Holiday SOS

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

I truly hope there is another book in the pipeline. This is a field that I know very little of, so this book was absolutely fascinating.

I never knew that there were companies that contracted medical personnel to accompany very sick individuals. It seems both rewarding and extremely challenging at times.

This book reminded me a lot of the book Air Babylon. So if you liked that, then you will absolutely love this book.

A small warning. Some of the scenes described in the book are graphic. So if you are squeamish about blood and bodily functions read with caution.

Thank you to the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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A truly funny, unique and absorbing medical memoir by the author, a “modern flying doctor,” who recounts a year in his life traveling to help people with medical crises on vacation or business. I never knew such a doc existed and he’ll captivate you with tales of galloping to the rescue via the deep blue skies. 4/5

Pub Date 08 Nov 2018

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. 

#HolidaySos #NetGalley
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Die besten Geschichten schreibt das Leben - für jeden der Spaß hatte an dem Doktor und dem lieben Vieh, hier kommt die moderne Version vergnüglicher Unterhaltung rund um Doktor und Patienten.
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Loved this book. A warm and witty account, engagingly written. It held my attention throughout.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Thistle Publishing who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

As a medical professional, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is not often that we see the style of medicine that others practice. This is certainly true for doctors who are called upon to bring home patients who are "medically stranded" internationally. While the writing style at times lacks depth and the individual stories jump without much cohesiveness, the book as a whole is fantastically told. If read as individual stories, this book will highlight the rarely told sagas of international medical transport in a way you have never read before. Very entertaining!
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I had no idea this is what could happen to one who gets sick over seas! Does every country do this??? Does the country, health care provider, insurance send a doctor to the person?? Interesting. Anyway, the stories were certainly unique. I just could not fathom a doctor from ones country coming to one's rescue. Some of  the stories were humorous (even if horrifying) others bought up subjects  I would never have thought about at all. I mean, you're over seas and become ill in a foreign country and maybe no one speaks your language- scary! Makes me wonder if I'd even want to travel too far out of my own comfort zone. I speak several languages very haltingly. I would hate to have to depend on them in an emergency. Thank heavens for Dr. MacFarlane, and others like him!  Short chapters can be read individually as each deals with a different issue and person(s). Interesting book.
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"Holiday SOS : The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor" by Ben MacFarlane.

5 stars.  
Doctor Ben MacFarlane tells all about the people he's helped get home after an accident.   I loved it!
A well written memoir that's entertaining, full of emotions.  You feel like you are in the plane with him and his patients, looking at what was happening, the care given, the (sometimes funny) discussions...
If you loved Royal Pains (tv show, books) you will enjoy this book full of interesting stories and won't want to put it down.  It is never boring! 
I also really loved the cover. 

Thank you NetGalley and Thistle Publishing for letting me read this book for an honest review.  All opinions are my own! 

Review shared online on NetGalley, Goodreads, Twitter...
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This is the memoir of an insurance  doctor who repatriates seriously ill  holiday makers back to the UK. It is narrated over a one year time period and it is a fascinating read.  Some illnesses are not for the faint hearted and after some horrendous accidents which some holidaymakers befall I swore I would never go on vacation again! I did not know what to expect from this book but it turned out to be an interesting read not only about illness but also about human nature and how adversity effects different people very differently. As we all go on holidays I would recommend this book everyone to read - maybe after the holidays.
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I have previously read this type of biography/autobiography and thoroughly enjoyed it. So far I have read a few teacher ones, including a Gervase Phinn titles. One of the first books of this genre I read and totally adored was the Diary of a Checkout Girl by Tazeen Ahmad. I hadn't really given much thought to how people that have accidents or are taken ill abroad are brought home safely. 

The cover depicts an image of the central character/person in the book who is also the author, Ben MacFarlane. The title Holiday SOS fits the book perfectly and in a few of the cases that Ben attends to there is certainly a "Save Our Souls" element to them! Then there's the "Sun, Sea and Surgery" byline which certainly attracts your eye to it. Thee guy representing Ben is wearing a white Doctors, along with a bright pair of shorts! and has a large holdall trolley of medical supplies.

This book is full of amusing quotes and amazing stories of what situations people find themselves whilst abroad. Ben started doing repatriations as a way of earning a little money but some became addicted to the lifestyle and the travel element of the job. Ben loves seeing different places. Its not all work and sometimes whilst he is abroad on a job he gets to do some sight seeing and experience the local areas for a few hours. This book reminded me of a couple of air hostess diary/books that I have read too. The camaraderie, the "gallows humour", and the blunt honesty of the books. 

