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ER Doctors And Burnout

Via Balkans Business News:

One in two emergency care doctors will suffer a burnout during their career, according to a survey of French physicians, published online in Emergency Medicine Journal. The research was funded in part by the NEXT NURSES’ EXIT STUDY (‘Sustaining working ability in the nursing profession – investigation of premature departure from work’) project, which received more than EUR 2 million under the ‘Quality of life and management of living resources’ Programme of the EU’s Fifth Framework Programme (FP5).

The responses showed that the prevalence of burnout was high, with 1 in 2 emergency care doctors identified as suffering from it, compared with more than 4 out of 10 of the representative sample. Physicians had the highest burnout rate in the two age groups, between 35 and 44 and between 45 and 54.

Expectedly, it’s international…

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Emergency Medicine: Who Should Set The Standard Of Care?

According to the Standard of Care Project at EP Monthly:

The Power of Agreement

We can stop baseless malpractice suits before they get started. How? By having a majority of practicing emergency physicians go on record as to the baseline “standard of care,” beneath which is negligence.

This has been rolling for a while, and I’ve been late to blog it. That does not in any way mean I’m not 100 percent FOR it.

The idea is beautifully simple: The standard of care in emergency medicine (EM) should be set by practicing EM physicians, not case-by case in courts before lay juries with battling experts. (AAEM had the “remarkable testimony” series as a retrospective attempt to shame “experts” who gave, well, remarkable statements under oath, which to date has two cases in it.)

This has the very real advantage of being a clear, concise peer statement that this is/is not the standard of care.

I voted (while at ACEP). If you’re an emergency physician (and you have to cough up some information to determine your bona-fides before you can vote), go to the Standard of Care Project and cast your vote. They’ve set the bar at 30,000 votes, which is ambitious. It’s also worth it.

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

The Practice Of Medicine: When A Funeral Provides Perspective

Here’s my column in this month’s Emergency Medicine News:

I have practiced with the same group, in the same hospital, for 17 years. Because we have been together so long, our group is a family. So it was with enormous grief that we buried our founder, Dr. Jack Warren, 11 years ago after a tragic car crash. That wound is still open, but we still tell stories about his humor, his compassion, and his grace.

As I write this I am tending another wound, or I should say our group is tending another. A second partner passed away last week. Unlike the sudden horror of the first death, the second was progressive, as our friend and partner, Dr. Howard Leslie, left us by degrees, the victim of metastatic melanoma. Jack and Howard founded our group before any of the rest of us arrived. Both of them are buried in the same wooded, hillside nature preserve. Pieces of our group, pieces of ourselves, interred in the red-clay earth. Just as they practiced before the rest of us, so they went to sleep before the rest of us. I think they’ve gone ahead to show the way. So they can one day help us adapt to peace the way they helped us adapt to practice.

But both deaths remind me of partnership. Medicine today is chaotic and difficult for many reasons. Part of the problem is that government and regulatory bodies overwhelm us and litigation threatens us. Part of the problem is that we, and our patients alike, have untenable hopes and impossible standards for the practice of medicine. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Do Speeding Ambulances Save More Lives?

How fast should an ambulance go? The stereotypical speeding ambulance with lights flashing and sirens blaring is the image that most conjure up. But recent data suggests that transport speed may be overstated.

In a fascinating piece from Slate, emergency physicians Zachary F. Meisel and Jesse M. Pines examine that very question. They cite a recent study from the Annals of Emergency Medicine, which concluded that a fast transport speed didn’t necessarily save lives. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

The ACEP’s Failure To Take A Position On Healthcare Reform

Last year when I interviewed then-American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) President Nick Jouriles I was disappointed that the ACEP had not staked out a clear position on healthcare reform. However, it wasn’t terrible that they didn’t have a position at that time, because the House bill was still being finished up and the Senate was still mired deeply in the fruitless “Gang of Six” negotiations. If ACEP wasn’t going to endorse reforms sight unseen, that was pretty reasonable, I thought. President Jouriles suggested that, in time, ACEP would weigh in with a position, one way or the other.

But we never heard ACEP take a position in the intervening months. So when I saw this post appear over at The Central Line, linking to this letter on the ACEP web site from ACEP’s current president, Angela Gardner, I was not surprised to see that ACEP has taken the weasel’s path and abstained from taking a position on the more or less final healthcare reform package. It’s pathetic, and brings into question whether ACEP can fulfill one of its most crucial functions: advocating for emergency room patients and advocating for emergency medicine physicians. The excuses offered by Dr Gardner for ACEP’s reticence to take a stand are fairly lame. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

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