In this the 6th collection of posts from Illusions of Autonomy I have explored complex situations through the perceptions and voices of those involved. This exercise is creative, and was inspired by William Faulkner’s 1930 novel As I Lay Dying. In this he describes the final days of Addie Bundren in the voices of 15 different characters. Many have contended that As I Lay Dying owes much to cubism, in that a discrete person or event is viewed from various angles (hence the cover illustration, Picasso’s 1910 panting, Girl With A Mandolin – an example of analytical cubism).
The longer pieces in this collection include The Miss, in which the psychological consequences of medical error are explored; The Hill, which describes the feelings of family members and medical staff around a Do Not Attempt Resuscitation decision; and The Choice, where a young female surgeon looks back on her decision to give up her training after a bullying incident.
In addition there are the usual analyses of current controversies and hot topics, including the Gosport scandal (a possibly unfinished story), the concept of resilience and burn-out in doctors, and my ‘mixed’ response to a hugely successful but difficult book This Is Going To Hurt.