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Question & Answer Pages

NOTE: In addition to the many topics on these pages, I have another site (www.er-doctor.com) on which I will post all new material.

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Questions I'm frequently asked about my book and life in the ERMy original Q&A page containing everything from irreverent humor to serious ER discussions.

ER scalpel

Another section of ER questions and answers.  This section is subdivided into:

Medical questions I answer some genuinely medical questions, and address a few offbeat topics such as hot-air hand dryers and beautiful drug reps.

Questions about becoming an ER doctor The pros and cons of an ER career, what it's like to be an ER doc, alternatives to working in the ER, tips on succeeding in college and medical school, MCAT advice, raising your IQ, tips on getting into medical school, how to distinguish yourself from thousands of other applicants, the fast track to an MD degree, the feasibility of combining motherhood and medicine, taking a poke at Ivy League schools, choosing a college, what you should do if you don't get into med school, and lots more.

Questions about becoming an ER doctor Part 1  I discuss:  Advice for a high school student looking far ahead • More advice for another prospective ER physician • The most important preparation for anyone who aspires to become a doctor • The importance of reading a dictionary: expanding your vocabulary is just the beginning • Reading a medical dictionary • Flaws in the medical education system • Paying for worthless continuing medical education (CME) • Questions about the MCAT • Do you need to be a genius to do well on the MCAT exam? • Can you become a genius even if you aren't one? YES! I explain how. • A suggestion for medical school deans or faculty • Why medical school acceptance rates are not as depressing as they seem • Besides having good grades and MCAT scores, what can you do to stand out from the crowd of medical school applicants? • More on postponing sex • How to make this a viable option, not a pipe dream • Can you buy your way into medical school? Not directly, but this student figured out how to use money to increase his chance of being accepted. • Why is medicine such a demanding career? • The never-ending stress of being an ER doctor • Years of schooling and college advice • More on selecting a college • What was my undergraduate major? • Tips on choosing a major • Why did I specialize in ER medicine? • Questions about being an ER doctor • She is determined to become an ER physician, despite my exhortations • Lots of questions about a career in ER medicine • Preparatory classes for ER • Specializing too early? • Schedule? What's it like? • Cutthroat premed competitiveness • An advantage of not working in the United States • Is there a bias against foreign-educated doctors? • The admissions interview • People warned her to not work in the ER • Is it less stressful to work in an ICU? • Finding money for college • Financial aid and academic scandals • A foray into risky waters •

Questions about becoming an ER doctor Part 2  I discuss:  Is it as horrible to work in the ER as I make it out to be? • Where can an ER doctor work besides the ER? • Tips for a better career • Will excellence insulate you from the drawbacks of emergency medicine? • Contrasting Urgent Care Centers and ER’s • Ashley’s perspective on the palatability of ER medicine • Minimizing the risk of lawsuits • Impediments to efficiency that delay patient care • An ER nurse with Alzheimer’s disease • Giving your patients what they want • Miscellaneous questions about ER doctors • The emotional aspects of dissecting cadavers • A long dissertation on the limitations of medical technology • What's it like to be an ER doctor? • Pediatricians in the ER? • Improving concentration and academic success • Camaraderie between doctors and nurses? • Difference between a trauma doc and an ER doc? • What courses do I need? • What doctors work in the ER? • Hours? Misconceptions?  What's after ER?  More advice? • Grades required for med school acceptance • Is it hard being an ER doctor? • How being an ER doc impacts your family life • Speaking of impact . . . my encounter with a world-champion kickboxer • Choosing a medical school:  look before you leap • Lead as a neurotoxin • A mini-lesson on lead from The Bachelorette mini-series • Getting a shot in medical school should be the least of her worries • Society tells you that you can “have it all.” Can you? • Not all doctors are equally proficient: obviously true, but often overlooked • The sacrifices and rewards of medicine • Obtaining an MD degree in less than 8 years • Ivy League schools aren't what they're purported to be • The importance of a diverse knowledge base • Grade inflation • Sham degrees for some athletes and minorities • A few of my non-academic trials and tribulations in medical school • Why medical schools discriminate against older applicants • Who do ER docs work for? (subtitled, yet another drawback of ER work) • Is it harder to get into an ER residency program? • Why do I stress the cons of ER? • Is a med student's ER experience reflective of what ER is like for attending ER docs? •

