A Matter of Life & Death


As a palliative care nurse, it is Kelly Critcher’s job to look death in the eye – to save a patient while the fight can still be won, and confront death with grace and kindness when it can’t. In early 2020, everything changed for nurses on the NHS frontline. Working in intensive care, Kelly spent the height of the coronavirus crisis at Northwick Park hospital – perhaps the UK hospital most deeply ravaged by the illness. She, and many others like her, battled tirelessly in a critical care unit pushed to breaking point, delivering the bad news and fighting the good fight, day-in, day-out, throughout the gravest test our health service has faced. Kelly’s story weaves together her raw, emotional diaries from the COVID frontline with a broader reflection on the truths about a life spent caught between battling for her patients’ lives and helping them face down death with courage and compassion.

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