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Summary

In 2000 Dennis O'Donnell was approached to work as an orderly in the Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit of a large hospital in central Scotland.

'I don't know if I'm the man you want,' he told the Charge Nurse. 'I'm not a fighter.' 'I don't need fighters,' the Nurse replied. 'I need people who can listen.'

The Locked Ward is an extraordinary memoir that sets out to reveal the true story of life in a psychiatric ward - the fear, the violence and despair, and also the care and the compassion. Recounting the stories of the patients he worked with, and those of the friends he made on the ward, O'Donnell provides a detailed account of day-to-day life behind the doors of the most feared and stigmatised environment in healthcare. In doing so, he examines the major mental disorders, their symptoms and manifestations, and how certain triggers such as religion, sex, wealth, health and drugs bear influence; the methods of treatment, by medication, therapy and conversation; the love and support of patients' friends and family members; success stories and failures, and attitudes to psychiatric illness, both by the authorities, by those around him - and his own.

Over seven years O'Donnell witnessed the day-to-day lives of people suffering from the most hair-raising illnesses. What emerges is a document of humanity and humour, a remarkable memoir that sheds light on a world that still remains largely unknown.

©2012 Dennis O'Donnell (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful, Poignant, Thought Provoking and Funny

Where does The Locked Ward rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Amongst the top I have heard

What did you like best about this story?

The way Dennis brings you on to the ward and defines the varying personalities he has come across.

What does Dennis O'Donnell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The Glaswegian accent and Colloquialisms used in the anecdotes

Any additional comments?

This book is the very first I have felt worthy of a review in all my years with Audible.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • tipperaryIreland
  • 24-09-15

Fascinating, first hand account

Beautifully narrated and addictive. Great for anyone wanting to work in this area. The difficulties and day to day challenges exposed give the reader an honest perspective of a world that society would rather not see

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emily
  • Northampton, United Kingdom
  • 07-03-14

Fantastic book

Any additional comments?

Be prepared for the thick Glaswegian accent, and abundant bad language! A fantastic book nonetheless; a collection of heartwarming, though at times challenging, anecdotes from Dennis' time working in a psychiatric ward. Fascinating.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • Newcastle Emlyn
  • 30-03-17

A clear insight

Dennis writes a clear, informative book. sometimes funny other times sad. he shows the hard-work by psychiatric nurses and orderlies. it is a sad indictment that mental health takes the brunt of nhs cuts. leaving excellent writing skills Dennis shows the hard side of working with fewer staff causing an increase in violence and a higher risk of injury. Dennis writes with wit and humour.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Well written and well told!

I really enjoyed the vivid and humorous accounts of life on ward 25. Usually listen to this in my car on long journeys. Found my self popping to the shop just for a listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A reassuring view from a professional who cares

A considered and insightful memoir . Well written and good narration. Dennis conveys the real life struggles of patients and staff. This shows the dedication and genuine compassion of many working in this field.
A lot still has to be done to remove the stigma of both staff and patients but Dennis’s sensitive and often funny and uplifting storytelling gives hope.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Brilliant Book!

I listened to this book on my phone whilst knitting socks and I really enjoyed it. There was nothing to really dislike, the odd personal comment from the author rattled my cage a bit but on the whole it was an interesting and thought provoking book. I have mental health issues but have in my working life as a carer had to deal with some difficult people and I hope have shown as much empathy and kindness as the author of this book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The last line is cut off

The book is interesting and fairly accurate, though the treatment of the trans patient is a bit unsavoury. I imagine id like it more if the end of the book wasn't cut off halfway through a sentence and filled with silence.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant

takes a humours approach to a very sensitive subject and makes certain topics easier for the reader/listener to understand. I've listened to this book about 4 times now and it hasn't got boring yet.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

couldn't listen to this...

the accent of the narrator was a bit too strog for my untrained ear and I couldn't enjoy the story as struggled to follow what was being said.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 20-01-12

Narration unbearable

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No; the man has no sense of prose

Would you be willing to try another one of Dennis O'Donnell’s performances?

Under no circumstances.

Was The Locked Ward worth the listening time?

Vary hard to stay with it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca Collins
  • 07-04-15

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author/narrator has a lovely Scottish accent. Dennis O'Donnell is compassionate and does a great job educating others who are not familiar with mental illness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • LawmanDoug
  • 19-03-15

Retiring crim atty says

Interesting as I had served as a medic and lab tech in US Army with some contact with psych wards. I would give a four avg but I couldn't understand the readers dialect. He was bright, interesting and humorous but I have some hearing loss and was at a loss as and frequently rapid strings of words were unintelligible. My British buddy says "don't you Yanks know, we don't share the same language?" But still a good book and the fault of my artillery ears.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura Grandmont
  • 05-01-17

Fascinating!

Excellent memoir, full of humour, compassion, and interesting facts. The author's wonderful accent lends great expression and character. I really enjoyed this one, and only wish it had been longer!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jason
  • 14-09-15

Engaging, funny, insightful

What did you love best about The Locked Ward?

All of it! The story flows beautifully and is worded and narrated like your best mate is telling you a story with passion and animation.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Locked Ward?

The telling of the suicide attempts. Although a raw subject for myself, it's not at all told in a clinical way, it's raw, but not upsetting. The accent and some of the colourful phrases and slang are excellent.

Which scene was your favorite?

Code brown! The scene painted where a patient uses his bowels to try to escape restraint is hilarious

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Laugh! From a chortle to full belly laugh and sore cheeks. I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish with many of the orderly and patients antics, though told with humour, they aren't mocking.

Any additional comments?

I just love the accent of the narrator/author. I initially thought I'd have to return the book because the very heavy/thick brogue was initially hard to understand but as the story kicked in I plugged on listening and found I not only got used to it, it became easy to understand and ended up adding to my enjoyment of the book.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Girl
  • 08-06-15

hard to understand

I read my books in 3 days this one I had to keep replaying and took me 3 weeks because I had to have it on slow mo. frustrated

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Diana Prince
  • 06-05-12

Enjoyable and Educational

I enjoyed this book once I grew accustomed to the reader's (author's) heavy Scottish accent and vernacular. He is a better reader than most authors, on a par with a professional reader. He showed great compassion for the mentally ill subject matters of his memoir of the locked psychiatric ward, as well as a great deal of insight. An all-around good book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful