On April 15, 2013, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and walked to Mass General Hospital to begin my ER shift. It was the day of Boston marathon, and we were prepared for the usual influx of people with heatstroke and dehydration. Just before 3 p.m., we received the call that nobody could have predicted.
As we celebrate this year's Nurses Week, I am reminded of the Hippocrates saying that the goal of medicine is "to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always." This, too, I learn through daily example from the amazing nurses I work with.
It is worth noting that the tremendous human costs of the war in Iraq would have been much greater, were it not for breakthroughs in combat medicine deployed for the first time on a broad scale in Iraq.
Imagine if that tiny print on prescription bottles could be heard instead of squinted at. Voice-guided instructions may indeed be helpful to patients in every age population, with a variety of medical needs.
One of the wonderful things about knowledge and training is that they are inherently renewable resources. Unlike drugs and equipment, knowledge never has a stock-out, never breaks down, and never stops working when the power goes out.
Policymakers should be aware that even well-informed patients with good access to primary care need the ER. Legislation should aim to increase availability of primary care, but not penalize for use of emergency services.