The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER

One World. Mar. 2022. 272p. ISBN 9780593230671. $27. SOC SCI
Fisher (emergency medicine physician, Univ. of Chicago) delivers a captivating blend of memoir and social commentary describing his struggle to serve patients “in a health care system that is deeply unjust and dangerous.” Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Fisher was compelled to help his community. After completing his medical training at Dartmouth and Harvard, he returned home to work in the local emergency room. Fisher’s ER is often the only health care facility that Chicagoans can access easily, and Fisher tenderly describes the vast scope of patients and their ailments. He writes of yearning for more time to spend with his patients and to give them the best medical care possible but is frustrated by the institutional and societal barriers in his way. The book also deftly explains inequities in health care that have long been in existence but have especially come to light in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The book includes a foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
VERDICT Shedding light on the social justice implications on the health care system and an important snapshot of a grim moment in time, this account will appeal to a wide range of readers. Highly recommended.
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