The Sky Was Falling: A Young Surgeon's Story of Bravery, Survival, and Hope (Hardcover)

The Sky Was Falling: A Young Surgeon's Story of Bravery, Survival, and Hope By Dr. Cornelia Griggs Cover Image

The Sky Was Falling: A Young Surgeon's Story of Bravery, Survival, and Hope (Hardcover)


Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

The dramatic, unforgettable, and ultimately cathartic diary of a young pediatric surgeon and mother working on the front lines as the COVID-19 pandemic hit one of New York City’s busiest hospitals.

In the spring of 2020, many of us were sequestered in our homes, attempting to teach our children and learn to bake while the pings of news alerts and wails of sirens reminded us of the devastation outside. Dr. Cornelia Griggs’s experience was nothing like ours.

A pediatric surgery fellow in New York City, Griggs was entering the final victory lap at the end of nine grueling years of training. She was set for a big graduation celebration and looking forward to spending some real time with her husband and two toddlers.

When COVID-19 arrived, Griggs initially encouraged her friends and family not to panic. But as mysterious cases began showing up in the hospital, and then hospital supplies started disappearing from shelves, she couldn’t hold back the feeling that this was going to be worse than she had thought. Out of frustration and fear, she penned a startling op-ed in The New York Times that went, for lack of a better word, viral. The piece was read by over a million people, and Griggs appeared on CNN.

Now, she is completing her story. The Sky Was Falling is her day-by-day account of the staggering case numbers, dwindling respirator supply, and lack of clarity on how to treat this new disease. Harrowing and deeply personal, it reads like an all-too-real white-knuckle thriller and describes how healthcare professionals went beyond what they thought they were capable of to heal their patients, and themselves.
Dr. Cornelia Griggs is a triple board-certified pediatric surgeon. She completed medical school at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she graduated with Alpha Omega Alpha honors. She completed her adult general surgery residency and surgical critical care fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she currently practices. She is a graduate of Harvard College and earned a certificate in health policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Her writing has been published in The New York Times and many top medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine.

Product Details ISBN: 9781982168483
ISBN-10: 198216848X
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: March 12th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
“A thoroughly absorbing read: Vividly told, dramatic, goose-bumpy, gripping, and terrifying. Dr. Griggs brings us onto the wards—and into her own mind—as she and her fellow doctors engage in battle against the virus.”
Leslie Stahl, 60 Minutes correspondent

“Pediatric surgeon Griggs shares her frantic experiences during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic in this poignant debut memoir . . . Interspersed throughout are gripping passages about performing complicated surgeries on young patients and flashbacks illuminating Griggs’s path to becoming a surgeon. Her well-calibrated combination of polemic and personal history will keep readers glued to the page.”
Publishers Weekly

“As a doctor who worked through that terrible spring of 2020, I was familiar with the story Cornelia Griggs tells in The Sky Was Falling, and yet I tore through this raw and riveting book in one sitting with my heart in my mouth. Unsparingly honest, The Sky Was Falling will surely be a classic among the growing body of Covid-19 narratives.”
Suzanne Koven, MD, author of Letter to a Young Female Physician and Writer-in-Residence at Massachusetts General Hospital
“In eloquent prose, Dr. Cornelia Griggs recounts her experiences on the front line of the Covid pandemic. Her unique perspective—melding the personal, as a young mother, and the professional, as a skilled doctor—both deeply educates and powerfully elevates the reader. Covid is still with us, and there will be other epidemics in the future. The Sky Was Falling is an essential work that provides lasting insights and lessons for the individual and society.”
Jerome Groopman, MD, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think and Recanati Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
“This gripping memoir of life during the pandemic inside one of New York’s greatest teaching hospitals – NewYork Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center – is as brave as it is moving. The Sky Was Falling has it all – the lack of masks and attempts to censor doctors who spoke out, an ER doctor who took her own life, a legendary transplant surgeon who almost died, and the gladiators of health care who fought to save their beloved city. Griggs’s rigor and mission are inspiring.”  
Marie Brenner, author of The Desperate Hours: One Hospital's Fight to Save a City on the Pandemic's Front Lines

“A recommended purchase . . . a remarkable insider's view . . . this debut author’s writing style and fast-paced story will appeal to readers interested in a behind-the-scenes look at hospital operations and personnel during the COVID pandemic.”
— Library Journal