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Something for the Pain: Compassion and Burnout in the ERby Paul Austin
Synopses & Reviews
"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 NewjackIn 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.
"Austin follows up Something for the Pain, his memoir of becoming an ER doctor, with an eloquent account of his experiences raising a child with Down syndrome. It begins in 1987 when he, a third-year resident, and his wife, Sally, a labor and delivery room nurse, receive the news that their newborn daughter, Sarah, has the congenital condition. As Austin watches his wife breast-feed Sarah, and later slips a flower behind his daughter's ear as she sleeps in his arms, his love for her is unmistakable. He segues seamlessly between scenes of family life and disquisitions on the history and science of Down syndrome, arguing that we are defined by more than our genes. Though Austin doesn't sugarcoat the challenges he faced, he also shows Sarah as an engaging, sociable child who loved movies, dancing, and drawing. While following her development from birth to age 22, readers also witness Austin's transformation from a father who once had to 'pretend' to be proud, to a man in genuine awe of Sarah's many gifts. Parents of special-needs kids will find this story particularly inspiring, and its universal message of love and acceptance should speak to a much wider audience. (Oct.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"What makes this inspiring medical memoir stand out is the courageous measure of Austin's humanity."--
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, 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.
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