BOOK REVIEW | Prescription: Ice Cream

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A Doctor’s Journey to Discover What matters

By Alastair McAlpine


In 2018, Alastair McAlpine, a palliative paediatrician in Cape Town, decided to share some inspiring thoughts from the children in his care.

He posted:

I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know. Here are some of the responses.

An engaging memoir

Their simple yet profound answers went viral, found their way into homes across the world and touched the hearts of millions. Yet it was never McAlpine’s plan to find himself in this position.

Challenged from all sides by crippling addiction, a brutal internship and a deadly HIV pandemic, McAlpine’s journey was very nearly derailed.

Prescription: Ice Cream is his engaging memoir about the highs and lows of working as a medical doctor in South Africa and how, with a little help from metal music and ice cream, he was able to struggle on, find meaning in the chaos and inspire others.

About the author

Alastair McAlpine is a paediatric infectious diseases physician who was born and raised in Johannesburg. His passions include preventing infections in kids, listening to noisy bands and encouraging his colleagues to prescribe ice cream more frequently.


  • Publisher Pan Macmillan South Africa |
  • ISBN | 9781770108042 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R350.00 |
  • CLASSIFICATION | Viewpoint |



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