After years and years of practicing emergency medicine, I’ve seen and treated thousands of children for everything from beads in the nose to leukemia, ruptured spleens to sprained ankles. A father of four myself, I take great delight in interacting with the kids that come through my workplace. I consider it a personal challenge to make them smile whenever possible and to put them at ease. I’ve learned a few things over ...

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I have never wanted to be the medical advice columnist. “Dear Dr. Leap: My feet sweat all the time. I’ve tried everything! What should I do?” Nope, I’m not your guy. Nor do I want to opine on study after study about statin drugs for cholesterol or discuss whether women should take estrogen. There are physicians who love those questions! And I think they’re fantastic. But I’m an emergency medicine ...

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“So tell me why you think you you’re having a stroke?” The nice lady, mid 40s, sat on the ER exam table in work-clothes, an anxious look on her face. “Well, I was working the cattle up in the timber, and when I got back to my 4-wheeler my heart was racing, and I was short of breath. My arms were tingling, and so was my face. I’m concerned it might ...

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How do you define yourself? How do you describe yourself? In the past, I have tried to avoid immediately categorizing myself by my profession. I always agreed with The Little Prince:

Grown-ups love figures … When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you "What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does ...

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When I go to work, I take a lot of things with me. Everyone has their ritual, right? I take my backpack with my computer inside. I take my phone. I take charging cords, the true modern lifeline. I take lunch. I carry a pen, flashlight and pocket knife. On a more abstract level, I take the wonderful education I received as a medical student and resident, coupled with my years ...

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Sometimes medicine offers us wonderful, almost unimaginable gifts. Heart attacks that were devastating, life-altering events a few decades ago are now treated with expediency and skill that our grandparents couldn’t imagine. A couple of days pass, and the victim is home with stents in occluded arteries and directions to modify activity and diet. Pneumonia, once the "old person’s friend" (so called because it took the aged to eternity), is far less ...

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Gather round kids! Let Grandpa Doctor Leap tell you a few things about the old days of doctoring in the emergency room: Back in the good old days, medicine was what we liked to call "fun." Not because it was fun to see people get sick or hurt or die, but because we were supposed to do our best and people didn’t wring their hands all the time about rules and ...

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Alfred is 95 years old, and sits quietly in his wheelchair, rocking back and forth.  His strength is gone, and his veins and tendons bulge through fair, translucent skin, stretched over muscles of long lost size and use.  His greatest foe is gravity, which holds his lithe, bird-like form in the chair enough to cause sores on his hips, but only barely.  It looks as if he might float away. He remembers little, but ...

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I remember the early trials of thrombolytics; not for stroke but for MI. During my residency, we were still comparing tPA with streptokinase. It was pretty incredible stuff. Now we’ve moved beyond that positively "medieval" method of treating heart attacks and have advanced to incredible interventions in coronary and cerebrovascular disease. Furthermore, we are able to rescue more and more people from the brink of death with advanced medications and with ...

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One of the terrible things about being a physician who has spent his adult life working in emergency rooms is that you have a certain terrible clarity about the dangers of this life. It’s why we’re forever pestering our loved ones with phone calls and texts: "Are you there yet!" Or telling the children, "Be careful! After midnight there are too many drunks on the road!" Met, of course, with ...

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