Questions about becoming an ER doctor Part 3  I discuss:  Improving MCAT scores • How to stand out from the crowd of medical school applicants • A premed degree? • The admissions interview • Trauma surgeons versus ER doctors • Why medical students aren't as smart as they once were, and why this augurs poorly for future patients • Is it helpful to know a second language? • Choosing an ER residency program • What grades do you need to get into medical school? • Why do I dissuade people from medical careers? (Hint: I discuss the drawbacks of medicine in general and ER in particular for some very cogent reasons.) • Why worry about lawsuits? • Malpractice defense attorneys:  corrupt, or just incompetent? • Comparing Russian and American medical education • What happens when medical students and residents are too tired to learn • Distractions during medical school • What can premed students do if they aren't accepted into medical school? • Comments to a prospective medical student • Must doctors be math whizzes? • Do medical schools look at high school grades? • Do I give away free copies of my books? • A vague, inchoate question • Some great advice from a great professor • Another must-read book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance •

Questions about other ER personnel

Miscellaneous questions ER frequent flyers, goofy reasons for going to the ER, the politics of emergency medicine, full-moon madness, an argument with a person who thinks doctors should work for free, and I also answer a question that was burning in the mind of one reader:  can a woman be defibrillated with her bra on?  And, as usual, much more.

Very miscellaneous questions The beautiful woman syndrome, a dating paradox, a philandering doc in hot water, overcoming racism, befriending patients, marrying a doc, and an answer to the question:  did the World Trade Center victims suffer?  Then I cover:  Prospective nursing student wants to wed a doc, but is worried about the competition • She believes in traditional Western medicine.  Her boss does not.  Should she speak up? • How to deal with a person who thinks God is an MD • Must a pre-med major be in science? • MCAT advice • New specialties? • Is space exploration a good investment? • Could the Columbia tragedy have been averted? • Why don't bureaucrats pay for their mistakes? • Cat crisis • Prolactin stimulating maternal behavior • Repairing a damaged ceramic glass stovetop by using ferric chloride • Why do women achieve less than men even though they possess comparable intelligence? •

Questions about love and sexual attraction, libido, pleasure, and performance More than what you expect.  If you like sex, you'll love what I have to say about it in this section and in my book.  Forget about Oprah and Dr. Ruth, grab a huge mug of coffee, and sit back for hours of eye-opening education and entertainment.  Even if you're a sexologist who think he knows everything about sex, you'll be spellbound.
Note:  I have all of these questions and more on a related web site that is better organized, with pages that load faster:  www.sexualtips.net .

Even more ER questions! Some typical questions (e.g., how do I become an ER doc?  Training?  Hours?  Salary? What's it really like? Is medical school adequate preparation for the real world? Does appearance matter when it comes to getting in medical school?) and some off the wall queries (e.g., flirting with drug reps, beating up scumbags who abuse ER personnel, superhuman strength, a teacher who wants a leech to suck his blood, and an answer to the question:  Is getting an MD degree a route to romance?).

Even more ER questions! Part 1  I discuss:  Humane hours? • Can drugs produce superhuman strength? • Education? Salary? Training? Hours? • Is pay proportionate to educational level? (I've been waiting for this question for years!) • Is an ER career worth the nightmare and total banishment of my social life for the next two years? • Wants just the pros of an ER career • Would you pay to have an ER doc live next door? He might save your life one day • Recipe for putting fire into the veins of a person: have him work in the ER • Too old for med school? • Years of medical school? • Who does the dirty work? • Do I have any words of wisdom regarding use and misuse of the ER? • ER changes in the past two decades? • Kudos • Writing a novel; wants help making it more realistic • Licensure required? Job description? • What licensure is required for doctors? • Many comments on my web site, and topics therein • Teacher thinking of having a leech suck his blood to entertain his students • What is harder: OR surgery or working in the ER? • How can a medical school applicant stand out from the crowd? • Is getting an MD degree a route to romance? • Do female drug reps usually flirt with the docs? • Are docs faithful husbands/boyfriends? • Does cold prevent erection? • Will missionary work help her get into med school? • How about medical missionary work? •

