How much does the average person know about an Emergency Department? Unless you’re a doctor or a nurse then chances are, not much. But the book, EMERGENCY: Real stories from Australia’s Emergency Department Doctors edited by Dr. Simon Judkins is poised to inform you.

Dr. Judkins has been an emergency physician for 15 years and a doctor for 20 years. In 2013 he was asked by the Australian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM) to write an essay about 24 hours in an Emergency Department. The read proved so interesting and informative that a whole book was commissioned in order to capture the varying experiences in Emergency. The fact is that no two experiences are the same and an ordinary day can be filled with the most extraordinary people, decisions and life-saving techniques.

This book examines the people behind the masks and details their individual perspectives, including their trials and tribulations and even some who were unlucky enough to get out alive. These detailed stories are honest and hold-no-bars accounts of people and humanity. There’s an amazing story about a man who got trapped in a rubbish compactor and then a more standard event like a teenage having an anaphylactic shock. There are the heart-breaking childhood drownings, the inspiring stories about heat attack victims who live to see another day, the sad stories about burns victims whose bodies are decimated by fire and smoke and the devastating account of a newlywed who died after a horrific accident.

The proceeds from this book will be donated to the ACEM who will put the money towards emergency medicine research and support as well as funding and supporting indigenous doctors and physicians in third world countries in the field of emergency medicine. Some of these stories are touched on here while others are simply taken from the chaos that is an Emergency Department. There are chapters that are joyous and funny, others that are sad and melancholy but there does seem to be one prevailing take home message and that is that we need to support the amazing work that these people do, as you will require their help one day.

EMERGENCY: Real stories from Australia’s Emergency Department Doctors is a powerful compilation that is informative in describing and recounting the intense, challenging and demanding work that takes place in an Emergency Department. The book does this with a great sense of humanity, compassion and heart. It’s a must read for anyone wanting to know more about public hospitals and public health and those wanting to hear the real, unfiltered stories from those people who have to make life and death situations while at the coal face. In short, it’s remarkable stuff.


Originally published on 14 July 2015 at the following website:

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