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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The redefinition of a potentially functioning medical system in which each individual is able to utilize financially non-prohibitive care into a disjointed balkanized realm of income-based insurance tribes is aided by the protean definitions of the political buzzword “access.”  Access to medical care does not entail the ability to reliably obtain medical care much as medical insurance reform is not, in point of fact, healthcare reform.  Regardless, the conflation of ...

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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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"I'm going to write a column about dating you and call it ‘Sleeping with the Enemy,’" I announced from my rocking chair. His rocking stopped. “The enemy?” The rain was falling on the trees in front of my porch and on his parade. “Why am I the enemy?” “You know, clinicians vs. hospital administrators.” “Really?” he naively asked. “Why don't clinicians like us?” I was surprised he was so in the dark. Before that ...

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