SHORTCUTS – Roopa Farooki on grief, betrayal and Boris

January 21, 2022. Series 5. Episode 38

In this week’s Shortcut episode, we are joined by award-winning author and junior doctor, Roopa Farooki.

In February 2020, Roopa – who is the daughter of the celebrated Pakistani novelist, Nasim Ahmed Farooki – lost her sister Kiron to breast cancer.  Then weeks later she found herself struggling to cope in an overstretched and under-resourced ITU department, caring for the critically ill Covid-19 patients who were arriving daily at an alarming rate.

Her powerful memoir Everything is True, acclaimed by the Guardian as a 2022 must read, is a story of bravery at a time of personal grief and professional crisis – written in snatched moments between 13-hour shifts.   It’s both moving and at times shocking with its brutally honest account of life on the NHS frontline.

Roopa is not a woman to hold back about the challenges she and her colleagues faced, not least for her and others in the higher risk BAME demographic, but also of the betrayal she and others have felt following the No10 party revelations.

As she says: “It still makes me angry, that while we were giving up an ITU bed for our Prime Minister they were not even personally following the rules that they put in place for the population, rules which were robbing relatives of their last moments with their families.”

This is an immensely revealing and timely Crisis Shortcut episode providing a powerful perspective on the Covid crisis.


Roopa’s Crisis Cures:

1 – Routine. I think stick to what creates comfort in your routine. I always do half an hour of exercise and that includes a bit of yoga and I always feel better for doing it.

2 – Writing.  I write a bit every day to try make some sense of what’s happening in my life. As opposed to reading or doom-scrolling through what everyone else has thought, I think sometimes collect your own thoughts and to put them down. I think that’s really, really helpful for me.

3 – Believe in what you’re passionate about. For me I’ve always been passionate about looking after my patients and providing care. There is nothing else that I would rather do than do what I do every day.




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