Something for the Pain: One Doctor’s Account of Life and Death in the ER

Paul Austin, Author . Norton $24.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-393-06560-2

With a relentlessly honest look at modern emergency medicine, Austin, a former firefighter now living in Durham, N.C., writes in his debut book of his transformation to a highly capable ER doctor struggling to stay one jump ahead of death in the crowded critical care ward. The book begins deftly with Austin, a sleep-deprived physician, trying to avoid mistakes stemming from fatigue by relying on his instincts, frequently both skill and luck, to treat patients with gunshot wounds, brain tumors, asthma, heart ailments and general problems. In a narrative blur of flashbacks, he tells of his career as a firefighter before landing in medical school, which was followed by an internship at a local hospital and marriage to a lovely nurse and having a family. What makes this inspiring medical memoir stand out is the courageous measure of Austin’s humanity in taking on the endless weight of suffering, and what he becomes to his co-workers, his patients, his family and his community. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-393-06314-1
Paperback - 297 pages - 978-0-393-33779-2
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