cringe-inducing and able of making the reader feel rather uncomfortable – but interesting nonetheless. Worth the read if you work in a similar environment, if only for the familiarity.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Doctor’s Notes by Rosemary Leonard”

  1. This sounds like a very interesting topic, but at the same time I would probably be worried about the whole confidentiality issue too. Even if the author didn’t use real life cases entirely, she must have based them on some people – real people, who might feel antagonized 😦 Plus the fact that the she is slightly judgmental doesn’t help the case either. Not sure if I will go for it.

    1. It was interesting, but yep, the confidentiality made it feel a bit voyeuristic. I think it will be more appealing to people who work in that sort of area, to compare stories.

      You know, I wonder if some of them were made up? Or at least exaggerated. I know she’s got years and years of experience to talk about, but still…

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