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Emergency medicine's body of knowledge

As you already know from my previous posts, I don't often blog about my job. If you want good blogging about emergency medicine, I suggest you read the EM folks on my blogroll. Panda Bear has been especially hilarious lately. Obviously, I disagree with Dr. Bear about politics (I hope it's not obvious exactly how) but I think he's spot on about what it's like working in emergency medicine. His posts almost always leave me nodding my head and thinking, "yeah, yeah, damn straight." Except when he writes about politics, when I usually think to myself "puh-leese." Oh, well, to each his own.

But don't confuse my silence about my job for apathy. Even though residency is kind of grueling and sometimes frankly sucks a$$, it's also pretty damned fun. The variety and (sometimes) acuity of the stuff you see is cool.

To give you a sense of how fun emergency medicine can be, check out some of the practice questions I've been using to study for an inservice exam coming up in February:

  • Infection with which of the following helminths is known to cause a fatal hyperinfection...
  • Which of the following statements regarding lightning strikes is correct?
  • A 26-year-old man with known hemophilia A presents after being hit in the head with a baseball...
  • A 23-year-old man is brought in by ambulance after falling off a roof...
  • A 68-year-old man with a history of Type 2 diabetes and hypertension presents with cellulitis of his arm following a scratch from his cat...
  • Which of the following is most likely to be a complication of placing an internal jugular central venous catheter...
  • A 24-year-old woman presents after an altercation at a night club...
  • Which of the following statements regarding lung abscess is correct?

In real life, of course, we see a lot of "patient presents at 3 a.m. complaining of a left ring finger itch for the past three months." Still, though, I say bring them on. Anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even if they're absolute nut jobs.

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