Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thoughts and Prayers

There are some news stories that demand your attention. Those of us who gather information online are used to seeing the eye-catching news stories (like in the column of story links on CNN's webpage) that keep you from surfing to the next site. It says a lot about the media that headlines like Woman on horse shops at Target are adjacent to 3 Oakland police officers killed in shootings. I admit that I typically avoid the news stories about killings equally with the stupid sounding ones. So why did I read the articles about the tragedy in Oakland?

I think it was the personal connection.
  1. In my career as an EM doc, I will see plenty of shootings.
  2. I've already been a part of care for a man down.
  3. I admire how firemen, police officers and medics put themselves at risk for a greater good.
  4. In the recent match, I ranked the emergency medicine residency at Highland Hospital (in Oakland) very high on my list.
That I had already imagined myself living in Oakland, working at Highland and being a part of the trauma team that received victims like this struck a chord with me. Unfortunately this is not the last time I will face a situation such as this. Part of me believes that reading about this, reflecting on it and greiving in absentia will help me prepare for when I'm the one applying pressure, pushing fluids and wheeling the patient to the operating room as soon as possible. Would I also be among this group? Police officers, ministers, community organizers, political leaders and concerned citizens are gathered all around Oakland in groups shown in this photo. This scene just happens to be in an ER waiting room that I've walked through. A different kind of mourning was no doubt going on behind the waiting room walls.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Is there is also a role for EM docs outside in the community talking about violence, safety and emergency response? I'm sure the answer is yes. I wonder what that would look like.

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