When Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas, devastating millions of people, I was lucky to be in an area of Houston where the flooding did nothing more than confine me to my apartment for a few days. It hurt to see so many people suffering after reading the news and social media posts about people losing their homes, many of their belongings, and in some cases, their lives. As the flooding ...

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Despite what the textbooks say or how much research is devoted to substance use disorder, I still meet people who feel that addiction is a "choice," and that these patients don't need "treatment" (you made your bed, and now you can just lay in it). To a certain degree, this is true. Like Little Debbie cakes and type 2 diabetes, cigarettes and lung cancer, lack of exercise and essential hypertension, addiction ...

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I used to practice locums medicine; which for the lay person means traveling to different jobs, sometimes several states at a time.   During that time I stayed in a lot of hotels.  But, occasionally, I had more unique accomodations.  Obviously, if you travel enough, you’ll sleep in an airport here and there. No big deal.  I actually like sleeping in airports occasionally.  When you’re stuck, you’re stuck.  Weather or ...

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STAT_Logo I’m a physician, a husband and dad, a guy who tries to live by the golden rule. But sometimes I’m an escort into sadness and despair, plunging families into the darkest emotional depths with the news I must give.

One particular case from years prior stands out. Mary (whose name and identifying details have ...

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As an attending and educator, I give a lecture to the residents each year about stroke syndromes.  In the lecture, I use mnemonics, pictures, and associations, so that the trainees can retain the information in non-traditional ways and have fun learning what could be otherwise dull material.  When I talk about the internal carotid artery stroke syndromes, I bring up the possibility of “the good, the bad and the ugly” ...

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“Apocalyptic” was the word used by my fellow volunteers at the local church, a temporary shelter for displaced families on post-hurricane-landfall day 3. Although the flooded roads harboring similarly displaced alligators, fire ants, and snakes and the black flecks in the sky representing rescue helicopters were grossly removed from the many-eyed beasts of Revelations, I agreed with their assessment. In fact, the thousands of flooding victims stranded on roofs in ...

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As a pediatrician in training, I’ve seen countless instances in which parents, in both the ED and inpatient/outpatient care settings, have presented with deep concern regarding their child’s fever. It’s an age-old concern. But why exactly does fever cause so much distress in a parent’s world? As a medical student, I distinctly remember rotating with an attending physician who had strong feelings regarding fever. He became angry with me when I ...

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My significant other is a physician working in Houston, and he missed Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, being out of town for a conference. The hospital sent out an S.O.S. asking faculty to do their best to come in. As the Houston airports continued to be closed Monday and Tuesday, he and his colleague, also a physician and a native of Houston, flew to another airport and drove a few ...

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Being a health care provider has always come with personal risk. We care for all patients, which includes patients agitated due to psychiatric issues, dementia, acute medical illness, alcohol or drug intoxication or just anger. Patients can be extremely volatile and lash out unexpectedly causing physical injury to their doctor, nurse or another provider. Besides the physical risk, patients can be emotionally and verbally abusive as well- and both types ...

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I know, I know, I spend way too much time ranting about work in the emergency department. But after some recent shifts, my box of rants is full once more. And what I want to point out is the enormous struggle of the mid-sized emergency departments in America today. I know this is a problem; I work in them, and I know and talk with people who work in them. It’s ...

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