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A mold to make ER cookies and ER Jell-O!  Or how about a glow-in-the-dark chest x-ray?


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Amy reviews ER computer games

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Do you care if wild animals needlessly suffer and die during wintertime? If so, see www.shelteranimals.org.


Amy's Corner

Amy is a 16-year-old student who aspires to become an ER doctor or work in a similar specialty.  Amy is the living embodiment of the word assiduous, and I have no doubt that she possesses the mental wherewithal and dogged determination that it takes to become a physician.  Amy began writing to me a long time ago, and I now think of her in an avuncular way as the little sister or niece I never had.  Thus, I did my best to dissuade her from a medical career, but her determination never wavered.  Thank God for that.  Yes, medicine is a flawed profession with many drawbacks, but someone must be there to take care of you and I when we're old codgers.  It is comforting to know that there are still some highly dedicated people, and I cannot think of anyone who epitomizes this more than Amy.  Thus, Amy is the first person I offered to have her own niche on my web site.  This is the first of what will probably be many more pages in the months and years to come as Amy continues in her education and fulfills her dream of becoming a doctor.  I think this transformation will be interesting to witness, so check back in the future for much more from Amy.

Amy leads off with . . .

Amy Reviews ER Computer Games

Emergency Room:  Disaster Strikes
The Bullet:  Oh, no!  There's been a fire . . . and a mudslide . . . and a freeway pile-up!  You're the doctor and you must save them all!

First Thought:  I'm the doctor?! Oh, dear.


The Game in General:
The game starts out with a news reporter telling you that three major disasters have hit Los Angles. You must choose which disaster scene you would like to go to first. Once you get there, you sign in with the paramedic, then review each victim's chart on your "Med-O-Matic" (i.e. a little computer-like thing you carry around with you) and choose the patient you want. You hop in an ambulance with your patient and scurry over to Liberty Memorial Hospital.  There, you are greeted by the cranky admissions nurse, who tells you to hurry up, because if you don't, she'll have your head. You run to the exam room, where another nurse tells you to hurry (apparently, there's a time limit on treating patients).  You then start to examine the patient with the tools found in the cabinet on your right. After you hurry through this, you rush to the lab and imaging rooms to order the necessary tests. After this, you go to the treatment room to you guessed it treat the patient. After you fill out the hospital and discharge orders, you're free to go. Almost. You have the option of listening to the Chief of Medicine review your case. When you first start playing the game, this is very helpful for catching mistakes. After you become a relatively good doctor, however, this feature gets annoying.

Random Thoughts:
Besides the emphasis on rushing, not very realistic. Of course, the patients on this game must have legitimate reasons for coming to the ER, otherwise you couldn't play doctor and treat them.

I actually had to do a pregnancy test on a woman who was in labor!

They only have five or six different people photographed for all 100 cases...which seemed a little weird after a while. ("Wait ... didn't I just treat him at the mudslide scene?")

If you treat enough patients successfully, you can become the Chief of Staff!

Every once in a while, the current Chief of Staff will pop up and add his comments to what you're doing.

The time limit for treating patients becomes shorter and shorter the better you become.

You don't need to take notes; the computer does it automatically.

Endnotes:
This is a fun and entertaining game to play, just don't expect it to be like a real ER.


Emergency Room 3
The Bullet:  Another ER game, from Legacy Interactive, this time with new cases and simple surgical procedures.

First Thought:  Surgical procedures? Hehehehe...


The Game in General:
This game begins with you, a medical student on an ER rotation, entering the Emergency Ward. You can choose one of three patient's clipboards in the rack and review their case while the on-call nurse puts in her two-cents worth about the patient you're reviewing. After choosing a patient, you go to either an exam room or to a trauma room, depending on the patient's condition. Once there, you diagnosis the patient using the different tools on the toolbar to your left. After diagnosing the patient, you perform any necessary treatment procedures, then discharge the patient. Once again, the Chief of Staff will review your case when you're through.

Random Thoughts:
More realistic than Disaster Strikes, although the patient complaints were mundane. (e.g. broken arms, MVAs, and sports accidents)

I got to shock a guy with a defibrillator!

This game had more complex treatment procedures, such as inserting chest tubes.

If you click on the other nurses and doctors standing around the gurney, they will give you advice.

This game doesn't automatically take notes, so I would suggest doing it yourself on a spare piece of paper.

There's no time limit on this game, but you lose points if you aren't speedy.

Endnotes:
Relatively realistic, this game is challenging and educational.


Emergency Room: Code Red

The Bullet:  "Treat critical patients while the city erupts in riots!"

First Thought:  Oh! Computerized characters from the show ER! I hope there's one of Dr. Carter.


The Game in General:
This game is a lot more fast-paced and realistic than the others I've played.  One of my first patients was a teenage boy with a hernia. Although I  correctly diagnosed him in less than 3 minutes, I didn't receive any efficiency points at all. At random times during the game, critical patients roll in that you have to care for immediately. Also, the patients' complaints are much more diverse and often deal with patients in need of mental, not just physical, healthcare. I found this game more difficult to get around in, but the graphics were excellent. This game's discharge orders are very similar to ER 3, which made things less confusing.

Random Thoughts:
Great big thanks to my best friend (almost sister), Rachel, for letting me borrow this game from her!

Drat, no Carter! Only two of the nurses from the show were on the game.

Be very, very, VERY quick in your discharge orders. They can eat up a lot of unnecessary time.

You can judge how well you're doing by reading comments from the overseeing doctor and patients.

The overseeing doctor has a British accent, which was odd.

This game automatically takes notes for you.

Endnotes:
This game is the most realistic one yet, and I definitely enjoyed it.

Amy's Review of True Emergency Room Stories

I first stumbled upon True Emergency Room Stories at the public library. Why it was at the library, since as far as I know, it's only available through Amazon, is beyond me. In fact, I've even gone back to the same library to re-check and it wasn't there. The Fates must have been at work.

If I could compare reading this book to anything, I would compare it to one of those first scenes in the movie, "The Matrix." More specifically, the one in which the main character Neo is given the choice between a red pill, which will let him see the world as it really is, or a blue pill, which will let him go on seeing the illusion of the matrix. Reading Dr. Pezzi's book is like taking the red pill. Things happen in emergency rooms that I never would have thought of before and are very interesting.

Furthermore, Dr. Pezzi's book is astonishingly well written. I don't think I've read any books (or at least not very many) that drew me in like this one. When I read it, I could picture everything he talked about. Of course, if you're a sappy person who cries every time you pass a dead possum on the side of the road, this might not be the best thing.

Anyone who is interested in medicine, especially emergency medicine, should read this book.

Amy's Review of Heartbeat

Heartbeat
by Samuel Finn
Published by Booklocker.com, 2002, 232 pages

Wow. This book was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. It's an amazing story about a guy who is confused about everything; from God, to his sexuality, to his mental stability, to death, to his life in general, and is, more or less, crazy. It kind of had a "Sixth Sense" meets Ernest Hemmingway feel.

Dr. Finn did a beautiful job writing this book and it completely draws you in from the beginning. It really isn't about medicine as much as the main character Leon, but there are a lot of medical conversations concerning Leon's patients. I think the only negative thing I have to say about this book is this:  foul language. I realize, of course, this is realistic, so it doesn't bother me.  Since this book is very explicit, before reading it you should check with your parents if you are underage.

Heartbeat is a very well-written book with an original story line. Anyone who likes to read about crazy people whose job involves other people's lives will love this book. I know I did.

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