Top positive review
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The one Emergency Room visit you'll want to make
on October 11, 2010
Hidden somewhere in the book's introduction is the sobering sentence, "Sooner or later most of you are going to need the services of someone like me." For me, that statement has been verified more than once. And so, I'm grateful to Dr. Goldman for sharing in such a clear and engaging format what it's like "on his side of the gurney".
The E.R. experience is tense enough without the exaggeration we witness in TV dramas. Even though the night shift depicted in the book is really an elaborate composite, I would think it's a good a sample as any. Being recounted in the first person, as opposed to the common alternative (reporting/journalism style) lends it a much deeper, humane aspect.
I particularly like the balanced and highly empathetic view Dr. Goldman takes in his book. He doesn't pander to gore and unlikely theatrics, and uses few literary mechanisms such as "little did I know". Humour and seriousness are well blended. He balances empathy and respect with reasoning and calculated choices. The story is easy to follow and it gets into medical details only to the extent they are needed to explain situations. And in more than one place the story surprisingly digs into Dr. Goldman's own personal history and sometimes painful experiences, which heighten my appreciation for his truly demanding work.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been or might be an E.R. patient. And if you have been a regular listener of his "White Coat, Black Art" show on CBC, let me assure you this book does not duplicate what you heard there. You might recognize a few details or a couple of stories, but this book is something else!