I found Dr. Sonny Saggar's comments in “The Dermatologist and the Magician” quite disturbing. (EMN 2007;29:4.) I did two residencies, one in internal medicine and then one in emergency medicine.
Contrary to his belief, I did not choose to do three more years so that I may drive a Lexus. I did it because I found it difficult to say to a patient, “Hi, ma'am, I'm Dr. Rodriguez, and for the past three years I have been in an internal medicine residency and had absolutely no contact with children, but I feel I can care for your 5-day-old child with a fever. Don't worry if I can't figure it out; I'll go look in a book or maybe call a friend. Don't worry about the spinal tap. I've never done one on a child, but how difficult could it be? Are you okay with this?”
Or this, “Sir, you've been in a serious wreck, but don't worry. I took a two-day course, and I am an expert in trauma care. You need a chest tube, and I did one on a pig once, so it shouldn't be any different on you.”
I did three more years of residency to learn the skills I did not learn in my internal medicine residency. Do we share many things in common? Yes, and we have things in common with cardiology as well. Should we let you do PTCA and stenting as well?
Luis E. Rodriguez, MD
The authors are the principal investigators in the Olive View-UCLA Department of Emergency Medicine/Division of Infectious Diseases, and have been awarded a five-year, $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the use of off-patent antibiotics for treating uncomplicated skin and soft tissue infections. The study will be conducted at Olive View-UCLA, Johns Hopkins University, Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, Truman Medical Center and the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and Temple University Medical Center in Philadelphia.