5 Questions for
Edwin Leap, MD
Dr. Leap writes "Life in Emergistan" for EMN, practices in rural South Carolina, is a member of the board of directors for the South Carolina College of Emergency Physicians, and writes an op-ed column for The Greenville News. He is also the author of a blog,
http://edwinleap.com/. Follow him on Twitter
@edwinleap, and read his past columns at
1. What is the most rewarding part of emergency medicine?
I think it may be knowing enough and having experienced enough to look a frightened person in the eye, and honestly say, "You're fine; you don't need to worry," because either it really isn't anything or you know you've got it under control.
2. What is your favorite medical word? Why?
I love words, so this is hard. I'll go with dyspnea. I like to take care of dyspnea, and the word itself sounds like breath leaving the body in a kind of gentle, sad hiss. And it's more elegant and concise than shortness of breath.
3. What is your favorite procedure? Why?
I love doing it, but to this day, intubation always makes me nervous even though I do it well. I also like doing dental and digital nerve blocks, which transform physicians from tormentors to comforters and carry low risk in the big picture.
4. What is the best career advice you ever received?
Dr. Howard Levitin, my dear friend and mentor, told me, "You just never know where this will lead!" It taught me to reach beyond normal, workaday medicine to engage in new adventures. It has paid off over and over in my life.
5. What advice do you wish you had received?
"If a job isn't good for you or your family, don't wait around. Find something better." I did this eventually, but it took me a long time to have the courage to move on to greener pastures. Physicians too often get stuck by enormous inertia.