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ER crossword puzzle

Interview with Dr. Pezzi


Test your knowledge of ER terms by solving my ER crossword puzzle that was featured in the Prudential Securities Healthcare Group 2002 calendar.  Or take the ER-MCAT to see if you have what it takes to be an ER physician.

My favorite ER memories

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My personal pages

Including my:
Medical Inventions page
Misc. Inventions page
Snowmobile page

Accelerometer page
Smart Seat page
"If I had a hammer" page
"Sheds I've Built" page
Dremel bit holders page

ER stuff
 ER stuff
A mold to make ER cookies and ER Jell-O!  Or how about a glow-in-the-dark chest x-ray?

My postings on ER forums

ER links

Bad news about Accutane

Amy's Corner

Amy reviews ER computer games

Tell a friend about this page by e-mail

Recent magazine interviews

Some of my other sites


Interested in the television show ER or real emergency rooms?  Intrigued by unusual emergency room stories?  Want to know what it's really like to be an ER doctor?  Are you thinking of becoming an emergency doctor or nurse?  Ever wonder what goes on in hospital emergency rooms that is never mentioned on the show ER?  Do you enjoy reading books of ER stories?  Do you have a question that you'd like to ask an ER doctor?  Do you want some advice for getting into medical school or tips for the MCAT exam?  Even if you don't think you're smart enough to become a doctor, I can show you how to transform your brain into the mind of a genius.  So if you're interested in ER topics or medicine in general, you'll spend many enjoyable and informative hours reading the numerous pages on my web site.

Greetings!  I'm Kevin Pezzi, MD, an ER physician and author of TRUE Emergency Room Stories, Fascinating Health Secrets, The Science of Sex (who says that ER doctors cannot specialize in other fields, too?), and How to Lose Weight without Dieting, Drugs, Herbs, Exercise, or Surgery (it's possible, trust me . . . I graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school, and I know what I'm talking about).

In this site I'll present some excerpts and reviews of ER books, answer questions that I'm often asked during my radio interviews, and present a wide-ranging ER question & answer (Q&A) forum along with a variety of other ER topics. (I have another ER Q&A forum on www.ER-doctor.com.) I am willing to answer questions pertaining to emergency medicine, medicine in general, sex, brainpower, and scholastic achievement, but before you contact me, please check my numerous Q&A pages to see if I've already covered that topic (I probably have!).

If you're interested in medicine in general and ER in particular, you might want to read my book reviews even if reviews aren't normally your cup of tea, because in some of my many tangents I address a few of the thorniest issues in medicine today.  I also tell some stories I didn't include in my first ER book, and in a humorous (I think) graphic I poke fun at an uppity Harvard grad who knows less than what she thinks she does.

If you are one of the many students who come to this site seeking career advice, you may wonder about my qualifications for giving it.  I covered this topic in the following excerpt from the introduction to my book:

So You Want to be an ER Doctor?
The Pros and Cons of a Career in Emergency Medicine
Tips on Achieving Your Goal


While any ER doctor could plausibly write a book such as this one, I believe that I am more qualified for two reasons.  First, I had to overcome a number of obstacles to achieve success.  Many medical students come from professional, stable families in which the children are showered with a number of material advantages.  You may not be so fortunate, but this need not hamper you.  Even if you are poor, as I was, I can show you how to outperform your peers who attended the best private schools, were well connected, and could afford every conceivable boost such as prep courses for the SAT exam.  Second, I wasn’t born bright.  In sixth grade, my teacher chided me for being “slow,” and I received D’s in my sophomore year of high school.  It’s not an understatement to say that I was considerably behind the curve for people with aspirations of a medical career.  In spite of that inauspicious beginning, I obtained virtually perfect grades my last two years of high school and throughout college, and I aced the MCAT exam.  My medical school accepted one person per year (for a class of 256 students) with just three years of college if their grades and MCAT scores were exemplary, and I was that person.  Like many medical school applicants, I felt some anticipatory anxiety over the admissions interview, which is fabled to be stressful.  Instead of grilling me with tough questions, my interviewer examined my record, then looked at me and said, “We’re obviously going to accept you.”  I graduated in the top 1% of my class in medical school, and was such a shoo-in for an ER residency position (the most coveted residency at that time) that I was offered an under-the-table deal because they wanted to ensure that no other hospital lured me away.  The director of my residency program once commented that I was the smartest resident they ever had, and one of my former bosses told me that I was the smartest doctor he ever met.  Aren't these implausible accolades for someone who was once a class dunce?  Hence, I think that I am uniquely qualified to write a “how to succeed” book, because I know how to do it, and I was not born with that aptitude.  I learned how to expand my brainpower, and I can show you how to do the same thing.  You can learn more from me than you can from people who were born on third base, and act as if they just hit a triple.  Whether they are born geniuses telling you how to become more intelligent, or people with naturally beautiful bodies lecturing you on how to be more attractive, I question the utility of their advice.

