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Member Spotlight: Dr. Alison Haddock
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Dr. Alison Haddock talks about being a #lifesavER in Texas and tending to society’s most needy. Dr. Haddock is a proud constituent of Senator Joan Huffman and Representative Sarah Davis.

 

Working at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, one of the busiest public hospitals in the state, I’ve seen and treated some of the sickest patients in our community—those with gunshot wounds, severe infections and heart attacks. I also take care of patients who do not have access to care elsewhere in our healthcare system. Though I specialize in emergency medicine, people may not understand that working in a trauma center can mean taking on other roles, like caretaker to the homeless and the psychiatrically ill in their time of greatest need.

One of the most distinct memories I have of a case that fits this description was a young woman who supposedly just had back pain. She was young and healthy, so my first instinct was to treat her pain and discharge her, but I ordered an MRI and found that she had cancer and needed emergency treatment. I was so glad that I was able to connect her with the care that she needed, even though she was uninsured. This woman, like many patients I see, was not well connected to care. She had no consistent primary physician to monitor her symptoms and know when something was no longer routine. It’s cases like these that have taught me the importance of the handful of minutes I have with patients that walk into our department. I could be the only healthcare professional they see for years and I have to make that count.

Young doctors who are experiencing an emergency setting for the first time are often stunned by the number of things that emergency physicians are juggling. It’s not an episode of Grey’s Anatomy—we don’t get to focus on one case for the entire day. We are required to prioritize and balance cases as they come in our door. Your success is dependent on how many things you can do at once. On top of this, we are seeing substance abuse, homelessness, mental illness—it’s overwhelming but it’s great insight into a part of society that most of us are shielded from. Whether it’s someone with routine back pain, someone suffering from a gunshot wound, or someone dealing with the pain and difficulty breathing that comes with needing dialysis, the emergency physicians I work with and I deal with people in the worst moments of their life. Even though it is difficult, I am thankful that I can be a helping hand to people in those moments.

I haven’t always worked in Texas. I came here for job opportunity and the work environment available to doctors in Texas, but I am continually impressed with how engaged and passionate the doctors I’ve met in Texas are. I may not be able to prove it, but in my opinion, doctors are prouder to be doctors in Texas than in other places I’ve worked. I’m glad that I am able to experience my profession alongside people who take pride in what they do.




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