Emergency Room Experience Offers Perspective On Life

By Karen Sheehan, MD

There is no group more superstitious than a bunch of emergency medicine doctors and nurses. I always find that humorous because they are one of the most knowledgeable, most resourceful groups of individuals that one could ever meet. But say something like, “it is sure is quiet in the emergency department tonight”, and they will give you the evil eye, throw salt over their shoulders or just plain curse you.

Although I am amused by my colleagues’ superstition, I understand. Their attempts to avoid tempting fate are just that. No one knows better than an emergency room worker how each of us is only step away from a life-changing event. Unfortunately, we rarely work a shift where we don’t make a new diagnosis of cancer, a severe infection or a life-threatening allergy — all of which can change a child’s health, and a family’s happiness and well-being, forever.

So give your child an extra hug tonight. Does it really matter that she didn’t put her clean laundry away, clean the litter box or empty the dishwasher? I guarantee you there is a family in the emergency department today that wishes they yelled a little less, hugged a little more.

 

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