The radio crackled to life: “7-month-old boy found unresponsive. We started CPR, and he has an IO and ET tube. We’re 5 minutes out.” It was 8 a.m., and the emergency department team descended on the resuscitation room to prepare. I scurried around trying to finish some quick tasks to get my existing patients’ medical plans moving forward during the time I would surely be fully engrossed taking care of this ...

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When I decided to become a doctor, little did I know that medical school and residency would be like a hazing for future physicians. We are broken down mentally and physically and then remade in the image of the "strong" doctor and to admit to being sick is equivalent to being weak. We are publicly shamed for admitting we don't know the answer to daily pimping on morning rounds. We ...

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When I was a child, I knew I would become a doctor. I liked science and taking care of people. We diagnose medical problems and prescribe treatment plans. Some of us perform surgeries and some focus on keeping you well. Despite this, I’m nothing special, and neither are you, my physician colleagues. Let me explain why by first taking a brief step back into the history of American health care. Since ...

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Chances are that if you have kids, you’ve had at least one unplanned visit to the hospital. Taking care of children in the emergency department (ED) is a special challenge for many reasons including the fact that the child’s parents don’t choose to see me specifically, they are usually meeting me for the first time, and they’re meeting me under very stressful circumstances. When I started practicing medicine 20 years ago, ...

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I have worked most of the last 20 Halloweens in the pediatric emergency department (ED), so I’ve seen how a split second can ruin your child’s holiday.  Here are some things you can do to plan ahead and avoid the ED. 1. Avoid trip hazards It’s a recipe for mishap. Your child is in a costume that may have long hems or unusual shoes or a mask limiting their normal vision. A ...

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I am frequently asked by patients to “run some tests to make sure nothing is wrong.” This makes a lot of sense on the surface but makes no sense as a physician. Why? Because testing without a context or a medical question is nonsensical. Let’s talk about why. How doctors think Studies show that doctors only let their patient speak for 11 seconds on average before we ...

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When you see your doctor, you want to know what’s wrong, follow the steps to recovery and get predictable results. Sadly, this is not always possible. Medicine is an art based on science that is constantly changing and full of things we don’t know. Here are four reasons why it seems like your doctors didn’t get it right — when we actually did:

  • Your symptoms or exam findings were not typical ...

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The internet is an amazing source of information and misinformation. How do you know if what you are reading is accurate? Be a skeptic Last summer we were inundated with alarmist headlines about “dry drowning” after the tragic death of 4-year-old Frankie Delgado, who died days after an apparently harmless dunk under water while swimming off of the coast of Texas. While this child’s death was heart-breaking, the media ...

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Despite the fact that most people will have had the misfortune of visiting the emergency department (ED) at some point in their life, I find that many folks do not really understand what happens in the ED. 1. Emergency medicine is a specialty. Yes, we actually did residency training to learn how to work in the ED. This training lasted three to four years after medical school and is sometimes followed ...

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The holiday season is stressful enough without having to try to fit a visit to the emergency department (ED) in your schedule. Getting medical care on a major holiday can be especially difficult because most, if not all, offices and urgent cares are closed. This can make the ED wait longest around the holidays. Here are some tips to keep you out of the ED this holiday season. 1. Make sure ...

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