Thu, 22 April 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

Life Support – An ICU Doctor Reports On The Frontline of the COVID Crisis

Dr Jim Down in conversation with Hannah MacInnes

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How do you fight a new disease? How do you go home at night to your children when you’ve spent all day around infectious patients? How do you tell a mother that her young son has died, only days after falling ill?

As a doctor running the intensive care unit at one of London’s top hospitals, Jim Down has spent his life working as healthcare’s last resort, where the unexpected is always around the corner, and life and death decisions are an everyday occurrence.

But nothing had prepared Jim and his team for the events of spring 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic descended. In this livestream event, he will tell us the extraordinary month-by-month story of how as the nation came to a standstill, he and his colleagues donned PPE, received an unprecedented influx of patients, transformed their hospital and ultimately faced down the biggest challenge in the history of the NHS.

With warmth, honesty and humour, Jim will offer a gripping, moving testament to the everyday heroism of the NHS staff in a global crisis, and an unforgettable insight into what was really happening in the wards as we clapped on our doorsteps.

Praise for Jim Down’s Life Support:

‘One of the doctors with the most hands-on experience of Covid-19 in the country’ – Edward Docx, New Statesman

‘Deeply affecting – a personal memoir that grips, harrows, inspires and, ultimately, uplifts with its vein of deep humanity’ Philippe Sands, author of East, West Street

‘Jim Down’s Life Support is essential reading for everyone who has been affected by Covid-19, which is to say everyone. Beautifully written, it combines warmth, humour and science to give a portrait of one of the most important but least understood parts of any hospital by one of the UK’s pre-eminent ICU physicians’  – Dr Chris van Tulleken

‘This is the struggle against covid-19 unfolding in real time … it is a story of how some of our most gifted and dedicated medical practitioners have been brought to the very edge of their abilities and endurance and how they came through, scarred but wiser … above all it is a very human story about how people – medics and patients alike – found common cause in the face of a nasty speck of a disease that threatens our way of life’ – George Alagiah

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Dr Jim Down

Consultant In Critical Care, UCL Hospitals

Dr Jim Down is a consultant in critical care and anaesthesia at University College London Hospitals. He chairs the ICU consultants’ group, the department of anaesthesia weekly scientific meetings, and the UCLH Trust guideline committee. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has been on a new full-time, full-shift clinical rota for ICU, and was appointed Trust Lead for Ethics.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.