Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day in the ER

Thank you for all of the comments and kind words on yesterday's post. It came straight from the heart, trying to make sense of things. Wife-Bob came home after I was finished writing it to find me dead asleep on the floor next to my laptop....

As regular readers know, I try to convey a sense of what the emergency department and medicine in general are like for folks who don't spend much time in the hospital. (The best description I've ever heard of my job is that working in the ER is as close as you can come to living in a Vonnegut novel.)

When I write about patients on the blog I always struggle with how much to reveal. Patient confidentiality is an inviolable part of the relationship with the doctor, but I firmly believe that sharing the extremes of the human experience is how we all get stronger and wiser. I'd like to think that I honor my patients' experiences (or memories) by sharing the essential, universal parts of them, as long as there are no individually identifiable details. I wrestle with finding the line in every one of these mini-essays.



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