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John Rickett

John Rickett
Having trained as a doctor first at Cambridge University and then at London’s Guys Hospital John specialized in general surgery in a busy district general hospital in Torbay, South Devon. During his working life he was always interested in outcomes and efficiency and pioneered a system of audit looking at his results at the time when such were not otherwise available. Subsequently a system was set up to embrace all specialties and this is now considered a standard part of the work of every unit. Again, ahead  ...See more >

"Together, Rickett's commentary and his son's light touch chronicle the intricacies of' man's wartime condition, at which official records and most battle accounts only hint."

Kirkus Reviews


Kirkus Star: Stretchers Not Available: THE WARTIME STORY OF DR. JIM RICKETT


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-1467008983
Page count: 284pp

Rickett, in his nonfiction debut, astutely backs out of the way, letting his father’s journals of wartime doctoring—and life, as it happened between the emergencies—carry the day.

Like any good physician, Dr. Jim Rickett paid close attention to the mental and emotional well-being of those around him. He often recorded those details in diary entries and letters to his wife, Dorothy. His remembrances dance from observations of human perseverance to the classic British stiff upper lip: “[T]his morning there was some more machine gunning, but I was safely tucked away having a bath.” Such baths were left behind, though, when Rickett was pulled from his community practice to scratch a field hospital out of nothing on the tiny isle of Vis off the coast of Italy and Yugoslavia, piecing commandos back together as they returned from raids on German-controlled islands in the Adriatic Sea. He was soon revealed to be a man in his element, bartering boots for supplies and, when operating, balancing the need for light against the strict requirements of a wartime blackout. His world was a time and place where, out of necessity, blood for transfusions could be stored in old wine bottles. The younger Rickett steps in only occasionally, deftly footnoting medical terms or establishing historical context. World War II neophytes won’t be left to drift, and war buffs will still appreciate this graceful, intelligent account from a man who unexpectedly found himself directly, intimately besieged on the front lines.

Together, Rickett’s commentary and his son’s light touch chronicle the intricacies of man’s wartime condition, at which official records and most battle accounts only hint.