|We See Everyone|
Like so many Americans, I am the son of an uneducated mother and father. While they did not have a formal education, they had integrity, a strong work ethic, and an unyielding desire to provide for their kids. Those values, instilled at a very young age, will follow me for all my years.
When I was in high school, my dream career was buying and selling wrecked cars with my father. I never intended to go to college. My parents wanted me to "just give school a try," so I did. Surprisingly, I liked it. Even more surprisingly, I wasn't bad at it. I wanted to learn, and I wanted to work hard, so I ended up majoring in pre-medicine. I never imagined I would actually become a doctor. After all, I didn't belong to one of "those" families. Sometimes hard work pays off.
One Friday night during my first month of medical school at Texas Tech, I accepted an open invitation to all med students to hang out in the ER. I will never forget the calmness in her voice that night, "42 to 229, coming in hot with a GSW to the head, level 1 activation, please." To the head? With a gun, to the head? I had barely seen blood before. This was a long way from the dented fenders and blown carburetors I thought I would spend my life fixing.
Fortunately, I did not fail. In fact, I did pretty well, and like so many emergency room doctors, I too found a calling in emergency medicine.
You have to love it to endure the hardships. I love the diversity of the specialty. I love that emergency medicine never sleeps. I love that we treat every patient...EVERY patient. While some pontificate on the pros and cons of various health care proposals, we treat EVERY patient that walks or rolls through our doors.
That's why I chose emergency medicine. I wanted to serve people, not just see them. I wanted to care for them, treat them, and ultimately heal them. I wanted to do all the things naïve medical students sign up to do, and not simply be another cog in an industry where some put profits over patients. I wanted to focus on patients, not bottom lines.
The longer I practiced, the more I found like-minded physicians, and made dear friends. Together, we built and opened the first Freestanding Emergency Center in Amarillo, TX—ER Now. Our patients do not wait. We provide high quality care, in a beautiful facility. We see REAL emergencies; car accident victims, patients needing breathing tube machines, victims of domestic violence, and even gunshot wounds.
I am incredibly proud that we have elevated emergency care in west Texas. I wish all 27 million Texans had access to emergency care 24/7/365. Until that happens, I will continue to work through entities like the Texas College of Emergency Physicians to increase access to affordable and exceptional emergency care for all Texans. We see everyone!
Gerad Troutman, MD, FACEP