The ER is a highly effective bottom-filter for society. When you work in the ER you are in daily contact with the worst that mankind has to offer: addicts, sociopaths, criminals, and the many many varieties of personality disorders with which a loving God has imbued humanity. I say this not as condemnation: they are my people. I know them and accept them for who they are. I am here every day to serve them in their various needs, from the heroin addict who is dropped off blue and apneic to the homeless guy who just wants his unwashed feet looked at.
One of the refreshing features of many members of the lumpenproletariat is their candor regarding their habits. Sure, it’s by no means universal, but it’s entirely common for me to ask someone quite directly: “Do you use meth?” and have the patient respond in the affirmative and without the least trace of self-consciousness expand on the degree and nature of their drug use. The hardest question for me to learn to ask without blushing was “do you ever have sex for money or drugs?” (And yes, I do ask that of both men and women, when it seems potentially relevant.) But people on occasion forthrightly admit that they turn the odd trick to support their habit. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*