Med School/Year Graduated: Indiana University School of Medicine, 2001
Years in Practice: 13
What is the single most critical skill in respect to emergency medicine? Surgical aptitude? The ability to quickly diagnose? Something else?
Connecting with patients quickly to gain their confidence is essential. We do not have the same relationship that the patients have with their primary care physician. Gaining a person’s trust makes the treatment easier and lessens the stress of the situation.
How has your field changed since you began practicing?
Studies have demonstrated better outcomes by reducing variation in care. Whether you present to a hospital in Scottsdale or Bedford, Indiana (my hometown), with a heart attack, research should guide the physicians to evaluate and treat in a very similar fashion.
Do you ever keep in touch with patients?
On occasion, the opportunity to care for a patient at a critical moment can cause us to be forever connected. I recently had dinner with a gentleman for whom I had the privilege of caring for when he presented in shock. Thirty percent of shock patients die from the disease, and it was great to be able to see him doing so well. To paraphrase Dickens, we see people in the best of times and the worst of times.
What are misconceptions people have about your field?
I think many believe that it is always exciting and dramatic music is playing in the background. Working in the [ER] can be fun and exciting, but can also be stressful, tiresome and mentally exhausting.
You and your wife Kristen met in medical school. How did your first date go?
It’s interesting how cheap a first date was in Indianapolis back in 1997. Dinner and a movie cost about $14. I did, however, make dinner to save money. I guess it worked.
You have an identical twin who also works in
emergency medicine in the Valley. Does emergency medicine run in the family? Is there any sibling rivalry there?
To be honest, I was going to be a neurologist initially… but the TV show ER was so appealing. Regarding sibling rivalry, both my brother and I are laid-back about this. We were both swimmers in college and were more competitive with others than we were with each other.
Is emergency medicine as exciting as Hollywood makes it out to be?
One episode of ER represents all of the interesting cases that I will see over about five years. They are also much smarter on TV. If I was as smart as House [Dr. Gregory House of the NBC medical drama House], I would be untouchable on Jeopardy.
You’re a guitarist. What’s your favorite song to strum?
I really enjoy acoustic covers as well as accompanying my 11-year-old son singing. We recently performed Beyoncé’s “Ave Maria.” I am working on Pachelbel’s Canon in D. I might be able to save some money on one of my kids’ weddings by not having to hire a musician.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be...”
Well, I used to be a swimmer, and now I run a lot. The idea of being paid to train and compete has always seemed appealing. Is it cliché to say professional athlete?