Tuesday 5 January 2021

The Prison Doctor - Dr Amanda Brown

Horrifying, heartbreaking and eye-opening, these are the stories, the patients and the cases that have characterised a career spent being a doctor behind bars.

Violence. Drugs. Suicide. Welcome to the world of a Prison Doctor.

Dr Amanda Brown has treated inmates in the UK’s most infamous prisons first in young offenders institutions, then at the notorious Wormwood Scrubs and finally at Europe's largest women-only prison in Europe, Bronzefield.

From miraculous pregnancies to dirty protests, and from violent attacks on prisoners to heartbreaking acts of self-harm, she has witnessed it all.

In this eye-opening, inspirational memoir, Amanda reveals the stories, the patients and the cases that have shaped a career helping those most of us would rather forget.

Despite their crimes, she is still their doctor.

What did I think?

I like to read non-fiction now and again and The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown caught my eye.  You could be forgiven for forgetting that this is non-fiction as some of the stories are as harrowing and shocking as crime fiction but this is real life.

Dr Amanda Brown's writing is vibrant and honest, which makes the reader feel as if they are in the prison hearing the shouts of the inmates and the clank of the doors.  As she has made some monumental decisions in her medical career, Dr Brown does include a little bit of her personal life and I really liked this aspect.  We often don't realise how much a GP practice is run like a business with targets and requirements being imposed that impact the doctor and the practice financially.

Leaving her GP practice was heartbreaking as the patients Dr Brown had cared for over many years were so sad to see her go.  I'm not surprised her patients were heartbroken as she wasn't just a doctor to many of them, she was often also a counsellor and a friend.  Dr Brown comes across as someone who loves her job and gives 100% to whatever task is presented to her.

The stories vary from funny to disturbing so there's a good mix and I'm sure Dr Brown had many stories to choose from.  I laughed at some of the stories from the young offenders institution and I gasped with shock at some of the stories from the adult prisons.  The Prison Doctor really does give a 360 degree of a doctor working behind bars and gives us a glimpse of what life is like for some of the prisoners.

The Prison Doctor is an interesting, disturbing and often funny memoir that provides an honest insight into the challenging life of a modern doctor.  Very well written and incredibly enjoyable reading.

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