Cover Image: Every Minute Is a Day

Every Minute Is a Day

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This is an inspiring well-written book. It took me some time to go through it, though, but I'm glad I was able to get to the end.
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Every Minute Is a Day: A Doctor, an Emergency Room, and a City Under Siege was born from a text between cousins at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.  When former New York Times journalist Dan Koeppel checked in on his cousin Robert Meyer, an emergency room doctor with 20 years experience at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, he had the expectation that the hospital was overwhelmed.  What he heard from his cousin that day, and over the coming months, was horrific and concerning.  This memoir not only includes Dr. Meyer's first hand experiences during the pandemic, but also background on his own life and of those around him.

Raw and realistic, Every Minute Is a Day chronicles the worst of the pandemic and brings back memories that are still difficult to process.  The authors do a good of discussing the medicine, not the politics.  I appreciate Dr. Meyer's candor and his willingness to give voice to the thoughts and feelings of his colleagues.

If there is one negative, I wish that the authors had collated this book into a more linear fashion.  The Doctor spends a lot of time reflecting on his past and it does get a bit confusing at times.  Overall, readers who are looking for a personal account from a first responder will appreciate reading this book.

Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book by NetGalley and the publisher.  The decision to read and review this book rest entirely with me.
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Every Minute Is a Day is an honest and well told memoir of an ER doctor and his experiences on the front lines of the pandemic. Released 3rd Aug 2021 by Crown Publishing, it's 256 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a compelling, honestly written, and sobering look at life on the front lines for healthcare professionals during the early days of the pandemic. He discusses the bewilderment and frustration of supply and support scarcity, insecurity about how covid would develop, and burnout from stress and overwork.  He also does a good job of explaining the finite resources they work with on a normal basis and how they have been stretched beyond the breaking point by the demands from the pandemic. 

I work in healthcare in Northern Europe and although I'm not on the front lines (I work in a lab with zero patient contact), I certainly recognized many of the overwhelming feelings of doubt and fear he relates. How would we take care of the non-covid patients? How should we prioritize resources and treatment for people who don't have covid? How do we prevent covid patients from spreading infection to the healthcare staff and other non-covid patients? How can hospitals care for these patients without necessary supplies?

Five stars. This is not always a comfortable read, but I feel it's an important one. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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This is a true remarkable journey told by a highly respected emergency room physician of 25 years of the truth of covid and the effect the pandemic had on our health care workers. . I wish all covid deniers and anti vaccine types would read this book. Thank you to the publisher, Net Galley and the author. I was grateful to read this most inspiring book.  I highly recommend everyone read this book to fully understand the depth and despair of this pandemic we are fighting.  Everyone reading this will have the utmost respect for the unimaginable difficulties our health care workers and doctors are facing. 

Robert Meyer is an emergency medicine physician of twenty-five years experience, and doctor on staff at a Bronx medical center that is  one of the most populated  in  New York City . His cousin is author Dan Koeppel.  Dan  sent a text message to him in the early stages of the 2020 pandemic -  "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being overwhelmed what do you think?" - Dr. Meyer  replied "100." They began a regular daily discussion of the covid situation from the onset throughout Fall 2020.   The daily body count, the loss of patient after patient,  the despair , the lack of PPE for employees the covid deniers that attacked our health care workers, the impossible odds of losing more patients day after day. The refrigeration trucks backed up to the hospital full of dead covid patients.  (  A friend of mine that is a neighbor of this hospital saw the trucks every day for months).  It is all honestly and truthfully documented here. 
 The remarkable and awe  inspiring staff that dedicated themselves to their patients and struggled to save those with covid. Their dedication is so inspiring that we should all be grateful that such professionals existed for our loved ones who became ill with covid and died. The communication here is raw, honest and a real time view of how the doctors and and health care support staff suffered.   I highly recommend this book for everyone to read to fully understand the magnitude of covid and what our hospitals went through. i lost 3 people early on in the first stages of covid so I understood about much of what was going on and have friends that are nursing staff in various hospitals. So I was aware of this impact of covid throughout our country .  For all covid deniers and all anti vaccine types you need to read this book.  This book is a education in the truth of covid and the magnitude of the pandemic on our health care system.  Its heart wrenching but necessary to read to truly understand that our medical staff are the utmost in professionals and handled the effects of covid for each individual patient with the most living care .
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Written from the perspective of a 20 year emergency department physician in the Bronx, 20 years in the same hospital. He told his ideas, thoughts, worries, fears, everything, to his cousin with whom he collaborated on this memoir, in serial essays, to report on the beginning of the Covid-19 epidemic in New York City. The book covers the time period from the days of the early rumors of a new illness in early March, 2020 through to October of 2020 when the disease has already gone through more than one phase.

