I’ve almost come to the end of the core 8 weeks of my surgery rotation (4 more weeks follow in electives) and am currently working on the trauma service for another couple days before taking exams.

I don’t have a great deal to say, the hours stay long, the medicine remains interesting etc. I’m enjoying the decrease in laundry that wearing scrubs entails. I enjoy how much doctors tend to take joy in their work. Medicine is a great field that way, as it gives you a feeling of accomplishment as you see what you do day to day really can make a big difference in people’s lives. The debt may be overwhelming, the paperwork endless, and the insurance companies/health policy maddening, but you can see that the satisfaction from the practice of medicine gets them through all the hassles. I’m also amused by the tendency of my attendings to turn to me and say, “don’t blog about this” before saying something funny. Don’t worry guys, I won’t. I’ll just save it for my tell-all book.*

Trauma is an incredible field, and while I won’t comment on the workload (everyone on the trauma ward is a little superstitious – one never comments on things being slow or fast for fear things will become busy, or worse, crushingly busy) it has been an interesting couple of weeks. In particular, one of the attendings uses a unique teaching technique that I’ll write about later this week (with permission) using simulations that we refer to as War Games. I found it all very interesting and helpful so with luck we’ll have a video of me participating in one of these sessions by the end of the week. I’ll write a post on it then, as I hope it can be implemented more widely in medical education.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to ask a couple of favors.

One, I’d very much like people to stop shooting one another. It’s really terrible what bullets do to a body.

Two, it also might help if you all could wear helmets. If I thought you could avoid hitting your head that would be one thing, but the least you can do is take some precautions. Wear them a lot – riding bikes, motorcycles, skiing, etc. In fact, just wear them all the time. Sitting at your desk? Wear a helmet. Walking in the park? Wear a helmet. We’re going to start a new style right here and now. We’ll call it the “I’m either about to get on a bike or am prone to seizures” look.

It would make me feel better. Really.

* Kidding, kidding.


  1. Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD

    My position is that motorcyclists should be allowed to ride without a helmet – after they’ve signed an organ donor card.

  2. Thanks for the blog.

    Good luck on the helmet thing. Florida lost its marbles (after hitting its head perhaps) and decided that motorcyclists over 18yo should be free to ride without a helmet … and that the wider pool of taxpayers should be free to pay for their head injuries.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. I’d like to add that one very good safety precaution that doesn’t seem to be around anymore is just simple instruction in how to fall properly.

    I seem to recall a yearly tumbling unit in grade-school phys ed that stressed ways to minimize damage when falling. Whatever happened to it?

    It’s like we taught our kids to wear a helmet for sports, and figured they didn’t need anything for the times they are just walking down the street and slip on the ice.

  4. The best explantaion I heard about bike and cycling helments came from an ER doctor:
    He said there is a simple test to see if you to wear a helment. Test:
    1. Stand back 30 feet from a standard concrete street curb.
    2. Run full speed and dive head first into the curb with your hands at your side.
    If you think you can do that and walk away you don’t need a helmet.

  5. Have you run into the term “donor-cycle” yet?

    My feeling is that cyclists should be allowed to ride without helmets — but have to post a bond and carry a small shovel and body bag around, just to make the emergency crew’s lives that much easier.

  6. All I can think is, wearing a helmet while I work would either reduce my income or lead to some really strange fetishes developing in clients …

  7. DC:
    In that case, helmets preserve the head when the neck breaks and the lungs collapse from the impact. Seen it. Not pretty. Dead either way.

  8. Mark,
    An interesting denialist-style belief that floats around the fringes of the more militant fringes of cycling groups is that more lives would be saved by requiring helmets for motorists than for cyclists or motorcyclists. The implication being that two-wheeled riders are a persecuted minority whose small total population makes up for their greater per-capita risk.

    Do you know if that is complete crap, or does it fall into the category of “true, but irrelevant”.

    After all, the argument, “I don’t have to protect my own life because most other people don’t protect theirs” has never been terribly convincing to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *