Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room by Paul Seward, MD
Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room by Paul Seward, MD

Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room by Paul Seward, MD

$ 25.00

Pre-orders of the paperback edition will ship July 1, 2019

"Seward’s engrossing and approachable memoir plunges readers into the unpredictable life of an emergency-room physician... His humble recollections are sad yet joyful, moving yet lighthearted. Seward’s memoir is easy to read, just the right length, and packed with stories that will capture readers’ attention. In the increasingly popular medical-memoir genre, this one stands out." —Booklist

 “A fascinating and engrossing experience useful for both medical professionals or anyone with even a casual interest in clinical life. The common thread they share is the unconditional compassionate care extended by a seasoned physician who put his heart and soul into every human encounter. A volume brimming with humanitarian lessons in medicine and life alike.”Kirkus Reviews

Drawing on a career launched in the first days of the specialty of emergency medicine, Dr. Paul Seward takes the reader with him into the ER in his riveting memoir.

Told in fast-paced, stand-alone chapters that recall unforgettable medical cases, Patient Care offers the fascination of medical mysteries, wrapped in the drama of living and dying. A snap judgment about a child nearly kills him, and a priest who may be having a heart attack refuses treatment. An asthmatic man develops air bubbles in his shoulders, and a pharmacist is haunted by a decision he makes.

But the book goes beyond these stories. Each chapter explores ethical questions that remind us of the full humanity of patients, nurses, coroners, pharmacists, and, of course, doctors. How do they care for strangers in their moments of crisis? How do they care for themselves?

Dr. Seward rejects doctor-as-God narratives to write frankly about moments of failure, and champions the role of his colleagues in health care. And, for all the moral dilemmas here, there is plenty of wit and humor, too. (See the patient who punches our doctor.) Readers of Patient Care will find themselves thinking along with Dr. Seward: “What is the right thing to do? What would I do?”


Paul Seward has been a physician for nearly fifty years, and has spent the majority of those years working in emergency rooms on both coasts. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, and did his internship and residency in Pediatrics at UC San Francisco. Seward is an Emeritus member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Now retired, he and his wife live in Vermont.