Sheila’s jaw is clenched. Sweat is beading on her forehead. I make a slow audible inhale, non-verbally inviting her to do the same. We’ve been talking about the nightmares which started shortly after she began receiving help with personal care. I remind her that she is safe — the day she was raped is decades in the past. Her conscious mind knows this, of course, but for people with posttraumatic ...

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At 3 1/2 years old, my son was the picture of health. I have an actual picture. He is in jammies, wearing my sunglasses, laughing and chalk coloring the driveway while the sun is shining on his blond hair. That picture frequently flashes in my mind. I posted it on Facebook, my happy, healthy boy. There was no warning and nothing to prepare me for the months ahead. First, it was ...

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I struggle with customer service. I truly never anticipated that it would be such a big part of my career. I never fathomed that it would be something that I struggle with on a daily basis. Well, honestly it does not happen every day and does not occur at every facility that I work at. Yet, it happens often enough that it has affected where I work, how I interact ...

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I spent the week in meetings discussing logistics and hospital preparations for the alt-right’s “Unite the Right” rally to be held this weekend in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA. We discussed the likely injuries that would occur, how we were going to decrease the hospital census to deal with potential overflow, methods of securing the campus, and the latest police updates. On Friday afternoon I summed up our discussions with my ...

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Today, I hugged a stranger. And I didn’t know his name. We had just operated on a young man, probably in his late teens.  He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and was in critical condition.  When he lost pulses in the trauma bay, we cut his chest open and spread his ribs.   His lifeless body laid there as we held his heart in the palm of our ...

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An excerpt from The Other Side of the Bed: What Patients Go Through and What Doctors Can Learn. As soon as I’d opened my mouth, I regretted it. In the hospital, it’s bad luck to say “It looks quiet,” or anything to that effect. At the sound of those words, ...

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In his famous novel, Moneyball, Michael Lewis illustrates the phenomenon of professional baseball scouts focusing on all the wrong characteristics when looking at players. He describes how scouts focus on fastball velocity as a way to compare pitchers, despite the lack of correlation between fastball speed and the quality of a pitcher. As it turns out, the most important factor in a pitcher is deception, not a high-velocity fastball. The ...

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Victim: Female nurse, age 25 Time: circa 1980 Place: A hospital in a sleepy Southern town with fifty beds, six emergency department beds, one nurse, one doctor and one secretary. It was an unusually quiet Friday night in this small emergency department. We all knew Friday was "party day": pay day, play day, alcohol, pills, drugs, loud music and lots of really bad decisions. Not only did we cover the entire city, but we also ...

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Watch Dr. Vaughn Browne's emergency medicine journey. Courtesy of Black Men in White Coats.

Do you ever have that “aha!" moment? That moment when a revelation hits you with such a level of intensity that your physical being is jolted. Attention is obtained as if a Louisville slugger or defibrillator pad made contact at an opportune moment. That moment of revelation when a crimson string interwoven through the fabric of your life makes a connection, transcending childhood, college, young adulthood, professional and personal relationships. ...

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