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29 July 2020

Audiobook Review: Critical by Dr Matt Morgan *AD Gifted

Simon & Schuster Audio UK sent me a free audio review copy of Critical by Matt Morgan via NetGalley.

I'd had my eye on this book anyway since I'd heard good things since its release, so when it came to testing out the new NetGalley app to see if it would work for me, I jumped at the chance to request it. The app doesn't work so well for me, but the audiobook certainly did.

Critical by Dr Matt Morgan cover, surgeons peering down from above, masks on and tools in hand.

Following in the wake of hugely successful medical memoirs such as Do No Harm and Fragile Lives, Critical is an intelligent, compelling and profoundly insightful journey into the world of intensive care medicine and the lives of people who have forever been changed by it.

Being critically ill means one or more of your vital organs have failed - this could be your lungs, your heart, your kidneys, your gut or even your brain. Starting with the first recognised case in which a little girl was saved by intensive care in 1952 in Copenhagen, Matt writes brilliantly about the fascinating history, practices and technology in this newest of all the major medical specialties. Matt guides us around the ICU by guiding us around the body and the different organs, and in this way, we learn not only the stories of many of the patients he’s treated over the years but also about the various functions different parts of the body.

He draws on his time spent with real patients, on the brink of death, and explains how he and his colleagues fight against the odds to help them live. Happily many of his cases have happy endings, but Matt also writes movingly about those cases which will always remain with him - the cases where the mysteries of the body proved too hard to solve, or diagnoses came too late or made no difference to the outcome.

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Source: NetGalley, Review Copy

5 Word Review: Health, medicine, history, research, dedication.

Doctor Matt Morgan narrates the book himself and does an excellent job - the anecdotes are particularly poignant with the inflection of personal experience. I loved the narration, the emotion and the pace. I like when authors narrate their own books, it add extra life and meaning to the audiobooks.

I think this is a difficult one to review - while it was fascinating it also felt deeply personal, and absolutely heartbreaking at times. It's a pretty harrowing read and the stories about the patients are full of heart. They were actual people, with lives and families and unexpected tragedy waiting just around the corner.

I loved the dives into medical history and innovation, from when ICU first starting becoming a thing in hospital and all of the gruelling work put in my doctors and nurses and students, and yes the patients too. I liked how it was split up into different parts of the body, the different parts that could go wrong and how the care can differ.

This is an excellent audiobook and perfect for fans of This is Going to Hurt and Unnatural Causes.


  1. Not my kind of read unfortunately, but I'm sure it's interesting!

  2. This sounds incredibly interesting! I am going to look into this one!

  3. I don't tend to really enjoy anything medical as such (thanks anxiety!) but I did read Do No Harm a while back and did quite like it however!


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