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‘An Arm and a Leg’: One ER Doctor Grapples With the Inequities of American Health Care
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‘An Arm and a Leg’: One ER Doctor Grapples With the Inequities of American Health Care


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Dr. Thomas Fisher, an emergency room physician at a hospital on Chicago’s South Side, has written “The Emergency,” an up-close chronicle of the covid-19 pandemic’s first year. It also tells the story of his journey as a doctor: how his upbringing on the South Side fueled his career choice, and how the realities and inequities of American health care limited his ability to help his community. 

Fisher details how the failures of the American health care system — and the racial inequities it perpetuates — leave health care workers with a profound sense of moral injury. 

“Over time, when you have this conflict between what you can do and what you’re supposed to do — what you wish you could do, what you’re trained to do — that creates a moral conundrum,” Fisher tells host Dan Weissmann in this episode of “An Arm and a Leg.”  “It also leads a lot of people to leave the profession.”


“An Arm and a Leg” is a co-production of KHN and Public Road Productions.

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