Event 11 | Dr. Jim Down | Life Support


Dr. Jim DownLife Support – Diary of an ICU Doctor on the Frontline of the Covid Crisis

Jim Down had spent his life as a doctor running the intensive care unit at one of London’s top hospitals, but nothing prepared him for Spring 2020, when the pandemic hit.  In Life Support, he tells the extraordinary story of how he and colleagues donned PPE, received an influx of patients, and faced down the biggest challenge in NHS history.  With warmth, honesty and humour his is gripping personal account of the everyday heroism of the NHS staffing a global crisis.

In conversation with Deirdre Coates

When: Tuesday 9th November 2021 @ 10.00 am
Where: The Bull Ballroom
Sponsored by: Carol Hammick and Adam Tindall


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.

Life Support is Jim’s first book and it has won many plaudits from senior clinicians and journalists.  He grew up in Dorset and still has family here. He is married to an actress he met on the set of Holby City.

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 and 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 disease that threatens our way of life  George Alagiah

Reading Life Support, I was gripped, amazed, appalled and ultimately inspired.  If Jim Down is as good doctor as he is a writer, I’d definitely want him treating me  John O’Farrell.

For further reading:  Pandemic-has-shown-best-humanity-Dr-Jim-down

Deirdre Coates is Chair of the Trustees of the Bridport Literary Festival

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