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Something for the Pain: One Doctor's Account of Life and Death in the ER Hardcover – September 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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Austin...can turn the simplest procedure into an occasion for elegy...phrased with the elegance of Thoreau. -- David Bradley, author of The Chaneysville Incident
Moving, troubling, and revelatory...[Austin] tells a story of disturbing power. -- Joy Castro, author of The Truth Book
[Austin] shows us something universal about how we all break and heal each other and ourselves. -- Rachel DeWoskin, author of Foreign Babes in Beijing
Top Customer Reviews
In "Something for the Pain", Dr. Austin exams cases that bothered him, but rather than examine exactly what when wrong with the case, he examines how that case made him feel and why. Not just medically, but mentally as well. He also takes a deep and very honest look into how his job created problems with his home life. Along the way we get an insight into life in an ER.
During a volunteer career as a firefighter, with a stint in ambulances, I can state that the book not only sounds true, but caused my nerves to twitch just a little. He hit some feeling and emotions dead on, and I have to admit that I hoped these were feelings I had buried. His discussion of treating drunks was as close to real as I have ever seen.
This is a wonderful book with a lot of insight to offer. My only complaint was that the chapters didn't line up chronologically, so when I was trying to compare work with his home relationships, I occasionally had problems. This is a pretty simple thing and could be fixed by changing the chapter order. Overall, an excellent read and maybe a book we all need to read before we get caught in the machinery of the ER.
The title led me to belief the focus would be on Dr. Austin's hospital cases, but the book was split between his career and his family. In theory, that's even better, because it interests me to know how people in stressful jobs learn to cope and keep their personal lives together.
The problem is that the book is short and by the end I don't feel like either aspect is fleshed out. Dr. Austin wisely tried to connect the joint focuses by pairing the ER stories with how they resonate with his life outside of the hospital, but there was just not enough room to really do either full justice.
There are two really potentially good books here that could have combined into one great one, but neither tale was detailed enough to lead to a fully satisfying experience.
A theme of the book is the author's struggle to find a balance between compassion and professional distance. It's a great topic. However, his writing voice errs on the side of detachment, and there is a feeling that he's still protecting himself from feeling too much. I don't know this is the case, but the tone comes across as if the doctor more than the man is in the writer's chair.
I'm glad I read this book, I admire the writer, and I would love to hear/read more about his experiences, but this particular book didn't quite meet my expectations from when I selected it, nor did it become the even better book that it wanted to be.
There is much experience and wisdom in this small book. I would recommend it to any doctor in training, or later, with repeated reviews prn. Nice work, Dr. Austin!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am an ER nurse/EMT/Firefighter and this was a refreshing written view of emergency medicine. Many books out there focus on the hardest parts of the job; death/mortality, pain,... Read morePublished 24 days ago by C.M.
While always enlightening to see inside the medical world upon which we all depend but from which we are excluded by a wall of white coats, the general feeling of this reader is... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Donna Newby
I was looking forward to this book as it was so highly rated. The book opens well giving us background information on Austin's life and career choices. It soon loses focus. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr. Jan B. Newman
Dr. Austin recounts his pre-doctor days as a firefighter, his inspiring and unexpected decision to try to get into medical school, a failed relationship and then meeting someone... Read morePublished 9 months ago by C. Nelson
I found this book to be an engaging and eye opening book. What I enjoyed most was that it went beyond the medical realm and into his personality and lifestyle, which is why I... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Philippe Brunelle
Great book! Loved the story and emotional transparency Dr. Austin provides. Heart warming to read. Can't wait to read the next onePublished 15 months ago by Lauren
I love this book. Ive had it on my bookcase for several years plus now but randomly picked it up today and am almost done. ( Day off! Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer