Preface: I love to write about many things. People, pets, children, family, nature. But over and over I come back to a theme: my colleagues in our specialty and the forces arrayed against us. I’m not trying to be the toxic voice, the endless complainer. But if people like me don’t beat the drum, then nothing will ever change for the better. In this column I will continue to explore issues ...

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An ER missed Ebola.  Heres how it could happen to you. How did the emergency department staff of a Texas hospital see, and discharge, a patient infected with Ebola? Despite the fact that blame spreads through hospitals faster than hemorrhagic fever viruses, I’m not interested in pinning down a single person, or a single thing, which may have allowed that to happen. I am very interested, however, in offering a few insights ...

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The ER demonstrates the inverted priorities of American society We fling open the doors of America’s emergency departments to help those who can’t afford health care.  We have legislated this protection: No person can be turned away for financial reasons.  This is very compassionate, and represents the higher angels of our culture.  Alas, it also is emblematic of the stupider demons of government.  You see, the ER demonstrates the inverted priorities ...

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Ebola virus is rampant in West Africa. So far, the death toll is around 2,296, which makes it one of the largest outbreaks ever. Ebola is what’s known as a hemorrhagic fever virus, and belongs to a large family of nasty viruses that are widespread around the world. There’s even one in the American Southwest known as hantavirus, that lives in a species of mice. Yellow fever, which killed so ...

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Dont forget to feed the doctors and nurses I went to the hospital cafeteria one day last year and experienced an epiphany. It was around 4:30 p.m. and the place was supposed to close at 6:00 p.m. As I entered, the folks inside were covering up the food and putting it all away. "Did you want something, I mean, we can make something for you." "Nope, I guess not," ...

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Dont be stupid, and other wise words to new college students Welcome to college, young people! It’s an amazing time in your lives. These years will impact your life dramatically if you use them well. So, to help you along the way, allow me to give you some wisdom. First and foremost, get some wisdom. You are bright and capable, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be in college in the first place. But for all ...

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Consider the messages that tattoos are sending Ink is everywhere these days, and I don’t mean on newspapers or in magazines. Tattoos are far more pervasive than I can ever recall in my fifty years. There was a time, when I was young, that boys were awestruck by the old Navy veterans, whose arms bore anchors, and the Marines with Semper Fi across their battle scarred chests. Occasionally, ...

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I recently did a tally.  Since starting my locums adventure last year, and going to full-time locums in January, I’ve worked in a grand total of 11 emergency departments.  Let me qualify that for the occasional visitor to my blog.  I decided to do this for purposes of flexibility, finances and a much needed change of scenery.  Not because I’m a problem physician, or unable to do the work in ...

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We live in an incredible age. Life expectancies continue to rise. The environment in the U.S. is cleaner than it has ever been. The sum of the world’s knowledge is at the fingertips of any and every smartphone user, waiting to be accessed when they finish playing Candy Crush. The face of poverty in America is still terrible to behold; but it bears little resemblance to poverty down the long ...

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We practice distracted medicine everyday I have a shiny new Bluetooth device.  So now, as I zip around town, I can speak without my hands touching my phone. It’s relevant because our county is passing a ban on cell phone use, unless it is hands-free. This is a national trend, of course, and the catch phrase is "distracted driving." Everyone knows that distracted driving is bad. ...

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