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Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives

by Grim, Pamela

Format: Kindle Book 2008
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An emergency medicine physician for nearly a decade, Dr. Pamela Grim has delivered babies, treated heart attacks, saved car accident victims, comforted the dying, and consoled the living who were left behind. She has worked all over the world, caring for victims of gang life in America's inner cities, victims of the war in Bosnia, poverty-stricken patients in Nigeria, and bank presidents in the United States. Relating these rich and varied experiences with compelling prose, Dr. Grim takes readers into the E.R. and lets them experience first-hand what it takes to make split-second, life-and-death decisions in the course of an average day. And with unflinching honesty, she conveys what it's like to be a caring physician with one of the most demanding, exhilarating, frustrating, and rewarding jobs in the world.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Grim's book is not just another tale of bloody messes, chaos, and life or death in the ER. Grim is in emergency medicine partly because she sees the larger picture that reveals why patients end up there, and readers are in for some major social, political, and ethical jolts. Most of the book is about the U.S., but Grim has also practiced in Nigeria and Bosnia with Doctors Without Borders. Her descriptions of conditions in those countries, especially how little their rulers care about the unfortunate, are graphic and forceful. Major changes are needed, and unless internal or external pressures spur them, there will be devastating trouble. Grim's U.S. experiences have included work in inner-city neighborhoods, in which gangs and violence reign, and amid such rural poverty that, in one instance, a small hospital couldn't call a helicopter for a desperate patient because previous bills for the service hadn't been paid. As a realistic portrayal of emergency medicine and a thought-provoking examination of social and political ills, this is a most important book. --William Beatty"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "An ER doctor who has spent time in Nigeria and Macedonia with Doctors Without Borders, Grim isn't just a committed physicianAshe's a kind of philosopher of life and death. In her first book, she tracks how it feels to repeatedly witness sickness and death. She tells tales about the alarmingly high mortality rates she encountered in Africa during a meningitis epidemic; the premature, barely breathing and crack-addicted babies she's delivered; the victims of automobile accidents and child abuse and street violence she's treated in the ER. In terse, understated language, Grim explains what motivated her to do this work (her mother was an alcoholic) and how she got burnt out (which ironically led to her decision to go abroad, where she'd imagined the pace would be slower). Along the way, she conveys both the day-to-day experience of doctoring and the broader difficulties of providing medical services in countries where poverty means basic medical supplies are not available. "I know how it is to be angry," she writes. "All the other emotions just get in the way of being a doctor." Therein lies her strength but also her weakness: she makes clear the development of her defense mechanisms; the more she witnesses brutality, the more she retreats from the grief that overwhelms her when a patient dies. One of these defense mechanisms is an impatient cynicism (regarding drug addicts, for instance); while this clearly has made her heroic efforts as a doctor possible, it doesn't serve her well as an author. At times a sharply brittle tone intrudes on this otherwise moving account of the medical profession's dark side. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Biography & Autobiography
Publisher Grand Central Publishing2008
Language English
ISBN 9781599957371