02nd August 2021

Book in Focus

Understanding the Misunderstood in Emergency, Hospital and Outpatient Care for Special Populations

By Lili Loni Barsky

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane, because it often results in physical death. I see no alternative to direct action and creative nonviolence to raise the conscience of the nation.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke these words in 1966. Little did he know that over 50 years later, his sentiments have become more relevant than ever…. for the conscience of the United States and the entire planet!

Disparity in healthcare is a vast topic, with many dimensions, which have become more progressively studied over recent decades. However, it is abundantly clear that the events of 2020 have opened the world’s eyes to just how severe and devastating of an effect that disparity can have on health.

I am delighted that Understanding the Misunderstood in Emergency, Hospital and Outpatient Care for Special Populations,  written and illustrated by myself and published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing (CSP) in April 2020, has now been re-published as a paperback edition.

There is no doubt that the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly interfered with my book’s potential exposure and distribution last year. The book’s release date was at the beginning of the crisis, a time of tremendous tragedy and uncertainty. As many were out of work and struggling to make ends meet, it felt almost unfair to try to encourage the general population to make an elective purchase throughout 2020, or even during the early phases of recovery. While I felt it could help navigate the medical landscape of the pandemic, I was absolutely confounded as to how to best introduce my labor of love to a very fragile and hurting world.

In spite of these circumstances, I was humbled by and grateful to those experts who took time to review my piece. I was also honored to be featured as a “Young Social Impact Hero” by Authority Magazine. The fact that this level of recognition could be achieved and that multiple volumes of the book were sought, amidst a very challenging, trying time, illustrated to me just how valuable, pertinent and appealing my work was to the general population’s awareness and understanding of some of the most vulnerable in our society.

As a result, I have been working with CSP over the past year to develop a plan by which to make this book as accessible to as many readers as possible. It is my hope that a re-release of the book now, especially in paperback format, will  provide those who have been struggling financially or otherwise burdened by psychosocial stressors, incurred by the pandemic and its complications, with the opportunity to obtain this critical resource in a feasible manner.

Events of 2020 have stimulated increased worldwide interest in the subject matter of this book, providing a new ideal opportunity for outreach and education:

Social justice issues emerging throughout 2020 have rendered the subject matter of this book even more tantamount and relevant. I am pleased to observe how a heightened focus on optimizing how law enforcement interacts with the community and “doing the right thing” has driven many groups to take action. For example, my local police department has just implemented a "Special Concerns Program," in which they are requesting specific information from individuals in the community with special needs that officers should be aware of.

Further, the pandemic has facilitated an increased focus on the medical concepts and insights that this book details for the general population, thus providing another unique opportunity for reaching a much wider audience now, as compared to last year.

Raising awareness now is essential, in the setting of recent horrific events:

Nearly all concepts and their significance as described in this book have been amplified in the setting of the events of this past year. However, while these incidents have augmented interest in much of the material covered by the book, as described above, some very difficult but critical issues within the piece need to be reiterated. I believe that after experiencing the events and struggles of this last year, readers will be in a better headspace to process and appreciate many of the challenging ideas presented in the text. Indeed, there remains a sad undervaluing of and even discrimination against the special needs community. In fact, when ventilators were in short supply, hospitals were actually withholding them from individuals with developmental disabilities. Additionally, how to address isolation and drive integration of individuals with developmental disabilities into the community was a tough topic before the pandemic hit. Thus, one can imagine how much more complicated and perplexing these obstacles became, as those with special needs have lost loved ones, caretakers and/or sense of structure and control, leaving many feeling lost regarding what to do next. Code status and guardianship have always been very pertinent, especially so in the management of vulnerable COVID-19 patients. Unfortunately, however, confusion about these topics has wreaked tremendous havoc in intensive care units internationally.

As the world begins to try to heal, and as we face the rising threat of the delta variant, this book delves into issues rendering it more essential than ever, as a resource for first responders, medical providers as well as individuals with developmental disabilities, their family, caretakers and community.

In my initial book announcement, I insisted that we “not leave anyone behind.” I believe that this re-release will go a long way towards achieving that goal, to raise a much-needed awareness, evoke a much-needed awakening and provide a guiding light for my readers going forward, in the every-day clinical setting. I am determined to give society a renewed opportunity to take time to read, digest and apply these difficult but important concepts.

Lili Loni Barsky, MD

Lili Loni Barsky, MD, is a board-certified physician, patented inventor, and writer. She completed her undergraduate training at Northwestern University, USA, earning a major degree in Biomedical Engineering and a minor degree in Film and Media Studies. She attended Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois, followed by residency training at Yale-New Haven Health/Bridgeport Hospital and Chief Residency at AMITA-Saint Francis Hospital, USA. She then completed fellowship training at the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, USA. Currently, she is training in the Artificial Intelligence in Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program at Northwestern University, USA. She has extensive experience in the inpatient, critical care, ambulatory clinic and emergency care settings. Outside of her clinical work, she developed and was awarded patents for her ‘Liability Intervention Logistical Innovation’ (LILI) technology for hospital-acquired infection tracking and control. Dr. Barsky also received the Improving Cardiovascular Health Outcomes Award at the 2016 National American Medical Association Symposium. She is a lifetime member of Mensa.

Understanding the Misunderstood in Emergency, Hospital and Outpatient Care for Special Populations is available now in Paperback and Hardback at a 25% discount. Enter PROMO25 at the checkout to redeem.