"Thomas Fisher was raised on the South Side of Chicago and even as a kid understood how close death could feel-he came from a family of pioneering doctors who believed in staying in the community, but on those streets he saw just how vulnerable Black bodies could be. Determined to follow his family's legacy, Fisher studied public health at Dartmouth and Harvard, then returned to the University of Chicago Medical School. As soon as he graduated, he began working in the ER that served his South Side community. Even as his career took him to stints at the White House, working on what would eventually become the Affordable Care Act and helping develop HMOs for underserved communities, he never gave up his ER rotations. He knew that to really understand healthcare disparities and medical needs, you had to stay close. The emergency room is designed for the most urgent cases, but it is often the first resort for South Side residents without any other choice. Fisher deals with those patients with necessary dispatch, but what he really wants to do is to spend his time helping them understand how it is they ended up in the ER-talk to them about the role economics plays in their health; the history of healthcare for the poor and marginalized; why Black people in particular distrust the medical profession; why they don't have a personal physician; the effect of food deserts and education gaps on their health; and, most of all, why they live in a society that has deemed their bodies and lives as less important than others. In this book he gets to have those lost conversations. This is the story of a dramatic year in the life of the Chicago ER-a year of an unprecedented pandemic and a ferocious epidemic of homicides-interwoven with the primer in healthcare one doctor wishes he could give his patients. Full of day-to-day drama, heartbreaking stories, compelling personal narrative, and penetrating analysis of our most fundamental failure as a society, this is a page-turning and mind-opening work that will offer readers a fresh vision of healthcare as a foundation of social justice"--
Thomas Fisher ; [foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coats].
Includes bibliographical references (pages -246) and index.