Emergency medicine is a specialty that requires a strong constitution.  It requires that nurses and physicians walk boldy into rooms where patients say, for instance:

‘I pulled this out of that draining hole in my groin; they (?) told me I should bring it for you to see.’

It requires that we courageously open the plastic bag, pull out the suspiciously wrapped washcloth and expose the horrors, the corruption, the foul contents wrapped therein…all the while expecting something to spring up and eat our eyeballs, or embed itself forever in our olfactory bulb like a nightmarish memory.

And it requires that we smile when the very person who brought the horrid, festering bit of decaying flesh asks:  ‘Can I have this Big Mac I brought?’

Do not fear, my friends and colleagues, the cardiac arrest, the gunshot wound, the overdose. Do not fear the schizophrenic homeless person afflicted by the CIA, wrapped in tin-foil.  Do not fret over the vagaries of Joint Commission. 

But fear the contents wrapped in plastic, lying in the same bag as the cheeseburger.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Edwin

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