White Hot Light: Twenty-Five Years in Emergency Medicine

Harper Perennial. Aug. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780062937339. pap. $16.99. MED
Physician Huyler first demonstrated his artistry with his book of vignettes, The Blood of Strangers, inviting readers into the day-to-day of the emergency room. Reprising this format with his newest collection, Huyler writes from his current frame of reference: a veteran doctor who has experienced difficulties both professionally and personally. The vignettes in this latest collection are short, strong, and sometimes unsettling. Some stories take us into Huyler’s past and present personal life; some into the lives of his patients as he sees them either in the ER or in different units of the hospital. Similar to Michael Stein’s Broke: Patients Talk About Money with Their Doctor, this work features patient stories combined with a personal account of a doctor in the field. Throughout, we learn about the hopes and fears of nurses working alongside Huyler, and we come to see that he defines himself, in part, by his work and his relationships with others.
VERDICT Recommend reading for those interested in the human story behind emergency room medicine, both the stories of those who work in that field and the stories of those who need the services. Also recommended for those who enjoy personal essay collections.

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