An emergency-room doctor relates his experiences to the wider emergency of inadequate health care for inner-city residents in places like Newark, N.J., where he grew up and practiced medicine.
In two earlier books (The Bond: Three Young Men Learn to Forgive and Reconnect with their Fathers, 2007, etc.), Davis and two boyhood friends described their experiences growing up on the Newark streets—how, despite the odds, they overcame the violence and chaos of life in a ghetto environment and became medical practitioners. Here, Davis describes the serious health conditions of patients he treated in the emergency room who lacked any other medical care, a “too-often overlooked population.” Most poignant are the descriptions of his meetings with former street companions as they were wheeled into the emergency room, the victims of gunshot wounds, drug overdoses and the like. Most frustrating were the patients who faked ailments to legally acquire drugs for recreational purposes. The author cites the shocking statistic that in the U.S., deaths from overdoses of prescription painkillers exceed those from heroin and cocaine combined. Davis also faced high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases among black women, in his opinion spread because of unprotected sex. Tragically, his older sister, who had inspired him to become a doctor, died of AIDS. At the age of 27 (after his first year as a resident), Davis received an award for community service from Essence magazine.
A page-turning wake-up call.