shutterstock_117726904 I suppose it is obvious that I am a fan of stories. I like to hear them, read them, watch them, collect them and tell them. I believe I am participating in stories every day of my life. The story of my family is a beautiful epic. The stories I hear at work can break my heart. One of my favorite ...

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Although I pride myself on catching the obscure snapshots of typical life moments that occur daily while dealing with patients and their families in the emergency department, occasionally there are times when I am so focused on the task at hand that I completely fail to see a glaring moment of obvious humor, sadness, or tenderness. At times like this, then, I am glad to have our hard-working nurses and ...

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shutterstock_11459362 The girl seizes. Her body torques and twists and jerks about like a snake trapped on an electric fence. She flops back and forth on the gurney before us, her pale forehead glistening with sweat, her brown hair wetted black from the effort of muscle contractions that threaten to tear apart her tiny frame. Trauma room two is silent save for the gluck-gluck-gluck of her ...

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The following article is satire. In the first application of a new “reverse AMA” system put into place to improve patient satisfaction, a patient was admitted to the hospital for the first time against the wishes of her treating ED physician.  Constance Dolor, a 37-year-old morbidly obese patient with chronic unexplained pain and a frequent visitor to the emergency department, became the first person in known history to be admitted the ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Uncertainty and Litigation Fears Drive ED Docs to Overimage. Nearly all emergency medicine physicians responding to a survey said that at least some of the advanced imaging studies they ordered were medically unnecessary.
  2. USPSTF: Not Enough Evidence for Thyroid Screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said there ...

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I walked into room 30 to find two eager sets of eyes awaiting me. One set belonged to a young man, late-twenties, muscular and imposing, sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. His eyes were hazel brown, big and inviting, relieved at seeing my entry into their sheltered world. The other set of eyes, darker brown and magnified by her gold-stemmed glasses, belonged to my patient, a ...

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shutterstock_141195013 American physicians have had it.  We are retiring early, cutting back, changing careers, and moping in to work in astounding numbers.  The typical pep talks, whether given aloud by medical directors and administrators or consisting of internal dialog occurring in the physician’s mind, are not working anymore.  “You have it better than most people.”  “You are still making good money.”  “Your ...

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CryingDoctor-640x480 Outside of a Southern California hospital, an ER doctor is crouched down against a concrete wall grieving the loss of his 19-year-old patient. A paramedic snaps a photo of the tender scene. His coworker, a close friend of the doctor, posts the photo (with permission) online. Minutes after the photograph, the doctor returns to work “holding his head high.” Thousands of people have ...

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shutterstock_139099052 I have been doing emergency medicine for almost ten years -- thirteen if residency counts, and I sure think it does.  I face the same issues that cause my work colleagues, physicians and nurses alike, to burnout. I struggle with burnout myself, but I keep coming back.  Many days (and nights), I ask myself why I continue to do what I ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Opioid Abuse Drops, Then Levels Off. Making an abuse-deterrent formulation of OxyContin (oxycodone ) diminished abuse in the short term, but the reductions eventually hit a plateau.
  2. After Ebola, Measles Death Toll Could Be High. The death toll from post-Ebola measles outbreaks in three West African countries could rival ...

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