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Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER

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Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER Cover

ISBN13: 9780393337792
ISBN10: 0393337790
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"It turns out there are all kinds of things about working in an ER that most of us haven't learned from TV or having sat in one. In Something for the Pain, Paul Austin'"the ER doc you'd hope to get if something really bad happened'"tells us, vividly and with uncommon candor, how, if you aren't careful, saving people's lives can make you sick."'"Ted Conover, author of Newjack

In this eye-opening account of life in the ER, Paul Austin recalls how the daily grind of long, erratic shifts and endless hordes of patients with sad stories sent him down a path of bitterness and cynicism. His own life becomes Exhibit A, as he details the emotional detachment that estranges him from himself and his family. Gritty, powerful, and ultimately redemptive, Austin's memoir is a revealing glimpse into the fragility of compassion and sanity in the industrial setting of today's hospitals.

Synopsis:

"What makes this inspiring medical memoir stand out is the courageous measure of Austin's humanity."--Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

In this eye-opening account of life in the ER, Paul Austin recalls how the daily grind of long, erratic shifts and endless hordes of patients with sad stories sent him down a path of bitterness and cynicism. Gritty, powerful, and ultimately redemptive, Something for the Pain is a revealing glimpse into the fragility of compassion and sanity in the industrial setting of today's hospitals.

About the Author

Paul Austin was named a 2008 tuition scholar at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and his essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Southeast Review, and The Gettysburg Review. A former firefighter, he has more than twenty-five years of experience working in emergency rooms. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Mary Akers, May 9, 2009 (view all comments by Mary Akers)
In his new memoir, Something for the Pain: One Doctor's Account of Life and Death in the ER, Paul Austin takes a clear-eyed look at the profession he has chosen---that of a doctor in a metropolitan Emergency Room, who frequently works what other (less superstitious) professionals might term "the Graveyard Shift."

Within the covers of this thoughtful and moving debut, Austin graciously allows us an insider's look at the struggles and rewards of his job, as well as the toll it can take on a growing family, especially when the detrimental effects of persistent sleep-deprivation fray nerves and breed frustration. (When the author finds an innovative way around these struggles, we silently cheer for his ingenuity and for the sake of his patient, empathetic wife, herself a former nurse.)

Unlike many of our nation's first responders (and ER doctors are definitely first responders), Austin and his ilk often don't get the respect that a fireman (which Austin has also been) or a paramedic might, and they certainly don't receive the full measure of respect they're due. (Have you ever tried staying up all night, on constant alert, dealing with bleeding, vomiting, angry people---many of them drunk and violent---or patients with chest pains and grisly car crash wounds that need immediate attention and split-second medical decisions? All this, while frequent understaffing creates delays that in turn create patients so angry that once they are finally seen it can complicate the process of diagnosis? ...I thought not.)

With equal measures of honesty and empathy, Paul Austin has created a timeless memoir that deserves a wide readership. As Richard Selzer's "Letters to a Young Doctor" helped to open the public's eyes to the general practitioner, so can "Something for the Pain" give us important insights into the working conditions for an ER physician. I do know that without a doubt, the next time I visit an ER, no matter my circumstances, I plan to extend a measure of empathy to the doctor on duty and not just expect it. And I plan to be thoroughly grateful--and definitely sober.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780393337792
Author:
Austin, Paul
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Medical - Physicians
Subject:
Emergency medicine
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Biography/Medical
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.44x5.34x.70 in. .53 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Medical
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Biographies
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties

Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ER New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393337792 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "What makes this inspiring medical memoir stand out is the courageous measure of Austin's humanity."--Publishers Weekly
"Synopsis" by , In this eye-opening account of life in the ER, Paul Austin recalls how the daily grind of long, erratic shifts and endless hordes of patients with sad stories sent him down a path of bitterness and cynicism. Gritty, powerful, and ultimately redemptive, Something for the Pain is a revealing glimpse into the fragility of compassion and sanity in the industrial setting of today's hospitals.
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