On my first trauma shift as a fourth-year medical student, a young, disheveled man with blood-soaked pants hobbled into the emergency department. Wincing in pain, he offered me a bizarre history of being shot in the leg by a nail gun that went off after he dropped it on some stairs while helping a friend move. He lifted his right pant leg and removed the bloody, tattered bandana wrapped around ...

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“Sorry, excuse me, can I get through please?” I wiggled my way to the head of the bed. Quickly, I set up the necessary intubation tools as the patient arrives shortly thereafter. A frenzy ensues, tubes flying over the patient, people talking over each other. “Can you draw me up some RSI meds? Let’s get this guy intubated now. Sorry, but I need it quiet in here.” Tube placed, a wave ...

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"Ice! Ice! I need ice!" Paul yelled, rushing into a store. It was a skate shop. They looked at him like he was crazy. "Ice! Ice! I need ice!" he continued to yell. The store employees looked at Paul with a blank stare. They pointed to the restaurant next door and suggested that he try there to get ice. They had no idea what was going on. Paul's girlfriend had overdosed on heroin and ...

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Am I the only emergency physician who sometimes wonders who left me in charge of an ED? I should be confident in managing whatever comes through those ED doors after more than ten years of single-coverage night shifts, but each night I hear a little voice in my amygdala questioning whether tonight will be the night I won't be able to handle something. Sometimes I feel afraid of the unknown ...

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The emergency room is packed. I interject another question to further clarify when exactly Mrs. Smith’s chest pain started, cutting off a story about her daughter -- a tactic I would have found unthinkably rude only years before but has now become a necessary technique. After leaving the room, I try to put in orders, but the electronic medical record resets itself, I’m informed an X-ray won’t upload unless I ...

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Watching events unfold at United Airlines over the last few days have filled me with shock, awe, and horror.  As a result of this public relations disaster, their motto “flying the friendly skies” has turned into “not enough seating, prepare for a beating.” America stands as a beacon of freedom from oppression.  United Airlines was an iconic American company until last Sunday, with a responsibility to uphold the intent of ...

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As the civil war in Syria shows no signs of de-escalating, worrisome evidence points towards the deployment of chemical warfare with banned agents recently, resulting in almost a hundred deaths with more than a quarter of them children. Chlorine and Sarin gas are primarily being implicated. Here are ten facts to know about Sarin gas and how it works. 1. Historically, Sarin was used for bioterrorism by members of Aum Shinrikyo, ...

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So it’s a Wednesday night, and I just got home after completing a shift. I’m beat. My beautiful sofa beckons to me, and my TV seduces me with brainless images and sound. I succumb to the temptation. I turn on Netflix. Too many movies, too many decisions. Screw this; I didn’t just finish up a shift to have to sit and make more decisions. I go to the suggested for ...

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Physicians are trained to assess and care for patients who walk through their hospital or clinic doors. Few of us are prepared to watch for signs that one of our colleagues may need help. That changed for me with one trauma case. I came into the emergency department as the patient arrived -- a 33-year-old female with multiple, self-inflicted stab wounds. I walked around the corner to the trauma bay and ...

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As a first-year oral and maxillofacial (OMF) surgery intern, I was the first responder to any facial trauma at a hospital in Queens, NY. Therefore in the past 12 months, I was a primary care provider for numerous facial lacerations of women due to domestic violence. And was a 1st assistant in providing care to patients (both men and women) with orbital floor fractures and mandible fractures due to domestic ...

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