About the Book: Famed photographer Eugene Richards, influential author of The Knife and Gun Club, captures the breathtaking moments of the lives and careers of American emergency physicians. Clinicians from across the country share their perspectives and insights on life and death amidst our ever-changing medical landscape.
The stigma (of men in nursing) was still alive and well in 1997 … people thought the work was all about fluffing pillows, stroking hands, and braiding patients’ hair.
We’re seeing more and more female physicians and paramedics … several of our helicopter pilots are women.
Alaska can be a hostile, dangerous environment … You never know what you’re going to get out here.
In situations like (rescuing a man from a 120 ft. glacier crevasse), we put ourselves as close to the patient as we safely can, but we sometimes have to trek a mile or more.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat (or treat a patient), and we get to exercise our knowledge and creativity every single day – at 31,000 feet.
I’ll admit that it’s pretty cool to step off that aircraft and walk to a scene – it makes you feel like a hero. But that’s not why I do the work.
We want the ugly stuff … that’s just the nature of our personalities. But there’s nothing better than knowing a patient lived because you were there. You land … and you do something good.
My father called me his “tiger.” My parents let us know that, as girls, my sisters and I could do anything; the sky was the limit.
The emergency department is like a snapshot of the community. We see all kinds.
We can find better ways to protect each other and ourselves while maintaining compassion for our patients.
We see and hear a lot of terrible things. They may make me sad, but they don't break me. But at home, I pray. I pray for my patients. I pray for myself.
I have a passion for civil disobedience. I get joy from arguing my position.
I loved the ER. It was the most action-packed place … there was so much to learn.
I set up my 24-month program and became the first emergency medicine resident in the country.
I didn't ask about my future or what kind of certificate I would get. I just wanted to do the training.
It’s one thing to be good with children – but it’s equally important to understand how to interact with the families.
You spend a lot of time reassuring (parents) that everything is going to be okay.
But what (parents) really want to say – but are too embarrassed – is, “We don’t have any money for the medicine and will never pick it up from the pharmacy.”
(We) have had to be on the alert for signs of child maltreatment, and ready to intervene – but we need to be doing a better job with these growing mental health issues.
Of course, you never forget the terrible cases … But you take solace in the balance … in the resilience of the kids … and in the fact that good things are happening.
© Eugene Richards, 2018, reproduced with permission