An urgent, on-the-scene account of chaos and compassion on the front lines of ground zero for Covid-19, from a senior doctor at New York City’s busiest emergency room
“Remarkable and inspiring . . . We’re lucky to have this vivid firsthand account.”—A. J. Jacobs, bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically
When former New York Times journalist 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 would soon touch 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. The result is an intimate record of historic turmoil and grief from the perspective of a remarkably resilient ER doctor. Every Minute Is a Day takes us into a hospital ravaged by Covid-19 and is filled with the stories of promises made that may be impossible to keep, of life or 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.
About the Author
Robert Meyer, MD has been an emergency room doctor for over twenty-five years, spending most of his career at the Bronx’s Montefiore Medical Center, whose emergency rooms are New York City’s most visited, and among the nation’s five busiest. He is as well an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Meyer grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Hartsdale, New York, with his wife, Janet. He has two grown children, one in college and one in medical school.
Dan Koeppel is a former executive editor at The New York Times’s Wirecutter. He has written for national publications including Wired, Outside, National Geographic, and The Atlantic and has won a James Beard Award for his food writing. Koeppel is also a recipient of a National Geographic Expeditions Grant. His screenwriting credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he is the author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World. His writing has been anthologized three times in the Best American series. He grew up in Queens, New York, and now lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife, the writer Kalee Thompson, and his two young boys.
“As many have said before, the Covid-19 crisis brought out both the worst and the best of humanity. Here is a remarkable and inspiring example of the latter. Reading Robert Meyer and Dan Koeppel’s book made me all the more grateful for the unimaginable sacrifices and stresses that the frontline medical workers went through. We’re lucky to have this vivid firsthand account.”—A. J. Jacobs, bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically
“This book is a tour de force of rupture and repair. It is also a deeply compassionate eyewitness account of a deadly pandemic catching humanity by surprise, forcing us to rethink and reimagine while showing ways to reconnect through shared joys and sorrows.”—Azra Raza, MD, professor of medicine at Columbia University and author of The First Cell
“This page-turner of a book is an eloquent dispatch from one of the early epicenters of the Covid pandemic. Sweeping in scope, dramatic in tone, and intimate in human detail, it is ultimately a story of triumph amid fearful anguish and loss.”—Gabor Maté, MD, author of In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts
“A gripping, cinematic page-turner that will transport you to the front lines and remind you how we are all connected. . . . What Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal did for our compassion toward aging, Every Minute Is a Day will do for emergency medicine and all who aspire to understand or practice it.”—Lisa Napoli, author of Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie
“I was captured by Every Minute Is a Day. It gave me an intimate, inside look at what the pandemic has been like for those fighting it on the front lines. The war metaphor is apt—the narrative reads with the tension and urgency of a war novel.”—Philip Caputo, author of A Rumor of War
“[A] heart-wrenching report . . . The authors capture the ad hoc response of even the most skilled doctors to an unprecedented calamity . . . and raise hard questions about the U.S. health-care system’s lack of preparedness. Readers will gain a visceral appreciation for what it took to battle the first wave of the pandemic.”—Publishers Weekly
“A dramatic first-person account of the doctor’s experience during the first six months of the pandemic . . . The testimonies are moving and heartbreaking, delivering a realistic portrait of a city hospital in crisis. . . . Touching evidence of compassion and sacrifice during the worst of the pandemic.”—Kirkus Reviews