Agraphia Medical Tragicomedy

About

I'm an emergency medicine physician, currently working out in private practice in the hills.   I did my residency at a major level 1 trauma center in the southeast. I will say that it’s one of those programs that usually shows up on national top-10 lists, but I’ll only go that far.  In my free time (of which I have little) I write this blog, cook, do research, and try to get out running as often as possible.

This blog is not meant to provide any sort of medical advice whatsoever, no matter how definitively I may claim something in a post. I write in hyperbole, which means that truths have been stretched, keeping the original spirit of the story.

Please note, I love writing, but HIPAA is strict.  All names are changed, all dates are changed, and I always take creative license with the stories - both for legal reasons and for the sake of good storytelling.  As such, even if you think a post is about you, it's not.

If you’re dropping by for the first time, welcome! I truly enjoy writing this blog and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I do. Feel free to drop an email or check out my Best Of category.

I don't track or otherwise collect any data on my users, aside from vanilla wordpress and google analytics stats.

Feel free to email me at agraphia.mailbag@gmail.com if you have questions, want to chat, or have lucrative book-signing deals you want to discuss :)

Comments (17) Trackbacks (0)
  1. What a thoughtful and well-crafted blog. Thanks for sharing all your insights and experiences. I’m a non-trad pre med right now and I really appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

  2. I just stumbled across your blog today and read the first six pages in quick succession! It’s fascinating and you write with such ease. Thanks!

  3. Stumbleupon just suggested your blog to me today and I’ve already read all your posts. I actually want to be an ER doc, so I look forward to reading more about your experiences. :)

  4. Came through Stumbleupon.
    This is a wonderful read.
    I am a doctor, doing mba now and have bid adieu to medicine for good. Your blog made me miss it. Real bad.
    I hope you get your deserving break. Keep writing.

    • As an MBA thinking of going into medicine, I’m curious about your move in the other direction. Have you finished your MBA? Where has your path taken you? What made you decide to leave?

      • Thank you, Jeff. I am glad you enjoyed my set and was able to stick arunod If you are a New Orleans native be sure to stay up to date with future performances via the events tab.

  5. Enjoyed your stories. I have been practicing medicine for 25 years, im sure you will make a great ER doc

  6. If I can stop reading your blog and resume my studying for the boards I hope to join you in the field of ER. Great stories, thanks for writing.

  7. I am about to start an M.D./PhD this summer– thank you for taking the time to put this together. For some reason, I found it to be very motivating. it’s a very honest take on a challenging, yet ultimately rewarding career. I love the consistent, longitudinal dimension to the blog.

  8. I just discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading it. I love the stories and honesty. I am a 4th year med student applying in obstetrics and gynecology. I thought about making my blog private during the interview season, but seeing another person with a blog in the medical field (that isn’t private) reassures me it is ok to keep mine “open.” I love the feedback I get from readers and I enjoy writing my blog (which is about running for the most part, rarely about school). It helps me synthesize my training and such. Any thoughts? Good luck with your job! My roommate is going into ER.

  9. Your topics are well chossen- everything from burn-out, drug seekers, life transitions, and patient trust, to the the continuous moral battles faced by physicians since the birth of medicine- written with anecdotal charm and such raw, honest insight. Thank you so much for this blog. I plan to follow closely.

  10. Thank you for writing this blog. I really needed to find something that portrays what we go through in the ER.

  11. Hi, I was wondering if you could help me figure out something. My husband and I went to the ER last night for a car accident. We had different doctors. I was given a CT scan and a diagnosis of back and neck sprain with a closed head injury. My husband had a neck sprain. My doctor said she did not feel comfortable writing me a script for anything more than naproxen, which makes me queesy and doesn’t work. My husband’s doctor wrote him hydrocodone and sent him on his way.

    The last time I had pain killers was 6 months ago when I had my baby. I have never had a drug problem. I was not the “typical” drug seeker. I was a woman in a bad car accident asking for relief from my pain, which is substantial.

    Can you think of any reason the doctor would have said this? It made me feel so uncomfortable and shameful that I even asked for something stronger than Naproxen. I cried when I finally got home. From the accident and the shame I felt.

    Thank you

  12. Sorry, I should add an addendum.

    I am currently on medication for bipolar and anxiety. One of my medications seriously interacts with Tramadol, and I told the ER nurse this. When she came back after I asked for something stronger than naproxen, the prescription was Tramadol. She looked at it and said she was sorry and didn’t know why the Dr. wrote that down. Then she came back and told me about not feeling comfortable.

    Thank you.

  13. This is a great blog! I love reading it and you’ve provided so much insight! Thank you so much!

  14. Hi, I’m in high school and a senior this year. I’ve always dreamt of being an ER doctor, and my graduation project is probably on this subject. Thank you so much for your blog to help me! :)

  15. I’ve read your interest in reducing prescription drug abuse. However, I am interested to know how exactly ER physicians who receive an average of three hours of addiction training [http://www.tgorski.com/news_analysis/medical_education_about_addiction_010605.htm] so readily diagnose addiction, not to mention those with pschiatric diagnoses for which they have no training whatsoever in diagnosing? Exactly how many ER physicians know a patient cut off benzodiazepines and denied treatment in ER could very well die or “at least” have a seizure? The answer is close to zero. The fact is that a great majority of illnesses and accidents that land patients in the ER are or were preventable. Why not deny them treatment? Why not label the morbidly obese “surgery seekers?” I realize you see your share of patients truly seeking nothing but a fix for a high, but there are also a great many more who are self-medicating psychiatric conditions. And how do you explain the refusal to treat others ER physicians deign themselves above? Here’s a roll call of just what ER staffs get away with every day across the nation: http://www.stoperabuse.org/the-er-abuse-news-scroll/ Finally, given their higher than the average population addiction, perhaps the reason for all of these problems is based on the ER physicians’ projecting of their own worst attributes. I don’t think a profession with such a record should consider itself above treating any addict. And if both doctors and physicians were at some point forced to learn the prescribing instructions for drugs like the benzodiazepines they so freely distribute, perhaps some patients might avoid becoming addicted. However, I believe that out of ten or so psychiatrists I’ve encountered, not one had the slightest clue about the withdrawal dangers involved in sudden cessation of the drug. So, before blaming your patients, you might want to blame the profession to which you belong and the drug companies that pay your salaries and then ask yourself: Where is the oversight of ER physicians beyond your bonus for doling out antibiotics or not? The truth is, there is no oversight. Who will report you? You? Your nurse? The patient you discharged who is now somewhere in agony that you so casually dismiss? So here’s how I propose we deal with addiction-ignorant ER physicians and solve the other side of the problem. During your final year of med school, your put on a regimen of benzodiazepines, and before granted your degree, your abruptly and without any warning of the exact date forbidden to take that medication. Now, enjoy the one to two year withdrawal and, if you can still think, you’ll receive your medical degree. And with that, both your problem and your patients’ problems are solved.


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