Even more ER questions! Part 2  I discuss:  Getting into medical school: do looks matter? • Endocrine problems don't belong in the ER? • Passive-aggressive behavior by an ambulance crew • Choosing a pre-med major • Conquering math anxiety • Study tips • How to raise your IQ • What do I think of Gifted Hands? • The most difficult aspects of being an ER doctor • Who pays ER docs? • How long are shifts? • Contact with residents and medical students? • Sleep deprivation during residency • A break between high school and college? Between college and medical school? • Should she pursue her dream of going to medical school? • The family room • Interpreter gets attached to patients; is it OK to contact them afterwards? • Better ER docs? Men or women? • Who is more competent? Men or women? • Pezzi's rebuke to a male-bashing woman, and its surprising ending • What amazed me? •

Even more ER questions! Part 3  I discuss:  Paramedics working in the ER • Did I ever freeze? • Can a woman be an excellent ER doc, wife, and mother? • The idealism that impels young people into careers in emergency medicine • Drunk docs? • Specialize in minor surgery? • Rural surgeons? • Dermabond ads: Ethicon evidently believes that docs are too stupid to appreciate how great Dermabond is • You were correct — docs do have it bad! • What is a life worth? • Are doctors underpaid? • He's learning that ER is not a bed of roses • How ignoring the tenet of "sunk costs" can ruin your life • The double standard of behavior in the courtroom and the ER • Praise for cops who beat up the scumbags who abuse ER nurses and docs • The Wheel of Misfortune • Is medical school adequate preparation for the real world? • What attributes must a prospective physician possess? • How old is too old? • The value of volunteering, or lack thereof • A typical day in the ER? • Why you're wasting your time in community college • "I have really bad memory . . . am I just stupid?" • More on the wisdom of taking classes at junior colleges • Do medical schools accept students with debilitating diseases? • What percent of your cases are actual emergencies? • What are the routine parts of being in the ER that you disliked? • How do you feel that you are perceived by other doctors? • Bra questions • MD/RN smokers •

Still more ER questions Part 1  I lead off with an answer for a woman who wonders if an ER doc is too busy to have sex, then I respond to a reader who thinks I'm arrogant, then I answer a series of questions on a number of topics, such as:  The "we're one of the top hospitals" scam • Best strategy for dealing with initially poor college grades • My opinion on prestigious schools • The importance of possessing a diverse knowledge base • Will you be my mentor? • The "Lucas strategy": is it cheating? •

Still more ER questions Part 2  I discuss:  Rookie docs killing patients • Dumb docs killing even more patients • Spreading germs • The glamour of an ER career:  the pay, the babes, the title, the job security, and miscellaneous accouterments • Why the pay is deceptive • The sacrifices docs make on the way to the Yellow Brick Road • The one night I said to heck with medical school • "Hard working Americans" • Does the thrill ever go away? • Why malpractice verdicts are often just a crapshoot • Faking malpractice for fun & profit (mainly profit) • My prediction: some doc will "go postal" on an attorney • A proposal to eliminate frivolous malpractice suits • Teachers work as hard as ER doctors? Is this politically correct rhetoric or a hallucination? •  How the practice of emergency medicine can be nightmarishly difficult and risky • Docs aren't the only ones making mistakes • Sleep deprivation •

