How applicable are the lessons we learn in the hospital to other areas of our personal and professional lives? Over the past eight years in the emergency department, I have learned most about people. These lessons have been crucial to my success in the ER and as a father to my teenage children. These are my top 5 insights: 1. Clear communication is key and overly clear communication is even better. It ...

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Recently, a young child died following days of vomiting. He had been in shallow water in a Texas dike about a week before his death. The story was picked up as an alleged case of a rare condition called dry drowning or secondary drowning. The media accounts went viral, spreading significant fear in parenting communities and among those learning about these alleged conditions from the news ...

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I cried this morning. It wasn’t because of the patient who coded with a wide-complex tachycardia and died in front of me, and it wasn’t because of the patient who tried to spit on me for not giving her a prescription for narcotics. Nor was it my intoxicated 2 a.m. bar fight patient yelling at my other patients, including one whom I’d recently diagnosed with metastatic cancer. It was because ...

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I want to sincerely thank you from the depths of my heart. I don’t show it, and I certainly don’t say it, but you have always been my role model. You positively shape who I am as a man, and your staunch encouragement is invaluable to me. In a world of words, texts and tweets, you have let your actions speak. You have remained apolitical and areligious, choosing to focus your ...

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I am an emergency physician, forever grateful of the responsibilities entrusted by my patients. This is a relationship I hold dear. As such, I’m an active participant in the war of life and death for our patients. I’m in the trenches with the best nurses, techs and EMS personnel holding the line as the battle continues. We have our victories and share our defeats, all in the name of what ...

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During my salad days, I — like a lot of physicians — thought I could take on the world. Despite working in a smaller, community hospital, our ER saw a lot of the same type of orthopedic trauma I saw during residency. And my young partners and I took virtually every case that came in except spinal trauma. We did this whether we were on unassigned ER call or not ...

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After another long shift of patients with colds, bug bites, ankle sprains and sore throats I eagerly looked through the wine selection at the local grocery store. It was my wedding anniversary and nearing 9 p.m. at the beginning of a holiday weekend. While at the checkout line, an elderly woman in front of me thanked me for my service. At that moment, I realized that I was wearing my ...

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Independent physician groups and solo physicians have been the historic bedrock of medical practice. While it is true that there is intense pressure on the single-physician group, and this market is shrinking, independent physicians are here to stay. Some single practice physician groups may merge with larger groups, some physicians will break off from the large contract groups, but there is no plan on them becoming extinct. Independent physician groups have ...

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I carried it around with me the entire shift. I showed it to my E.R. colleagues, the internists, and even a couple of surgeons. I’d tell them the story. “Never,” one of them said. “Not in twenty-eight years. Never seen that before.” One of them held the small urine jar up to a light and began unscrewing the lid. “Don’t!” I said. “Why not?” “It stinks. You wouldn’t believe how much it stinks. We ...

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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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