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ss triple helix - Easter 2011,  Feathers in the dust

Feathers in the dust

A hospice doctor's tale
Doctor Trevelyan
Authorhouse 2010
£7.99 Pb 266pp
ISBN 9781452043876

David Trevelyan is the pen name of a hospice doctor who wrote this novel because 'for too many, what happens in a hospice is cloaked in mystery and misunderstanding'. He tells the story of a young surgeon who takes a temporary post at the local hospice. He is given a lot of information about the hospice movement and is introduced to some newer challenges such as clinical governance and care plan protocols.

Once the scene has been set, the pace quickens. David is challenged by the different ways of working that he encounters, and is increasingly impressed by the behaviour of the staff. He grows in maturity and empathy for his patients. A large part of the book is taken up with descriptions of a burgeoning love affair and, finally, David has to decide whether or not to return to surgery.

This book's strength lies in the way the author brings to life complex ethical dilemmas surrounding treatment decisions in a simple and engaging style. There are some intriguing insights into the necessity for good communication and the nature and management of pain beyond mere medication. This simple book could help those seeking a brief introduction to the uniqueness of palliative care.

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