State of the State: Avoidable ER Visits

September 29, 2014

In his 2014 State of the State’s Health address to state lawmakers, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health commented, “44% of all the emergency department visits in the state are preventable.” Unfortunately, I think these comments reflect a growing public perception of emergency medicine – that a large percentage of people use the ED inappropriately and as an expensive substitute for primary care.

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Putting It Away

September 25, 2014

I set up the laceration tray, sterilized the man’s face, put on my mask and size six gloves, and leaned forward to anesthetize the gash. The patient recoiled from me. “You are NOT putting that needle into me.” He had been drinking. I looked over at his girlfriend, sitting against the wall. She met my gaze and raised her eyebrows pointedly, as if to say, ‘Deal with it yourself.” Read the rest of this entry »


September 9, 2014

The poet Stephen Dunn once said,“I think one of my early motivations for writing was that other people’s versions of experience didn’t gel with my own. It was a gesture toward sanity to try to get the world right for myself. I’ve since learned that if you get it right for yourself, it often has resonance for others.” Read the rest of this entry »