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Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room

206 pages4 hours


One of the first emergency room specialists reflects on a career full of mysteries, disappointments, and redeeming triumphs in this fast-paced and enjoyable memoir
Each chapter is a succinct and moving anecdote, even as Seward weaves his own story and wider philosophical and ethical questions through each episode
Seward's is decidedly not a doctor-as-god narrative; rather, he acknowledges the nurses, hospital support staff, patients, and patient families who together have made him the physician he is today
For fans Of Oliver Sacks, Leslie Jamison, etc
Patient Care captures the mystery of medicine in one of the most high-stress environments: a medical team struggles to decide how to help a baby born with radical deformities; a patient with a pair of gardening shears lodged in the back of his neck is conscious and answering questions as doctors prepare him for emergency surgery; a drowned boy is resuscitated nearly an hour after the fact with no ill effects; a man struggling to breathe develops air pockets under his skin
Dr. Paul Seward details in clear, unflinching, and accessible prose the most memorable cases of his life, while reckoning with the moral implications of each encounter
Taken together, Dr. Seward’s experiences explore what it means to be a doctor, and after fifty years, to still have more questions than answers
The first book acquired by Catapult associate editor Megha Majumdar, a rising star in the industry
"We expect a lot from our doctors, especially in the emergency room at a hospital or clinic. And most of them try to do their best to help us when we need it. But they, too, are human and subject to panic attacks, forgetfulness, and anxiety. When things go right, we’re grateful. When things go wrong, we can be angry, suspicious and confused. When things go wrong, it may be the doctor’s or nurse’s fault, or it may not. Not everything is that easy to judge. Dr. Seward’s debut is about what it is like to be an emergency room physician, under stress, expected to make rapid decisions that can save—or lose—lives. In it, he helps us understand, but he also urges physicians to add gentleness and understanding to their daily routines. I found this to be a very revelatory book." —Linda Bond, Auntie's Books (Spokane, WA)

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