He looked ahead, seeing his feet on the hearth. There was smoke rising from one of the three logs, and he marveled at the small flicker of flame that stretched up and ignited the smoke that swirled above the log, dancing briefly somewhat joyously, then gone again, smoke returning. "You can't say you weren't warned," she said. He sat, reflecting on her words. So much years of work, so much effort, breadwinner, ...

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Sometimes I need to clear away the chaos and confusion of medicine, so I walk down the worn path in our backyard (also trod frequently by children, dogs, cats, and deer). Sitting at the end of the path is the shop, which the kids and I helped a friend build. We helped set the foundations and nail the floor; we raised walls and put in roof trusses. The shop sits in ...

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Former South Carolina Senator, and current Heritage Foundation president, Jim DeMint recently angered supporters of the Affordable Care Act by stating that uninsured patients will "get better healthcare just going to the emergency room," than they will receive through Obamacare. That’s a sweeping assertion.  However, the ACA supporters offended by Sen. DeMint need to understand the supreme irony that without America’s emergency departments and their dedicated personnel, the ACA will fall ...

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What ever happened to courage? Jim came through the cholecystectomy beautifully. In fact, he did so well that in no time he was back on the basketball court. Three weeks later he was in my office with a sore, swollen leg. He thought it was from twisting his ankle the day before. And indeed, it had all the appearances of a sports injury. I examined the extremity carefully, and decided to get ...

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Many years ago when I was a “young” doctor, moonlighting in the ER of a tiny country town, I had an experience that challenged my training. You see, most young, new doctors often think their training and knowledge is superior to that of “old” doctors, which is often malarkey. A wise and sage old doctor in this tiny country town taught me an important lesson on where and how one ...

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As a nursing student, I always enjoyed being able to see first-hand new procedures, treatments, wounds and wound care on patients. Many of the patients were older and all were in the nursing homes we did our clinical rotations in. It wouldn't be unusual for several of us to be gathered around a patient while the wound care nurse or doctor cleaned, debrided and dressed a pressure ulcer, and for ...

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I have been a loyal patron of the Karma Hair Salon in New Haven, Conn. for at least the past 15 years. Whenever my hair looks good, it is thanks to Karma and owner Cheryl McMahon's expert attention to my unruly head (the thickness of my hair -- a good problem, I know! -- could give a yak envy; and I have more cowlicks than several small countries). If ever my hair doesn't look ...

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“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  I learned this saying when I came to America, but before that, I learned a different story.  A wood cutter got lost in the forest, it was getting dark and cold.  He met a bear, who offered him to come to his den.  The man entered and said “It stinks in here!”  The next day the woodcutter ...

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Life and death in a hospital ravaged by Hurricane KatrinaLife and death in a hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina An excerpt from Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. At last through the broken windows, the pulse of helicop­ter rotors and airboat propellers set the summer morning air throbbing with the promise of rescue. Floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina had marooned hundreds of people at the ...

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All people are gifted. As an emergency room physician, I see a wide variety of gifts, such as yodeling, knitting, and swearing (mostly swearing). One gift I rarely see is math. As a whole, the U.S. sucks at math. When compared with other nations, the U.S. ranks 32nd in math (though first in confidence). Despite this, we expect mathematical coherency from our drunkest friends. I enter the room to find Mom. ...

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