November 14, 2022 7:56 AM EST

Thomas Fisher grew up on Chicago’s South Side in the 1980s. Decades later, he returned as an emergency room doctor at the University of Chicago Medical Center. There, in the rapid evaluation unit, unfolds The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER. Empathetic and urgent, Fisher’s memoir recounts the terrifying beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time through the eyes of the first line of defense. Through clear portraits of patients interspersed with personal essays framed as letters to patients and colleagues, Fisher sharply criticizes the American health care system—and the systemic racism within it. —Laura Zornosa

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