"Good morning, Sandy. How was work?” How do I answer that in a normal way? Any given shift in any given ED is comprised of the gamut of emotions playing out behind the calm facade of physicians and nurses. Afterward, we often don't articulate or even process the roller coaster of feelings. The story of a recent Monday overnight illustrates the wild ride of emotions most people don't realize that emergency ...

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One very late spring evening during my last year of residency, I was driving home and got stopped at a police DUI checkpoint. I was exhausted from being up all night from being on call the night before and having been very busy had no time to shower, shave or change into my street clothes. I also got called in at 4 a.m. the previous day and had not showered or shaved that ...

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You have to create a disconnect from death. Not indifference, in fact, it’s your duty to combat it. But as an emergency medicine physician, you lose that battle often. I encounter death on a near daily basis as a resident in the emergency department, and despite all my years of training, there’s often nothing I or anyone can do to prevent it. Health care workers in such an environment often ...

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I am sharing this account of a serious medical emergency on a transoceanic flight because I hope it helps other health care providers assist people in the future and learn from the difficulties I encountered. About 8 1/2 hours into a 17-hour flight, a gentleman had a syncopal episode in the exit row I was sitting in. His face was bleeding, and he was having issues controlling his bowels afterwards. His ...

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Speech recognition errors occurred in 71 percent of emergency department notes, and 21.1 percent of notes with errors were judged as critical with potential implications for patient care says a recent study in the International Journal of Medical Informatics. Investigators looked at a random sample of 100 dictated notes and found 128 errors or 1.3 errors per note. More than half of the errors were ascribed to speaker mispronunciation. Although ...

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It’s true. Man nearly dies on plane because crew didn’t believe black woman was doctor. The medical fiasco on Delta Airlines has now gone viral after a Facebook post by Tamika Cross, MD, the physician who was turned away as a fellow passenger was unresponsive. Tamika joins a long list of female physicians who have experienced the same discrimination. Meet a few of these doctors below.
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I was working a 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. locums shift a few months ago and was preparing to leave. There were about 15 patients in rooms and 15 waiting to come back. I asked the lone night physician: "Hey, do you want me to stay a while?" Her answer, defeated, was this: "No, don’t worry. It’s always like this." I packed my bag and headed to the hotel, still feeling guilty ...

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As a physician, I knew exactly what was happening when I walked into the emergency room. My eyes were nearly swollen shut. My throat was closing. I was in the midst of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. I urgently needed epinephrine, a potent medicine that could halt my life-threatening symptoms. When I told the nurse what was happening, she rushed me to the trauma room where doctors and nurses encircled ...

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These days, I work most of my shifts about 45 minutes from my "house on the hill." At one of those jobs, the day shift starts at 6:30 a.m. Which means I’m rising from my bed at 4:30 a.m. in order to get on the road in time. I’ve started waking up at four, spontaneously, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I lay out my clothes ...

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Ah, EMTALA! The revered Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act! It’s one of those things which is like a nursery rhyme to emergency medicine folks like me. We’ve heard about it from the infancy of our training.  "And then the bad doctor sent the poor lady to another hospital because she couldn’t pay!  And the King came and crucified him for doing it!"  The end. EMTALA, for the uninitiated, is ...

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