imageTo the Editor:

[Re: “ER Call Ruined My Credit Rating,” by Claire Cronin, MD, September 2012, page 4]

I read with absolute pleasure the opinion article written by Dr. Claire Cronin in this issue. I laughed out loud multiple times, confusing my office staff who thought it was unusual to hear one of the docs actually laughing while they were still in the office. It made a nice break from the post-clinic torture that is our electronic medical records system. The sad part is that despite the tongue-in-cheek method of delivery, the multiple real issues raised have become a daily source of frustration for the average surgeon in practice. Despite having to go back to the grim reality that has become our daily routine, and despite the fact that I am already starting to dread my night of ER call, I truly believe I will have a few more laughs today remembering the “Cronin Coincidence” and my own “beeper anxiety,” as I trudge dutifully to my emergency room to provide another urgent surgical consultation for constipation in a 90-year-old, demented nursing home resident!

Charles Atkinson, MD, FACS
Tucson, Arizona

To the Editor:

I read with some disgust the article by Dr. Cronin. I have the following advice for her:

  1. Hop off. Sounds like you should find a new line of work other than surgery.
  2. Pay the bill. You stabbed yourself!
  3. Learn how to insert a tube thoracostomy.
  4. Take charge of the trauma resuscitation. If you had, you probably wouldn’t have stabbed yourself.
    1. Getting a chest X-ray during a trauma code with no blood pressure? Where did you learn that?
    2. You describe a tension pneumothorax diagnosed by the emergency department doctor on chest X-ray. Wow!
  5. Take happy pills for your beeper anxiety.
  6. It is fairly common knowledge that an incident report for a needlestick or other injury is required.
  7. Remember, this was no one’s fault but your own. Take responsibility.

Lawrence Roberts, MD, FACS
Fredericksburg, Virginia

To the Editor:

I feel extremely sympathetic to Dr. Cronin’s situation. I had to deal with exactly the same problem: While taking care of a patient, I got a needlestick and could not go to employee health because it was closed. The OR [operating room] nurse filed an incident report and they sent me to the ER [emergency room] to get my blood drawn and a urine sample taken. I am a university employee, but despite that, I got a large bill for an “ER visit” that took several phone calls and trips to administrators to straighten out. While all that was happening, the bill was sent to collection. It was an unnecessary hassle to fix the issue, even though “hospital policy” was followed as indicated.

Mecker G. Möller, MD, FACS
Miami, Florida

To the Editor:

I would laugh at this article but it makes me want to cry. I feel your pain.

Spencer Brown, MD
Culver City, California