Life and Death Decisions

(Trade paper)
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''Just brilliant... The book of the Decade.'' - Tim Flannery

I found Dad dead on the side of a dirt road. I was sixteen; he was forty-nine.

After Lachlan McIver''s father suffers a sudden, fatal heart attack it sends him into a spiral of grief and outrage. This tragedy inspires him to become a doctor and he eventually finds his calling - providing care for communities in some of the most remote and neglected parts of the world.

In this no-holds-barred memoir, Lachlan recounts his experiences treating patients and tackling health problems across dozens of countries, from rural communities around Australia and the islands of the South Pacific, through natural disasters and civil war zones, to the headquarters of the World Health Organization and Mdecins Sans Frontires (Doctors Without Borders) in Switzerland.

Lachlan is forced to confront not only the frustrations of trying to provide medical care in extremely under-resourced environments, but broader crises such as health inequities, climate change and drug-resistant infections. He also faces his own personal battles, including with depression, alcohol abuse and bankruptcy.

This is a deeply human look at the personal cost of our broken global health system, and how we must work together to change it for the better. It''s what we need right now.


''Life and Death Decisions tells us the very human stories that shine a light on some of the biggest challenges of our time, including climate change and inequality. Lachlan''s work in some of the most difficult places on earth brings a better understanding of how much we all have in common and why it is so urgent to work together to solve these urgent problems.'' - Dr Kate Gregorevic, author of Staying Alive

''An honest, powerful and riveting book that demonstrates Lachlan''s courage in the face of the hardest of circumstances.'' - Levison Wood, author of Walking The Nile

''Life and Death Decisions cuts close to the bone. McIver deftly dissects the malaise of modernity in a memoir that pulls no punches, that''s set against the backdrop of the climate crisis, and drug resistant bacteria in the arse end of times. Life and Death Decisions is all at once brave, funny, shocking, and down to earth in one human''s outrageously honest account of humanity.'' - Aaron Smith, author of THE ROCK: looking at Australia''s heart of darkness from the edge of its wild frontier.

''To call Life and Death Decisions a memoir is to undersell the vast importance and reach of this outstanding, brilliant work. Lachlan McIver''s book is a gripping, masterfully written account of humanity writ on both its largest scale and its most intimate detail. It is a forensic and anatomical exploration of the heart-breaking challenges of global health inequity, all the while written with joy, honesty, vulnerability and optimism. Life and Death Decisions is a full-on blast of humanity, articulated so powerfully it is impossible to put down, and it gives the reader an all-access pass to humanitarian medicine. McIver takes us on a wild ride across the planet, into the homes and the hospitals of the poverty-stricken, the corrupt, the violent, as well as the places of family and love, with a devastatingly piercing eye for the details that matter. Reading Life and Death Decisions as a doctor had my heart-racing so many times, I finished the book in one sitting, spent. A book as important as this comes along only once in a generation or so, and it not only deserves a wide readership, but commands it. These are the words, and deeds, of hope.'' - Dr Michelle Johnston, author of the novels DUSTFALL and TINY UNCERTAIN MIRACLES

''Lachlan is a wonderful, colourful and courageous storyteller. This medical memoir highlights some critical challenges we are facing.'' - Tania de Jong AM. Soprano, Global Speaker, Social Entrepreneur, co-Founder Executive Director of Mind Medicine Australia