ER Adventures in Rural America
by Ken Jones Jr. MD

"I immediately noted all the changes: CT scanners, MRI, ultrasound, 24-hour-available labs, telecommunication with big-city hospitals, and most importantly, very-well educated and dedicated ER staff."

After practicing general surgery for thirty-six years, Jones decided to return to his roots. He had "moonlighted" in rural emergency room (ER) medicine for the extra pay during his surgical residency. After some soul searching, he made the humbling move from being a board-certified surgeon to begin a new part-time career in the ER field. "I wish more retired surgeons [would] use their diagnostic skills in rural ERs," writes Jones. "The needs are tremendous, and the satisfaction gives one a wonderful feeling." Arguing that a surgeons' array of specialized skills are much-needed and appreciated throughout America's rural ERs, Jones advises any surgeon in his sixties or so—but not ready for retirement—to consider ER rural medicine.

The author shares compelling, often humorous medical anecdotes of the nine years during his exciting "new career," despite the "3 a.m. toothaches, chicken wrecks, and drug ODs." Stories range from an eight-year-old whose finger becomes stuck in a lug hole from an old tractor-wheel in his grandfather's garage to a lean overall-sporting fellow who, while playing poker and feasting on a thirty-two-pound catfish he and his buddies had noodled, manages to get a fishbone stuck in his IC valve.

Alongside the emergencies described, this memoir's true strength is found in its author's vast medical knowledge, the advice he shares in layperson's terminology, and the focus on incredible technological advances in rural ER medicine. Precisely because of his decades as a surgeon in larger city hospitals, combined with years in small-town ERs, the author has garnered a unique range of experiences, providing him with the ability to ascertain medical practice from varying perspectives. This aspect comes across in his writing, as do Jones's personal and professionally fulfilling experiences practicing medicine.

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