One of the first jobs Ben shares with us is the story of Toby Martin Harris who is from London. Toby is a usually fit and well young man. His medical history is good, in that he is not on any regular medication, has no known allergies, and no blood problems. His family history is clear too with no history of heart disease, cancer, strokes or epilepsy. Toby is at the moment stranded in a Turkish Hospital after being "scooped up" off a Turkish roadside. It is Ben's job to check Toby over, and decide whether he is fit to leave hospital and well enough to board a flight home with Ben at his side to monitor him on the homeward flight.

The book also contains the banter between the Doctors, Nurses and office workers. The boss in charge who does both the repatriations and the office work is Jackie. Jackie and Ben have a friendship that becomes stronger throughout the book. Jackie suspects she could be seriously ill but want to bury her head in the sand. Then it comes to the point that Jackie cannot hide her illness and she confides in Ben who tries his best to be there when she needs to talk and be sympathetic though he also administers some tough love telling her she needs to go to a Doctor instead of self diagnosing to find out exactly what it is that she is fighting against.

There's quite a lot of rivalry and competition around who gets both the best jobs in the best places along with who can do the best sight seeing or best experience abroad whilst on a job. Then on the other hand when all the workers get together there is a bit of a who has bragging rights to the worst stories of the types of people they rescue and the worst accident/incidents they have had.

There is a lot of comedy within this book but don't think its all fluffy and amusing there are some pretty sad and poignant stories especially one elderly lady who cries because she is so alone yet so happy to see Ben arrive to take her home. 

I loved the way those doing the repatriations buy chocolates and gifts for the guys back in the office to attempt to bribe them so they are given preferential treatment in getting access to the best jobs.

We see the whole experience good and bad through Doctor Ben's eyes and then see a little from a newbie nurses perspective. She likes the sound of seeing different parts of the world and has the relevant qualifications she just doesn't have the confidence in herself to think on her feet and improvise should the need arise. Every one tries to reassure her, they even send her of trips with others to increase her confidence. 

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were Interesting read. Kind of like a diary/journal about the life of a Doctor who takes care of those who are taken ill or have an accident abroad. This book was interesting, humorous, and informative! 

I also think whoever reads this book would never ever go abroad again without great holiday insurance.
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A dramatic opening chapter that immediately grabs your attention.
Dr MacFarlane narrates interesting recollections of repatriations of various patients he's dealt with. The care that he gives to each situation is very unique and attentive.
As someone who will in all likelihood never fly in first-class, I loved the descriptions of the cabin and flights of the various first class flights he'd taken - especially the one to Dubai - ultra luxurious.
There were some wonderful stories that touched a person's heart deeply. And the kindness of strangers when things went wonky on the various flights just humbled a person.
It was fascinating that even while Dr MacFarlane was busy with his patients he notices the small things his fellow passengers do for him.
As a big fan of medical dramas this book fell perfectly into my likes. I found it very well-written with an interesting view into a career that I never knew even existed.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the chance to read this book.
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Dr Ben MacFarlane gives us a fascinating insight into his time as a flying doctor, repatriating British patients back to the UK, after various medical mishaps in locations all around the world! The doctor has some funny embarrassing cases, so really bad diagnosis, and some sad,. I laughed a bit through this one. It made itt look fascinating to travel and be a doctor.
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The Life-Saving Adventures of a Travelling Doctor

Every wonder what happens when someone is on vacation or holiday if you live in Europe, and they get sick or have an accident and can't travel home by themselves? Well, if you have insurance or are rich enough, you can have a doctor or nurse to come and take you home.

This is that story. Ben is the traveling doctor and his book is set up as months, but in reality it's a culmination of some of his best and most adventurous patients, of times when things went very wrong in the air or even before that. If you're a little squeamish on bodily fluids, this may not be the book for you.

I found the whole story fascinating. I'm not sure I like to fly well enough to do it, but it certainly was a way for him to see the world: from Brazil to Las Vegas to France to Spain to Lapland and more, he got to travel it all. He also got to put in chest tubes and do CPR at 35,000 feet as well. And now, I shouldn't say more, but that gives you the idea that the book isn't dull.

It is written in the style of England, so it is holiday instead of vacation and they got to hospital instead of to the hospital as I would say. It really didn't distract from the book once I got used to it. The bigger distracter and negative for me was the language. I know the author was only repeating the words of his patient and, in the one case especially, it might have been difficult to fully leave them out since it seemed to be a part of every sentence. However, I wouldn't want to recommend it to anyone else in an off-hand recommendation because of that.

