Fisher, Thomas. The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak In a Chicago ER. One World, 2022. ISBN 978059323067 pp. $27
ER doc Tom Fisher intersperses his dispatches from a South Side Chicago ER during the pandemic with letters to patients, colleagues and family regarding issues around healthcare in America. A Black doctor who grew up in the community he serves, he uncovers many injustices in the system from inequitable treatment of VIP and uninsured patients to systemic racism to failure of treatment of medical issues that develop into untreated chronic then terminal illnesses.
The narrative is short, engaging and fast-paced with most unfamiliar medical terminology explained in context. The epistolary sections are long, dense, well-cited essays, connected to a real person (or composites) from the previous chapter’s shift narrative.
Dr. Fisher operates from a unique perspective, well-versed in not only medical practice, but also policy. The entire book represents a bleak outlook when his own mother can’t get fast-tracked and is one of the many Black patients sent home undiagnosed and in pain; hopefully, this will have some impact with owners, insurers, investors and other key stakeholders to make real, much-needed change.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #TheEmergency via #NetGalley.