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Publisher's Summary

The riveting, pulse-pounding story of a year in the life of an emergency room doctor trying to steer his patients and colleagues through a crushing pandemic and a violent summer, amidst a healthcare system that seems determined to leave them behind

ONE OF NEWSWEEK’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022 

As an emergency room doctor working on the rapid evaluation unit, Dr. Thomas Fisher has about three minutes to spend with the patients who come into the South Side of Chicago ward where he works before directing them to the next stage of their care. Bleeding: three minutes. Untreated wound that becomes life-threatening: three minutes. Kidney failure: three minutes. He examines his patients inside and out, touches their bodies, comforts and consoles them, and holds their hands on what is often the worst day of their lives. Like them, he grew up on the South Side; this is his community and he grinds day in and day out to heal them.

Through 20 years of clinical practice, time as a White House fellow, and work as a healthcare entrepreneur, Dr. Fisher has seen firsthand how our country’s healthcare system can reflect the worst of society: treating the poor as expendable in order to provide top-notch care to a few. In The Emergency, Fisher brings us through his shift, as he works with limited time and resources to treat incoming patients. And when he goes home, he remains haunted by what he sees throughout his day. The brutal wait times, the disconnect between hospital executives and policymakers and the people they're supposed to serve, and the inaccessible solutions that could help his patients. To cope with the relentless onslaught exacerbated by the pandemic, Fisher begins writing letters to patients and colleagues - letters he will never send - explaining it all to them as best he can.

As fast-paced as an ER shift, The Emergency has all the elements that make doctors’ stories so compelling - the high stakes, the fascinating science and practice of medicine, the deep and fraught interactions between patients and doctors, the persistent contemplation of mortality. And, with the rare dual perspective of somebody who also has his hands deep in policy work, Fisher connects these human stories to the sometimes-cruel machinery of care. Beautifully written, vulnerable, and deeply empathetic, The Emergency is a call for reform that offers a fresh vision of health care as a foundation of social justice.

©2022 Thomas Fisher (P)2022 Random House Audio

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Meh

Hardly about emergency Medicine. More about social injustice. Which is fine, just was expecting more medical stories.

2 people found this helpful

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This book is a bellwether for change

This book has left me awestruck and dumbstruck and moved to tears of pride and of heartbreak. Pride in knowing the author truly cares and in knowing and feeling his passion for human health, equity and Justice. This author is clearly embarking on a mission to change the healthcare system as we know it. I know this book will be part of that change. The author has artfully and thoughtfully shined a light on so much of what is wrong in our healthcare system. The way be intertwined policy and predicament with sincere letters to patients - and to his mom - it was brilliant and beautiful. This book is a triumph and a bellwether ringing for change. Dr. Fisher is and will continue to make a difference. Not just for the lives of south siders for whom he cares every day, but for our broken healthcare system. Our broken country.

1 person found this helpful

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A sobering must-read

This was a sobering account of the truths about the American healthcare system and how it has failed Black and poor people.

This is a must-read for anyone who cares enough to pursue better health outcomes for all people. This is a human rights issue that demands immediate remedy.

I applaud Dr. Thomas Fisher for having the courage to speak the truth as an insider about healthcare disparities that persist in this country.

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Enjoyed this MD's personal journey through COVID

I was captivated by the experience of this ER doc during COVID and the impact on clinicians and patients during this pandemic. I found most persuasive his explainer on how health inequities not only hurt black and brown patients, but destroy our healthcare system. I liked the way he made his professional experience feel so personal was very compelling. I also enjoyed the letter format and the way he integrated his family into the overall story. Although I am cynical, I am hopeful that the aspirations the author has for our healthcare system provide a roadmap to improve it.