Doctoring or parenting? It shouldn’t be a choice.

Every mama bear fiber in my being was screaming at me that I shouldn’t be there. The patient’s lips were moving, but the words were basically “wah wah wah” as if Charlie Brown’s teacher were speaking. All I could hear over and over in my head was the phone call from my youngest about his brother’s accident at camp. “Mom, Cole’s hurt. He’s in the ambulance.” My eyes were seeing my patient, whose normal-looking ankle was only sprained, but my heart was imagining my son grimacing on a backboard with his grossly deformed ankle. I was supposed to be practicing medicine as usual, but I couldn’t. I was a wreck.

An hour or so before, as soon as I’d learned about his injury, I’d gone right up the chain of command. At 8:30 p.m., it could have been possible to find coverage for my night shift given my family emergency. What I got instead of coverage for my shift was a grace period for being late while I sorted out where the ambulance was taking my son and made sure his father was on his way. As I got into my car, I coached my ex, who hates hospitals and gets nauseated just by the loss of a baby tooth, to be calm and cool when he got to Cole’s bedside. Then, instead of driving to the ED to which the ambulance was taking my child, I drove to work.c

For the full article, please visit Emergency Medicine News.

Sandra Scott Simons is an emergency physician.  This article originally appeared in Emergency Medicine News.

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