William Heinemann has acquired The Doctor With No Skin and Other Stories by the British psychologist Dr Caroline Elton.
Editorial director Tom Avery pre-empted world English-language rights from Patrick Walsh at Conville & Walsh Ltd.
Elton is a chartered psychologist who specialises in helping medical doctors. For over 20 years, she has listened as doctors have unburdened themselves of the pressures of their jobs: with examples ranging from the obstetrician whose own fertility treatment failed; the disabled junior doctor whose colleagues could not bear his imperfections; the trainee oncologist unable to treat patients suffering from the disease that killed her father.
Drawing upon hundreds of case studies and decades of "pioneering" work in the UK and overseas, The Doctor With No Skin promises "a provocative, perceptive and deeply humane examination" of the modern medical profession.
Dr Elton studied at the University of Oxford, the University of Pennsylvania and at University College London. She has held a number of prominent positions working with doctors, including head of the careers unit for NHS London and head of the extended medical degree programme at King’s College Medical School. She has written extensively about doctors, the problems they face, and how best to support them, and is a frequent speaker at conferences in the UK, Europe and the USA.
Avery said: "At a time when the NHS faces existential threats from all sides, it is important to be reminded of the immeasurable contribution of medical professionals to life in Britain today. The Doctor With No Skin offers a new perspective on what it means to be a doctor – revealing the difficulties of caring for others, as well as the rewards. It is a miraculous first work of non-fiction from a writer and thinker of rare ability, and one that we hope will improve the doctor–patient relationship for ever."
Walsh said: "As patients we expect our doctors to be competent and kind, but of course we remain more interested in our own problems. As readers, though, we’re fascinated by the secret world of medicine and here Caroline Elton slices through the medical world from the completely unique perspective of the psychologist to whom unhappy doctors turn for help. These stories will have readers of Henry Marsh and Atul Gawande hooked."
The Doctor With No Skin will be published by William Heinemann in 2018 and in paperback by Windmill Books in 2019