Still more ER questions Part 3  I discuss: Best books to prepare for college chemistry and physics? • Succeeding in college and medical school:  how I went from dunce to doctor • What to do if you get a bad prof • My organic chemistry professor and his wacky wife • What not to do • Expanding your brainpower:  it takes more than just schooling • Can geniuses be created? • An intriguing speculation on what will be "the next Internet" • Fostering the impetus to succeed • How I convinced a "10" that suicide wasn't the answer to being dumped • The biological basis of creativity • The role of creativity in enhancing intelligence • An "entry-level job" as an ER doc? Sorry, but there are no shortcuts • Should I call my doc at home? (Seguing into another negation of the "rich doctor" myth) • Why is it so risky to be an ER doc? • An illustration of how our tort justice system is reprehensibly unjust • Do docs always do their best job? • How to increase the chance you'll get a 110% performance rather than a half-ass job • Why structured play is inimical to intellectual growth • Television and Attention Deficit Disorder • Want to be smarter? Start inventing •

Many More ER Questions and Answers Part 1  Some of the topics:  Education increases income.  Oh really? • Revamping American colleges: an overhaul is long overdue • Perks of being a doc • Why do people often bitch about physician income, but not the income of people who make more and do less? • If you're thinking of perks, you're missing what is really important • How doctors are subjected to injustices that no other group would tolerate • Why ER docs are part-time slaves • An acid test for whether or not you should go into medicine • Why I mention the drawbacks of medicine • Specialties that are far more palatable than ER • How well do ER docs and nurses harmonize? • Would a nurse ever kill a patient to get back at a doctor? • Institutionalizing policies that harm patients • Hospital administrators killing patients with their ignorance • Who is best at suturing? ER docs? Plastic surgeons? Dentists? • A plastic surgeon who was either malicious or incompetent • Practice makes perfect . . . but whom shall we practice on? • I practiced on a beauty queen, and turned her into a former beauty queen • There are rookies everywhere, even in the Ivy Leagues • Why do residents still work long hours? • What's "a wall"? • Cadavers, dissection, and computer imagery • Nurses masturbating patients • Coming back from the dead • What's it like to be a doc? • Mental practice makes perfect, too •

Many More ER Questions and Answers Part 2  I discuss:  Med school: why is it so tough? • A sampling of what medical school is like • Is it worth it? • An example of the public's unrealistic expectations • Sex for drugs? A quid pro quo? • Sex in the hospital chapel? • Shift differences • Coping with night shifts • Hospitals promising that ER patients will be seen within 30 minutes • My solution for *really* speeding up patient care • Dissecting Fido? • Why I hate most attorneys • Why everyone should hate them: Malpractice attorneys have made more on one case than an ER doctor could make by saving 100,000 lives (if this example doesn't convince you, what will?) • Happy days in the ER, & what makes them good • A tragic case that I wish I'd seen • How a screw-up by an ER doc cost a child his eye • Taking care of another child with a problem ineptly managed by his doc • An execrable ER boss • The joy of doing a good job, and why that's sometimes impossible •

Many More ER Questions and Answers Part 3  I discuss:  Docs excited by doing pelvic exams? • The "beautiful women in the ER" contest • My aspirations and how (and why) I chose my career • She wants me to enumerate the positive aspects of emergency medicine . . . again? • . . . and to discuss the potential for promotion, an average workday, on-call time, and vacation time • A few requisites for ER doctors  • Will attending a technical high school ruin your chances of going to medical school? •  Will volunteering help? • Forget about volunteering and do something that will truly impress the Admissions Committee! • Learning to make medical devices at a seminar/workshop • She struggled her first year in college; what now? •

