At the risk of losing anonymity, I have to post the passing of one of those docs I most admire, one of the best I've worked with or seen, who will truly be missed. There was a crash last night, just to the west of La Crosse, Wisconsin; one of UW Madison's EC-135 copters went down with few details known yet. As of what I've heard now, there were three crew members lost.
It's covered in this article in the Wisconsin State Journal. I didn't know the other two crew members, who will be sorely missed as everyone I've ever interacted with has been pure class at Med Flight. Dr. Bean was a leading light to me, a mentor, an example of what I want to be. He was a doctor and a teacher I will sorely miss.
The best way I can think to memorialize Dr. Bean is to tell stories about him. He helped me see that EM was the field for me. I never saw him treat anyone badly, patient or colleague. When he talked to a patient, he sat down as if he had all the time in the world for them, but damn if he didn't know how to run trauma, and how to run a department. As with so many EM docs, he was also the local EMS director. At conferences with other services, his was the honest question, the insightful comment, always in the spirit of increasing cooperation, coordinating.
My fourth year rotation on EM was awesome. Dr. Bean would regularly 'hold court' after shifts, even those that ended in the middle of the night. My best memory of teaching in the ED was at 3 am after a 4-1 shift. Patients were all 'purple' (admitted) or 'green' (discharged). The Intern, who was awesome too, decided to run a session on airways because he had just been re-taught. He took me into one of the trauma bays and we picked tubes, discussed doses. The other intern came in and joined in. Dr. Bean came last, and the first thing he did was listen to the interns teaching me. Then, he ran cases for at least half an hour. What induction drug, what dose, what are you worried about. 'If you're worried,' he said, 'take out a pen and write your doses on the gurney while they're bringing the patient in. Better to take the time to be sure than get the dose wrong. Believe me, we all get rattled sometimes.' He said that, but I never saw him be rattled. More than the teaching points, which I loved, I noticed that this attending was there, two and half hours after his shift, teaching. And I also noticed that he carried himself as an example. Confident, not arrogant.
He also took the time to do the little things right. Wound exploration was a great example. It's not enough to clean the wound; explore, look for tendon injury. He would take time to discuss the proper tension on a nailbed repair, for example, along with suture choice. His attention to detail was impressive, and it pointed out that even though we're generalists, that shouldn't prevent us from taking pride in our work.
My father-in-law said, 'not all those that die, deserve to.' Amen to that. So the next time you're drinking, raise one for these folks. The next time you have a moment, make it a moment of silence. I sure will. I'll be lucky if I'm half the doc Dr. Bean was, but I'm damn sure going to try.
I'll try and keep up announcements, if any on this topic.