Thanks to GruntDoc for the referral, Eric Berger, a writer for the Annals of Emergency Medicine kindly included an interview with me in his article on Emergency Medicine bloggers:
I'm honored to be included amongst these fellow bloggers who I admire greatly, and who really inspired me to begin this hobby. Congratulations to GruntDoc, CharityDoc, Shadowfax, Trenchy, and Nick. I raise a virtual glass in a virtual toast to all of you, and to all of those who visit and comment here who make this so enjoyable for me.Inevitably most emergency medicine blogs include descriptions of patients. A doctor will present a case, and make a comment. Often the point is simply to vent—consider this snippet from a screed by the anonymous author of Scalpel or Sword for a patient who got tired of waiting and turned abusive:
“Oh, and yelling to the world that you have to go to work at 7:30 a.m. does not buy you any sympathy from the staff or your fellow patients. Are you suggesting that you are more important than these other folks, or that they don’t have to go to work? How insulting. Get your obnoxious (but uninjured) ass back in your room or leave. We don’t really have a preference.”
Such rants not only provide a release for a frustrated doctor, they can provide support and validation for hard, sometimes thankless, work. After posting that rant, the author received 13 supportive comments, such as “Wow! You DA man!” Such free, emotional releases are why a number of emergency physician bloggers, including the author of Scalpel or Sword, prefer anonymity.
“I would never want to embarrass my hospital, my patients, or my bosses, and I certainly wouldn’t want to lose my job over anything I might say,” said the Houston-based emergency physician. “So I change enough key details in each of my rants to provide a layer of camouflage to the average reader. Often cases I present are composites of several different patients or situations anyway. But they are all based on actual circumstances I have personally encountered. I don’t provide any personally identifiable medical information about any of my patients, so I avoid violating the strict HIPAA laws.”