Much of what I read I have had glimpses of over the past 18 months, but now I feel that I have a better idea of what was happening in all of those ERs in hard hit areas in the spring of 2020, as well as in the ICUs as everyone struggled to learn how to treat these patients who didn’t follow the disease courses seen before. And of course, now the same is happening again but with a difference; the doctors of 2021 are benefiting from lessons learned on 2020.

While there are hard and difficult moments here, there are also uplifting and happy moments. The camaraderie among all staff is a high point even if at times it consists of allowing others to be alone. Perhaps the major takeaway I found here as I read was that, in my words but Dr. Meyer’s thought, we ( the nation, the world, the medical world) can’t afford to ever be caught this flat footed again...and there will be an again, another virus.

I do recommend reading this book if you have enough personal distance from Covid right now. You can get a realistic view of the difficult but very caring way these many health care workers did their utmost to help those who entered their emergency department.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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The Bronx's Montefiore Medical Center serves an ethnically diverse community of the working poor in New York City. Between March and September 2020, 6,000 Covid-19 patients crossed its threshold. Nearly 1,000 of them died. Unfolding in terrifying real time, Every Minute Is a Day is emergency room doctor Robert Meyer's riveting diary of an unprecedented crisis.

Compared to AIDS and 9/11, the previous medical disasters of Meyer's 25-year career, Covid felt bewildering for how quickly the situation changed. High fever and dangerously low blood oxygen were the initial hallmarks of the illness, but new symptoms and potential therapies emerged all the time. Medical staff learned by doing. For instance, "proning" (turning people onto their stomachs) was found to forestall intubation in many cases.

As the morgue filled up, Meyer was distressed not just by patients dying apart from loved ones, but at the thought of seriously ill people avoiding hospital treatment for fear of infection. Relating bereavements from his past-his mother was killed by a drunk driver; his son's friend died of cancer-helps him set the pandemic in context. He also weaves in Montefiore's history and his colleagues' struggles. Covid turned personal when his mentor and the ER director's father both tested positive.

Compiled into a firsthand account by journalist Dan Koeppel, Meyer's cousin, and based on interviews as well as e-mails and texts they exchanged, this is hard-hitting nonfiction in the vein of Five Days at Memorial. Its re-creation of an atmosphere of daily panic and uncertainty makes it as absorbing as any thriller.
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Robert Meyer and Dan Koeppel have written an outstanding book about life in a NYC emergency room during the COVID pandemic. This was often a difficult book to read because the conditions described were so sad and scary however I think if more people took the time to educate themselves about what medical professionals and first responders dealt with (and nineteen months later are still dealing with) they would be more proactive about taking steps to end this pandemic. I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this ARC. I highly recommend it.
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Not all COVID-books are for doctors.

Like many healthcare workers, I have often turned to narratives to cope with my work, and these have been plentiful during the (COVID) pandemic. But eventually one reaches a point where you can no longer look into the mirror of your daily life – and I have reached that limit much sooner than I expected. 

Every Minute Is A Day by Meyer (MD) and Koeppel is dedicated to the “many, many people [who] died alone, without their loved ones.” This is important: the express purpose of this book was “to honor and respect those this disease claimed.” 

I cringed when I first considered my rating for Every Minute Is A Day. I did not exactly love Meyer’s memoir, but I do not doubt that it will find its audience of ardent readers.

With the advent of COVID literature, I have often found myself drawing parallels with books written about World War II. For as long as I have been a reader, WWII has been a favourite topic of authors and readers. Why is it that the world so loves a good Auschwitz novel?