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers Part 1  I discuss:  From the annals of unusual 911 calls:  contestant hyperventilates on The Bachelor • Non-emergencies in the ER • Something you'd never see on a soap opera, because it'd seem too unbelievable • Napping during the night shift • Sleep inertia • Treated by a Physician's Assistant (PA) in an ER; where is the ER doc? • Are PA's and Nurse Practitioners (NP's) as competent as MD's? • Tacit message from PA's and NP's to physicians: "We'll take the easy, low-risk cases. You can have the rest." • Why should patients pay as much to see a PA as an MD? • My encounter with an incompetent, but cute, PA • Article in Men's Health magazine generates a firestorm of controversy • My response to the PAs and NPs who claim they're as good as doctors, or even better • PAs defending the indefensible • Should I go to medical school or should I go to PA school? • Physician Assistant eaten by a grizzly bear: Might extra knowledge have saved her life? • MD versus PA: A parallel to RN versus LPN? • Why do medical schools vaunt the diversity of their incoming freshman class? • The Munchausen syndrome • Munchausen by proxy • An unusual motivation for Munchausen by proxy:  sex? • Yet another example of how hospital administrators try to corrupt the practice of medicine in their never-ending quest for money • The link between nutrition and brainpower • Vitamin B-12 and brainpower • Trans fats:  a nemesis to cholesterol levels and more • Importance of staying healthy • Can cell phones affect learning? •

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers Part 2   I discuss:  How bad is the malpractice situation? • Why the situation is so bad for young doctors • Why physician income is misleadingly high • Senator John Edwards' solution to the malpractice problem:  great rhetoric, no solution • What engenders frivolous malpractice suits? Money, what else? • Peering into my crystal ball . . . what do I see? An attorney turned into hamburger • Will things get better for docs in the future? • What do I think of the impending physician strike? • My solution to the current healthcare crises • Is the smallpox vaccine worthwhile? • How the malpractice crisis hurts all people, not just doctors • Reaction to the physician's strike over the malpractice insurance crisis •

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers Part 3  I discuss:  Is medicine a good career choice for a creative person? • Preponderance of male ER physicians • Are men more suited to the job? • A severed hand won't make an ER doctor sweat • What will make an ER doctor sweat • Is is tough to pass medical school? • Should addiction medicine be a medical specialty? • How psychiatrists often view addicts • A beautiful woman wants to know if her looks might repel male patients • Following your dreams • Can you afford to be a doctor? • Why should the US government limit what doctors can charge? • My radical solution to the healthcare crisis • How much an average ER doctor works • Will an ER career interfere with your personal life? • What is a good book that tells what an ER physician needs to know? • Must docs know Latin? • A few community college classes?  Don't sweat it. • A secret weapon to help ensure that you are accepted into medical school • Contracting HIV from a contaminated multi-use drug vial • Is a paramedic degree from a community college an impediment to becoming an ER doctor? • Preparing for medical school and ER residency • The central flaw of residency programs • Advice for a high school student • She is dating a medical student who wants to be an ER doc, and desires to know if that career is conducive to a good family life • The nightmare of chronic sleep deprivation • A solution to this problem •

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers Part 4  I discuss:  Is a nursing degree a good premedical degree? • Unemployed and impoverished doctors • How can a student with borderline qualifications increase her chance of acceptance into medical school? • Emergency departments: where the wild, wild west lives on • Guns in the ER? • Tasers in the ER? • Do ER docs always work at a breakneck pace? • My second-longest hug in an ER • Solidifying memories • Are the expectations of patients realistic? • Are all drug reps gorgeous? • A hospital that preferred to hire stunning women • Interested in an OB/GYN career?  Better think twice. • Another frivolous lawsuit • Why many doctors are saying good-bye to medicine • A second opinion on the palatability of practicing medicine • Responding to a reader who thinks that I could have done a better job •

More advice on becoming an ER doctor  I discuss:  His freshman year in college was a disaster; can he still become a doctor? • Academic transformation:  yes, it can be done • More on the "Lucas strategy" • How sex might affect your career • Alternatives to obtaining an MD • Asset protection for doctors • Judging whether you are likely to regret going into medicine • A discourse on academic redemption • Suggestions on how to wipe your academic record clean and start over • The importance of reading the nursing notes • Why this isn't always feasible . . . and what to do about it • Administrators have the power, while doctors have the responsibility:  does this make sense? •

More advice on becoming an ER doctor Part 2  Some of the topics:  Suing for better pay and working conditions • Residency: what is it like? • Flaws in the residency system • Taking Prozac to enhance memory? • Physician naval aviators? • Does a medical degree expire? • Will smart drugs increase everyone's intelligence? •

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