Life on the Line

by Emma Goldberg

Book Reviews

About Book

A New York Times reporter's gripping account of the medical students who received their degrees early to help treat thousands of critically ill Covid-19 patients in New York City during the height of the pandemic--an engrossing and eye-opening book in the tradition of Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial and Scott Turow's One L. In March 2020, soon-to-graduate medical students in New York City were nervously awaiting "match day" when they would learn where they would begin their residencies. Only a week later, these young physicians learned that they would be sent to the front lines of the desperate battle to treat and save patients as the coronavirus suddenly plunged New York's healthcare system into crisis. Hailing from some of the nation's most prestigious institutions, including New York University and Einstein College of Medicine, a group of new doctors took the Hippocratic Oath via Zoom, then were sent into the medical floors of iconic New York hospitals including Bellevue and Montefiore, the epicenters of the epicenter. Journalist Emma Goldberg first told the story of these young doctors for the New York Times. In this powerful book, she expands on her reporting, offering an up-close portrait of these bright yet inexperienced health professionals and the challenges they face fighting to save their patients' lives. Goldberg illuminates how the pandemic redefines what it means for them to be not only doctors but also coworkers, classmates, friends, romantic partners and concerned family members. Woven together from in-depth interviews with the doctors, their diaries and notes, and Goldberg's own extensive reporting, this page-turning narrative is an unforgettable depiction of a crisis unfolding in real time, and a timeless and unique chronicle of the rite of passage of young doctors.