An urgent, on-the-ground account of chaos and compassion from the front lines of COVID-19, from a New York Times journalist and a senior doctor at New York City’s busiest emergency room
When Dan Koeppel texted his cousin Robert Meyer, a twenty-year veteran of the emergency room at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, he expected to hear that things were hectic. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being overwhelmed, where do you think you are? Koeppel asked. Meyer’s grave reply—100—was merely the cusp of the crisis that has since touched every part of the globe.
In need of an outlet to process the trauma of his working life over the coming months, Meyer continued to update Koeppel with what he’d seen and whom he’d treated, their exchanges acting as part diary, part family therapy, and eventually a document of historic chaos and grief. Combining the frontline perspective of an ER doctor and a journalist’s discerning research and reporting, Every Minute Is a Day takes us into a hospital ravaged by COVID-19, filled with the stories of promises made that may be impossible to keep, of life and death choices for patients and their families, and of selflessness on the part of medical professionals who put themselves at incalculable risk.
As fast-paced and high-tempo as the ER in which it takes place, Every Minute Is a Day is at its core an incomparable firsthand account of unrelenting compassion and a reminder that every human life deserves a chance to be saved.