Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Reason for the Season

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Reason for the Season

Article excerpt

Hope. There are many of us struggling right now, searching for some light at the end of a dark and threatening tunnel. Many of us, or our loved ones, are dealing with physical problems that are overwhelming. We are facing diseases or diagnoses from which there seems to be no relief, no rescue, no hope.

"Doc, tell me, after all those years in the ER, how did you deal with all of the bad things you saw? How do you and others in the medical field handle that?

The question came from a radio talk-show host based in Florida. We were talking about one of my books, and it was a fair question, one I had been asked several times before. Yet, it was one that is always difficult to answer.

Fortunately, for those of us in medicine, the majority of the problems we see are self-limiting - with the right treatment and a little time, they will get better. Frequently, the most important element is a little time. The human body is an amazing creation, possessing an ability to heal itself in an effort to survive.

In my own family, we have recently experienced the rapid resolution of a strep throat, an ear infection, a fractured arm and a busted forehead. All of these are significant in the moment, but with a little help and a little time, they go away.

Some things don't go away. There are injuries or illnesses our bodies are unable to take care of, even with the best help currently available. Again, from my own family, there has been inoperable and life-ending melanoma, end-stage heart disease, and progressive and relentless Parkinson's disease.

Many of you can add to that list. Probably all of us can. But most of us don't like to think or talk about that.

Mortality is an uncomfortable reality. As a physician, I want things to get better and go away. As a husband, father and grandfather, that's what I want, too. But that's not the reality. One day, each of us will surely face this.

The radio interviewer was right. Those of us who have worked in the emergency room have experienced a lot of bad things. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.