Monday, January 04, 2010

Why Every ER Needs a Chaplain

From the 12/21&28 New Yorker, page 120, artist Barbara Smaller.

Dang, this week's issue had great cartoons! See the other two I've posted below.

This one especially struck me as more poignant than funny. I thought of posting it in my ER when I go in for my shift on Saturday (God and the sleep spirits willing), but then realized that in some of the staff, overworked and fed up with patients who "don't really need to be in an ER," it would evoke only anger about the current medical system: patients without insurance, patients with insurance who don't go to their primary-care docs for simple problems (but we on the receiving end of the stethoscope can't always tell what's simple or not!), patients who wait until 6 PM on a Friday to come in with a problem, now complex, that would have been simple if they'd gone to their primary-care docs three months ago. Of course, if they have neither insurance nor knowledge of local low-income clinics, they could only have come to the ER three months ago, and then they would have been dismissed as not really needing to be in the ER.

Can you say, "No-win situation?"

And even for those of us with insurance, primary care is only dispensed in fifteen-minute installments.



  1. Actually, I think this is the real reason for most of the call back referrals I receive. Of course, it's not always the patient or family member who needs reassurance; but the staff are part of my flock, too.

  2. Love this cartoon and the others below it. To me the point is that there isn't an official place to go for what it is we REALLY need.


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