A City, in All Its Cruelty and Kindness

An Emergency-Room Doctor Witnesses the Extremes of the Community He Serves

Walls emergency room

Mr. Twenty-Something is obviously in pain. His face is contorted and his right shoulder doesn’t look like his left. He’s wearing a tank top, and the complex and colorful tattoos across his upper torso don’t conceal the deformity of the top of his right arm. Where the left shoulder had the expected dome of muscle extending from the edge of his collarbone, his right one is flat. Grimacing, he clutches his right hand to his body to prevent it from moving even a millimeter.

As a gray-bearded emergency doctor, I recognize …

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