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What to expect
Recalling remarkable cases-and people-from a career launched in the first days of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Paul Seward leads us in his memoir through suspenseful diagnoses and explorations of anatomy. By his side, we learn to distinguish nursemaid’s elbow from a true broken arm. We learn how our breathing and swallowing mechanisms resemble a practical joke. But when a baby’s heart stops and a young doctor forgets what to do, the situation is far from funny. Within the conditions of great stress and rapid decision-making that are routine in the ER, Dr. Seward shows us that medical staff must be more than technicians of the body: they must be restorers of the human. Whether it is comforting anxious families or subjecting a distressed patient to tough procedures, they must learn the difficult work of caring for strangers. Throughout Patient Care, Dr. Seward reflects on how a life in medicine tests what it means to put ethics into practice.