Reading Every Minute Is A Day gave me some insight into that phenomenon. While WWII took place long enough ago that most readers alive today did not experience it personally; it occurred recently enough that the effects on our lives remain tangible.

Conversely, the world is still living COVID, and throughout Every Minute I have not been able to clear the term “too soon” from my mind. Meyer writes how “the rules kept changing” – and they continue to do so. In some ways, Every Minute feels like a tribute written too soon. 

Does Meyer’s memoir achieve what it set out to do? I believe so. It may clear up much confusion for laypersons. I think it may provide peace when people think about their relatives, and how they could not be with them in their final moments. I hope that survivors will know not only that their healthcare workers cared, but how they cared. I hope they will know that the masks, the PPE, the difficulty communicating, were all as challenging for their doctors as for patients and relatives. That death weighed heavily on them, and that any perceived inadequacies were doubly perceived by healthcare workers themselves.

So much of the memoir should be relatable, but the authors actually detract from that by focussing largely on Montefiore – a hospital they are clearly, and rightfully, very proud of. But that singular focus leads to an atmosphere of “us, alone” – we alone were suffering. We alone were scrambling to make things work. That this is not the author’s intention is not the point – the impression that it creates, is.

What I miss most of all is growth, and hope. Every Minute depicts so well the despair. The confusion. The feelings of failure. But by the end of it all, I cannot see the growth I would have liked to see, and once more I venture that it comes down to timing. The author cannot depict that which is yet to come fully to fruition. Again, I do not think the time is right for THIS memoir. Soon, but not yet.
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Devastating account of the early days of covid from an ER Dr in the Bronx. If you want to know what it felt like to be there, prepare yourself.
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This book is interesting as it gives an insight to a very current problem - covid 19. It is told by a 20 year veteran who works in the Bronx in the emergency room. He has to deal with sick people every day, but nothing could prepare the staff for the massive influx of patients suffering from this virus. He tells it through the eyes of a caring doctor who is often the only other person that the patient sees as family are not allowed. 
Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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“People are dying because nobody knows what to do.”

This book’s content is breathtaking. From the perspective of compassionate and dedicated medical angels of NYC’s most overwhelmed hospital, Montefiore. Staff is blindsided by the fast-moving virus and caught unprepared for the massive number of sick and dying people walking into their ER. One statistic states that the hospital’s three admissions at the beginning of March grew to more than 1,000 by the end of the month. A must read!
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This was so hard to read that I was unable to finish it.  It wasn't the writing or the pacing, it was the subject.  Those with stronger hearts than I will find this a thoughtful, emotional, and important contribution I suspect will be valued more as there is more distance from that terrible summer.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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Read if you: Want a stark, moving, and harrrowing personal account of hospital medicine in the COVID-19 era. 

The COVID-19 books are here--mostly nonfiction now, but fiction is on the way. Like other major historical events, personal accounts are the first ones to publish, and the ones that seem to be the most popular with readers. Although this is not a long read, it's emotionally powerful and memorable long after you read it. 

Librarians/booksellers: Definitely purchase if nonfiction books about the coronavirus have been popular. 

Many thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review,
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This book was incredible and as soon as I started it, I couldn't put it down. Told from the standpoint of an ER doctor in the heart of the Covid surge in the Bronx, we get an insider's look at how the pandemic crisis unfolded in hospitals and the level of gut-wrenching devastation it has left in it's wake. As I read the book, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this book is non-fiction and happened within the last year. It literally reads like a dystopian, sci-fi novel. Meyer and Koeppel did an amazing job of injecting humanity into something that so many have worked hard to distance themselves from. I have already recommended this book to friends and family as there were too many parts for me to even share with them.
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There is bound to be a new genre of books about peoples' various experiences with Covid-19. This one is written by an emergency medicine doctor at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx borough of NYC, one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in the entire country.

Both factual documentation of the first 6 months of the pandemic (the book was completed in November 2020) and personal experience of treating and sometimes losing people very close to the doctor, it's sobering insight into the lives of the personnel caring for the sickest Covid patients at a time when nobody knew what this virus was all about.
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