Last month I was given the distinct honor of giving the opening address
to the Swedish Society of Emergency Medicine as our specialty became
officially recognized as a board certified entity in Sweden. The Swedes
have watched with growing envy over the years as emergency medicine in
America has gone from a rag-tag army of the restless and bold to one of
the most sought after medical training programs in existence.
This month I present a potpourri of concepts and Quixotic explorations
of ideas mostly brought on by travel, cocktail parties and my obsessive
study of obscure topics. Hold onto your hats. My first topic is the
current struggle which the country seems to be having over marriage.
As I sit here listening to the endless debates on why the sequester will
destroy/help us and whose fault it is and why things are so bad, I am
forced to contemplate fundamental changes in the American culture which
got us to this point. It is not simply a red state/ blue state thing. It
is not just the rich being demonized by the poor. There is a
fundamental shift – a splintering – taking place in both culture and
tradition in the once united America.
If government is the answer, just imagine how stupid the question is.
George Orwell was correct when he commented: “In a time of universal
deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Disinformation – or
non-information – is everywhere. Most 24-hour news is 24 hours of crap.
When last I put pen to paper, we discussed the vexing problems of the
complex code breaking we are obligated to teach our young colleagues.
These codes of statistical mathematics, definitional precision, and
societal interaction are still the core of what we give to residents,
and are lessons that stay with them long after data about antibiotics
and SSRIs have been forgotten. But there are also the specific truths
(lest I say aphorisms) of the practice of emergency medicine they must
also master if they are to long survive this most grueling of careers.
Real conversation in America is almost gone. Social interaction has
become so terse as to be essentially nonexistent. We have been
hoodwinked into believing that we are so much better “connected” than
any other generation has ever been. Hogwash! Never has a country had
more but enjoyed it less.
By embracing appropriate mid-career shifts, we can re-infuse maturing
EPs with the excitement that once drew them to the specialty
Greg Henry sat down with EMP co-founder David Packo to discuss staffing models, Press Ganey and other workforce quagmires.
I have fallen into my usual melancholy funk, having recently finished
watching the conventions of the two major political parties. Let’s get
this out of the way forthwith: I’m an equal opportunity despiser. I hate
all the two-faced lying and the useless intellectual crap. Generosity
to this upper echelon is not my forté. One group tells us we are in
Xanadu while the other tells us we are in hell.
From the Higgs boson to light-bending galaxies, a physics lesson on
scale, and how our vantage point can make all the difference.