Posted in 5 paws, Medical, nonfiction, Review on October 1, 2016


The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care
Catherine Musemeche, M.D.

Genre: Medicine / Medical History

Date of Publication: September 6, 2016

Publisher: ForeEdge

# of pages: 268


hurt-coverThe heroic story of the invention of trauma care, from battlefield triage to level 1 trauma centers

Trauma is a disease of epidemic proportions that preys on the young, killing more Americans up to age thirty-seven than all other afflictions combined. Every year an estimated 2.8 million people are hospitalized for injuries and more than 180,000 people die.

We take for granted that no matter how or where we are injured, someone will call 911 and trained first responders will show up to insert IVs, stop the bleeding, and swiftly deliver us to a hospital staffed by doctors and nurses with the expertise necessary to save our lives. None of this happened on its own.

Told through the eyes of a surgeon who has flown on rescue helicopters, resuscitated patients in trauma centers in Houston and Chicago, and operated on hundreds of trauma victims of all ages, Hurt takes us on a tour of the advancements in injury treatment from the battlefields of the Civil War to the state-of-the-art trauma centers of today.


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“Musemeche’s fast-paced medical history mixes the gritty reality of treating life-threatening injuries—including her own heart-pounding experiences as surgeon—with an unfettered optimism about what trauma care can now promise: an assurance that most people will survive even a devastating injury.”  —Publishers Weekly

“Hurt is a fascinating journey through the history of trauma care in this country. Musemeche’s unique ability to weave moving, personal stories with intriguing facts takes this book well beyond a great read. It is an education in the human spirit.” —Paul Ruggieri, MD, author of Confessions of a Surgeon and The Cost of Cutting


Educational and Entertaining – two things you may not expect to find in a non fiction book about Trauma Care. Or maybe you would. The information is presented in such a way that it kept me interested from start to finish.

While I know that medical care has come a long way, I never really thought about how traumas are handled in hospitals, or even out in the field. There were so many doctors that fought for better care and better equipment out on the road to help decrease the fatalities from freak accidents. Take ambulances for example – you probably knew that the first ambulances were hearses and that in small towns they did double duty. However, there was no room in back for anyone to help the wounded en route to the hospital. There was an organization called Freedom House that shaped what our EMS has become. The training they had to go through was intense, but they were well prepared to help anyone that needed the assistance.

Or that Sue Baker, a nurse, started looking for trends in accident victims and wrote papers on how some traumas could be avoided – like better seat belts in cars. She even learned to fly a plane to look into why there were so many plane crashes in different parts of the country. Now that is dedication to your job!

Along with the historical aspect of the book, the author shares real life trauma stories that might send chills up and down your body. From the shooting on the UT campus in the mid 60’s to a young woman that was hurt in an accident involving farm equipment. Not all stories have a happy ending, but the different examples show how far trauma care in hospitals has come.

I never expected to enjoy the book as much as I did and the author did a superb job at notating her sources – 30 pages worth in the back of the book. There are a few times where the book seems to stray too far into areas not tied to trauma care (like gun bills and tighter controls), but it just lends itself to the how important trauma care is with how crazy the world has become.

We give the book 5 paws up.


about the author

catherine-musemecheDr. Catherine Musemeche is a pediatric surgeon, attorney and author who lives in Austin, Texas. She was born and raised in Orange, Texas and attended Lutcher Stark High School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, The University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, The Anderson School of Management in Albuquerque, New Mexico and The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. Dr. Musemeche is a former surgery professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, the MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute and the University of New Mexico where she was the Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Trauma. She currently works in the field of regulatory medicine.

In addition to publishing extensively in the medical literature, Dr. Musemeche has been a guest contributor to the New York Times. Her writing has also been published on,, in the anthology At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die and in the Journal of Creative Nonfiction.  Her first book, Small: Life and Death on the Front Lines of Pediatric Surgery was nominated for the Pen American/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award and was awarded the Writer’s League of Texas Discovery Prize for nonfiction. Her second book, Hurt: The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care will be published in September of this year.

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