Where our patients sometimes live in darkness, squalor, danger and hunger, whether run-down trailer, homeless tent or government project, the emergency departments are different. They are places of bright lights and warmth, safety and relief; where beds are clean and food is available. And if nothing else, places where there are people who are interested and polite.
Leading up to Halloween, there has been a surplus of offensive costumes floating around on the internet -- hazmats suits for Ebola, dressing up like members of ISIS, and making light of domestic violence by dressing up as former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice while holding a doll with a black eye.
I have worked with thousands of survivors of domestic violence, who experienced incredible pain and turmoil in their journey to safety and freedom. But, I have found that the most distraught people I talk with are often not the survivors themselves, but their friends and family -- who are often plagued with anger, guilt, and confusion.