Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives is a gripping, real-life book by Dr. Pamela Grim, an emergency room physician. Grim, an ER doctor for ten years, paints a graphic picture of what life in the real ER is like the adrenaline, the life-and-death quick decisions, the burnout, and the hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror and relief. Grim recounts her most interesting cases in the ER and her travels with Doctors Without Borders the organization that recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. Grim traveled to Nigeria, Kosovo, and Macedonia with that organization, and Lives portrays how heart-breaking this practice of medicine is compared to the state of the art technology-driven practice in the States. Her front-line stories from these war-ridden and impoverished countries are maddening, touching, and inspiring.

The doctor's recollections of her most remarkable cases are enlivened by her refreshing honesty. Readers witness Grim's doubts, frustrations, insecurities, exhaustion, and confusion her thoughts and emotions are laid on the table, making this book difficult to put down. As evidenced by the popularity of the TV show ER, we are captivated by the events that take place in this setting, and. Grim tells her stories with a realistic flavor that could only come from someone who has been there.

Grim narrates with an insightful, humorous tone that hints at a bit of cynicism about her profession. It appears the author may have written this book as an evaluation of her career, struggling to decide whether she's too burned out to continue practicing medicine, and perhaps trying to remember why she entered medicine in the first place. Do the rewards outweigh the costs? I encourage you to read and find out.

Susanna Swilley recently finished her first year of medical school in Memphis.

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