Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives: Tales of Life and Death from the ER

ISBN: 0446677574
ISBN 13: 9780446677578
By: Pamela Grim

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About this book

An emergency medicine physician for nearly a decade, Dr. Pamela Grim has delivered babies, treated heart attacks, saved car accident victims, comforted the dying, and consoled the living who were left behind. She has worked all over the world, caring for victims of gang life in America's inner cities, victims of the war in Bosnia, poverty-stricken patients in Nigeria, and bank presidents in the United States. Relating these rich and varied experiences with compelling prose, Dr. Grim takes readers into the E.R. and lets them experience first-hand what it takes to make split-second, life-and-death decisions in the course of an average day. And with unflinching honesty, she conveys what it's like to be a caring physician with one of the most demanding, exhilarating, frustrating, and rewarding jobs in the world.

Reader's Thoughts


I really enjoyed this book. Dr. Grim does an excellent job of capturing the challenges of Emergency Medicine. As an EMT, I encounter many of the same situations she describes in her book. My only complaint is that she leaves you hanging on some of the stories.

Brandee Terry

this book was a quick read full of interesting stories.


This damn book caused me to get just three hours of sleep last night because I read until I was dropping the book falling asleep and then woke up ridiculously early to get right back to it. Amazing book, wonderful writing style. Others have commented that it is very cynical but she explains why she is like that all throughout the book and it makes perfectly reasonable sense. I am very sad that I finished it as I wish it could have gone on forever. Best four dollars I've spent in months.


Excellent. If you ever wonder what it's like to work in a hospital ER, or as a traveling MD, you should read this book.


Oh my gosh. How this woman, or any doctor who is with Doctors Without Borders, can stand doing the work is beyond me. Substandard conditions doesn't even begin to describe the horror of what the doctors and patients must deal with. It is very enlightening and a bit depressing. Makes you feel blessed to live in this land, and my prayers are with those who don't. It goes deeply into details that may bore some, but I devour medical story books like this.

Martha Phillips

Absolutely engrossing. I finished it in less than a day. Her experiences in Bosnia and Africa with aid agencies is particularly fascinating.


well written and enjoyable even without a medical background. A bit gruesome at times but very real and even funny.


Interesting, but I don't know if the reader really gains anything beyond just knowing this: Emergency room medicine is a mess. But then I bet you already knew that.


Not my usual reading genre, but surprisingly enjoyable.

Jay Holmes

The real ER plus experiences from Bosnia and Nigeria through Doctors Without Borders.

Spook Harrison

I liked this one a lot; I liked Grim's unvarnished account of the situations and people she met in the episodes of her life she shared. There is so much of interest in this book, from the choices she made in her life and the possible reasons why to her stirring descriptions of diseases we in first-world countries have all but forgotten, this is definitely a worthwhile read.

Cheryl S.

Not perfect writing but informative and interesting.


I enjoyed the read because it was an enjoyable topic and not anything I really needed to analyze. However, her prose bugged me. I hated how some chapters were written in the "I" form and then she switched to "you". I understand what she was doing but I thought it was lame. Also, she would make what were supposed to be poignant statements that didn't really pull through for me - I would be left thinking, "What is she trying to say?". Again, I understood what she was going for but it just didn't work. I wouldn't not recommend this book but it is what it is. Just a quick, enjoyable read that you may or may not be bugged by. Take it to the beach this summer.


Stories from an ER doctor. Grim comes off as a little harsh sometimes, but her voice is strong and the accounts very interesting.


While I found the case studies fascinating, in the end, I really didn't enjoy the book at all because I thought the author was so disatasteful. Yes, she did work with Doctors Without Borders, which of couse is admirable and wonderful work, but I found her attitude very condescending and judgemental, particlarly towards psych patients (there was one paragraph in which she talked about how much of a waste of resources suicide attempts take up). Also, the writing style was a bit strange, going from the first person to talking about the cases in hypotheticals. It got annoying.

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