I received this book from Net Galley and was not required to write a positive review.
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An absolute delightful tale of a traveling doctors profession.   He had such passion and sentiment with regard to his patients.  Never knew there was such a profession.   Anyone who travels wold certainly enjoy his humor and predicaments.
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This is an ideal holiday read -NOT!!  Ben MacFarlane works in a hospital but yearns for a chance to see the world. When he hears about people, with medical experience, being required to escort "at risk" travellers home from around the world, for insurance companies, he applies and gets the job. What follows is a collection of anecdotes about real life incidents in which he becomes involved. Some are hilarious, some are gritty but in every one of them you appreciate the very real responsibility faced by Ben as the accompanying medic. Yes he gets to travel to exotic places and, yes, sometimes he has a day or two before he has to fly out with his patient but, blimey, the job requires stamina, medical skill and the ability to think on your feet.  Thanks to Ben ,we as readers, get the chance to understand the job of escort at first hand and, speaking personally I take my hat off to him for his patience and endurance. At the end of the book, we find Ben is back working in a hospital - wiser, well-travelled and much more confident in coping with responsibility and decision taking.  Clearly this is written by a really sensitive guy who cares for each and every patient. An excellent read.
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Interesting snapshots with a thin interlinking 'story'. Okay if you want to dip in and out. Not for those of a nervous disposition. I wouldn't class this as a novel.
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This was surprisingly a very entertaining memoir. Dr Ben MacFarlene goes around the world to repatriate, back to England,  patients in need of medical assistance for their return home.  Ben enjoys his work, his coworkers and most of his patients ( some of those patients are hard to like ).  A quick read, gives an insider's glimps of various predicaments travellers find themselves in. Some of the trips back home are sad, uneventful or medical nightmare, but all under the watchful eye of a companionate and very resourceful doctor. 
Thank you NetGalley, for providing this title in return for an honest review.
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A very informative and interesting read on what doctors do when they need to bring sick or injured travellers back home. A very human-interest story on different cases such doctors come across, on their relationships with patients, each other and everyone they meet along the way.
Need to warn you: some spots are very graphic (medical details) and some spots are even funny.
If you have a long-haul fight anywhere you might as well read this one. So you’d know what and whom to except if anything happens to you on your travel.
And yes, doctor comes if you have travel insurance. Do not forget it.
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Enjoyable medical memoir.

I love medical memoirs and have read a few by doctors, nurses, midwives etc. This one is different in that the author tells of his experiences as a repatriation doctor. I had never heard of these before, and didn't know they existed. 

The book comprises a year in the life of....a month by month account. Ben's job is to get the sick and injured holidaymakers back home again. He escorts and helps them home after illness and accidents on holiday. He might be in Turkey one day, St Tropez the next, etc. Don't think this is all concerned with eg. 18-30 club holidaymakers; irresponsible, heavy drinkers, people on drugs etc. Some are normal families where their relaxing holidays have been cut short by terrible accidents and sudden onset illnesses.

This is an interesting read and I really enjoyed it. When I was only 30% into it I had already bought the follow-up book (Cruise Ship SOS: The Life-Saving Adventures of a Doctor at Sea) where he's a doc on a cruise ship-couldn't resist! Looking forward to reading more.
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In his debut novel, Holiday SOS, Ben MacFarlane describes the life of an itinerant doctor who travels around the world to bring injured clients home to the UK on behalf of insurance companies. McFarlane relates several amusing anecdotes  about the patients he meets, their injuries and the travelling involved in bring them back to the UK. He interweaves the stories of his patient recoveries with minutiae of his romantic life and the office politics. 
Surprisingly MacFarlane's descriptions of medical procedures, tourist destinations and everyday life make for enjoyable, light reading. In addition, this book will make you think twice about refusing travel medical insurance on your future trips! Well written and highly readable!
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I love books like this, ones that expose the behind the scenes sides of certain jobs. Earlier in the year I read Adam Kay's book 'This is Going to Hurt' which wasn't dissimilar so when I saw this pop up on Netgalley I knew I had to read it.
Ben Macfarlane is a repatriation doctor, meaning if you are in trouble abroad then he flies over to bring you home. Most of his stories seem fairly straight forward but it also shows how alone and resourceful you have to be at 35000 feet.
I enjoyed the stories but they didn't make me feel the same as alot of Adam Kay's did. I enjoyed them, dont get me wrong, and they seemed real, I don't want to be reading over exaggerated rubbish but they didn't make me laugh or cry the same as Adam's did. The story of Mrs Dean was the only exception. That story broke me.
I also felt like the ending was quite abrupt. Yes, it really did highlight that the job isn't for everyone with Ben's colleague Rebecca leaving for the cruise ships but Ben's future was quite unclear. Did he stay with Cassie? Did he continue with repatriation? It says he works in a London hospital now but why? Did he get fed up with never being home? I was left wanting more. 4.5/5 stars from me.
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