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The Prison Doctor

by Dr Amanda Brown

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504415,104 (3.58)2
Horrifying, heartbreaking and eye-opening, these are the stories, the patients and the cases that have characterised a career spent behind bars. Savage beatings, dirty protests, drug addiction, depression and prisoners desperate to turn their lives around, Dr Amanda Brown has seen it all. The no-holds-barred memoirs of a GP who went from working at a quiet suburban practice to treating the country's most dangerous criminals - first in young offenders' institutions, then at the notorious Wormwood Scrubs and finally at Europe's largest women-only prison in Europe, Bronzefield. A doctor devoted to caring for those most of us would rather forget.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
Was about to leave a 3-star when I finished the first two parts, which was quite a big MEH for me; but the last part was so heart-wrenching hence deserved a 5-star on itself. (And no wonder the author's experience inside women prison has become a seperate book!)

For the first two parts, I often find myself criticizing the author for being too soft and emotional towards inmates. But in hindsight, when I'm criticizing her, I'm actually criticizing myself in the past as a vet student being too emotional towards my animal patients thus failed to be a rational and responsible vet. As a patient, I would prefer a doctor treating me as a case rather than as a family, not too cruel but also not too emotionally invested, for what I need is professional health care instead of mental care or emotional support. But I can't say for others, esp not for those with a broken childhood, those without someone to care enough for them, or those who got locked up and isolated from their loved ones. Maybe love and caring are exactly what the inmates lack.

And the last part is what really alters my opinions for this book. While in women prison, the author got to know an entirely different group of inmates than in men prison—most of the residents in women prison are victims of childhood abuse, manipulated relationship, domestic violence and rape, and often fall back to drug addiction because they rely on drug effects to drown out their traumatic experience and memories. Working as a reception doctor, the author have seen residents in and out of prison so frequently as the terms they serve are often too short to get off drug (“detox”), and once they're out, they couldn't find a house to stay in and therefore end up in crackhouses again.

Society should show greater acceptance towards those suffering from traumas and couldn't help but turn to drugs as a means of salvation. Lack of support system is indeed a serious problem; while on the other hand, the shame and fear of being judged by others are what really keeping them away from help. ( )
  puripuri | Sep 9, 2021 |
This book by a doctor working in a large women's prison deals with important and urgent issues and is worth reading for that reason alone. It is a pity, then, that it is not well written. Themes are introduced via examples of prisoners but far too much use is made of direct and reported speech which is dull and not convincing in the way it is rendered, and there is a distinct lack of analysis - so that the overall effect is anecdotal. ( )
  ponsonby | May 30, 2021 |
Read this on the recommendation of a colleague but felt quite underwhelmed. Pretty short book - read in a few hours- easy to read as it's largely a collection of anecdotes, but felt a bit pedestrian. Didn't finish the book feeling that I'd really had much more of an insight into prison health than I previously was aware of. ( )
  Marshmalison | Dec 30, 2020 |
Doctor Amanda Brown trained and worked as a general practitioner for many years but became somewhat disillusioned when the government introduced many changes all to the detriment of doctors and ultimately patients. She took a great leap of faith moved to the prison service and worked at HMP Huntercombe, Wormwood Scrubs,and Bronzefield which incarcerated high profile women offenders and as such was rated the biggest prison of its type in the whole of Europe.

In short this is a wonderful read. It is full of warmth and shows a very passionate and caring woman dealing with many challenging cases on a daily basis. She never questioned her decision to work within the prison environment and truly did make a difference. Many thanks to netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review. Very enjoyable and highly recommended. ( )
  runner56 | Aug 16, 2019 |
Showing 4 of 4
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Horrifying, heartbreaking and eye-opening, these are the stories, the patients and the cases that have characterised a career spent behind bars. Savage beatings, dirty protests, drug addiction, depression and prisoners desperate to turn their lives around, Dr Amanda Brown has seen it all. The no-holds-barred memoirs of a GP who went from working at a quiet suburban practice to treating the country's most dangerous criminals - first in young offenders' institutions, then at the notorious Wormwood Scrubs and finally at Europe's largest women-only prison in Europe, Bronzefield. A doctor devoted to caring for those most of us would rather forget.

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