I did a month in this emergency room as my very first rotation out of med school. I was alone 24 hrs on and 24 hrs off with a second year Indian resident. Clueless!! We had no other supervision except from some third year who only wanted to sleep at night. To say that this was a disaster zone would be mild. I knew nothing and had all manner of simple and complicated emergencies to solve for the first time in my life. We had gangs – the savage skulls – armed and wandering through the ER. The security guards melted away in favor of their own lives. We had to fend for ourselves. I made some big mistakes – no experience. Guilty feelings? One brother – non gang – of the savage skulls suffered a shotgun blast. Though his x-ray showed he was covered with subcutaneous pellets, there was nothing that had penetrated the abdomen or chest. The gang came into the ER with weapons drawn and asked where the victim was located. When I informed them that my (lazy) third year had said admission was not necessary, the gang lifted him from the stretcher and frog marched him into the night.
And then we saw crazy things. Complaint: “bug in the ear.”
“IT WAS A BIG FREAKIN’ LIVE ROACH” waving its legs from inside someone’s ear.
Advice: “Mineral oil, pour it into the ear and wait for the bubble.”
“Yeah, then you know it drowned and you can remove it.” I ain’t proud, but it’s how medical training goes and went in those times. Nowadays the supervision is a little better. At least that’s what they keep telling everyone.
They make it sound so ‘cozy’ and ‘fuzzy warm.’ I’ve been in an inner city ER not too many years ago as in 2009-2012. It ain’t pretty. It’s just different. And different ain’t necessarily better. I’d use a series of epithets but that might too rude for polite company. George Clooney’s would never get this ‘s..t’ past the censors.
I watched only a single episode of ‘ER’ and it turned out to be treatment of an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. The information was so inaccurate as to be positively scary. Fortunately they don’t let George do neurosurgery.