Besides giving you tips on ways to augment your intelligence and memory, I will tell you a secret that will give you an edge over other medical school applicants.  A minority of them have stellar grades and MCAT scores.  The record of most successful applicants is very good, but not superb.  How can you convince the Admissions Committee that they should pick you, instead of another qualified applicant?  Given the limited number of available positions, Admissions Committees cannot accept everyone who is smart enough to become a doctor.  Most applicants seek to enhance their desirability by doing things that really don’t give them an edge, such as volunteering.  Amongst medical school applicants, this is almost as common as breathing, so it is futile to think that this will make you stand out from the crowd.  Unless you are content with entrusting your future to fate, or subsequently reapplying if you are rejected, you need something that gives you a distinct advantage.  I will tell you how to do something that will leave an indelibly positive impression on the Admissions Committee, and all but ensure that you will be accepted.

In this book, I will also discuss the pros and cons of a career in emergency medicine (and, to a lesser extent, to any medical career).  Unlike some authors who gloss over the drawbacks of a career so they can write a more rah-rah book and achieve more sales, I will emphasize the negative aspects to balance the overly positive impression you probably possess from various media exposures.  There are several factors that conspire to make emergency medicine a noxious career, but I will reveal how you can minimize some of these headaches.

You will be pleasantly surprised if you’re expecting a dry, pedantic book.  You will find many intriguing, provocative, and offbeat discussions that will increase your knowledge of what it’s really like to be an ER doctor.  I will also talk about how an ER career affects your personal life.  Believe me, it will.

Unlike some authors who hide behind their publishers and don’t make themselves available to their readers, I am very accessible.  You can contact me by using this hyperlink: www.MySpamSponge.com/send.php?handle=erdoc (see * below). If you have a question that I did not address in this book, I will gladly answer it for you and include it in a subsequent book so that others can benefit from the information.


* MySpamSponge is a site I developed that anyone can use to block all of their spam, but never any legitimate messages. With MySpamSponge, you communicate using handles instead of e-mail addresses. A handle is essentially a contact code that gives people a way to contact you via e-mail without you having to reveal your e-mail address. Similarly, you can send a message by using the recipient’s handle as the address (mine is ERdoc). Smart people will quickly "get it" and realize that this could be the magic bullet that makes spam a thing of the past, but I wonder if the average Internet user can grasp a major innovation that didn't come from Microsoft or Google. We'll see.

By the way, since MySpamSponge is new, you can have almost any handle you want. First come, first served, so the bright "early adopters" will get the best handles.


 Click here to bookmark this page

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ER Question of the Week
(for hundreds more, click here)

Q: The emergency doctor profession seems very glamorous. Is it? Regards, Emma

A: It may seem glamorous to be an ER doctor, especially now that ABC-TV's The Bachelor currently features an ER doc who is young, handsome, taller than Jack and the Beanstalk, and surrounded by 25 beautiful women who tell him how amazing he is every minute or two. However, emergency room physicians have a notable absence of glamour in their professional careers. In fact, much of what they do, and must put up with, is the antithesis of glamour. It can be downright disgusting, such as when an ER doctor is disimpacting a patient (using his fingers to dig a hard ball of stool from the rectum of a plugged-up patient who is usually elderly, comatose, or paralyzed). The smell can be so noxious that you might vomit, no matter how hard you try to suppress it (it's happened to me). It is also not very glamorous to touch the bodies of people who have not bathed in months, if ever. Then there is the sheer unpleasantness of dealing with "mean-drunk" alcoholics, drug addicts, and myriad other patients with assorted abrasive personalities. I don't know how old you are, but I would wager that if you spend a day in an ER, you will see people who are unlike anyone you've ever seen before (to get an idea of what you will face, watch the movie Deliverance). You will witness behavior so outlandish that you may wonder if you are on another planet. In a sense, you are. You're in the ER. The doors that separate emergency rooms from the outside world may as well be doors into another universe. When people think of the ER, they think of blood and guts. They should also think of feces, urine, vomit, pus from disgusting places, unmentionable pelvic discharges, temper tantrums, endless profanity, threats, assorted verbal abuse, and the occasional punch now and then.

So is it glamorous to work in the ER? In a word, no. However, the startling absence of glamour in the ER is offset by other factors, such as the unparalleled satisfaction that you can feel after saving someone's life. Consider what people in other occupations may do during the course of a day. A waitress may serve dozens of customers. A Wal-Mart cashier may sell a hundred made-in-China items of junk that cost half of what comparable American-made merchandise might sell for, but break down after a few uses. (After replacing three made-in-China mixers in the past three months, I've had it with their junk!) An office worker may process many forms, moving them from Pile A to Pile B. In contrast, an ER doctor might save a dozen or more lives, and indelibly affect many more both directly and indirectly. Furthermore, as an ER physician, you have the opportunity to achieve results that are commensurate with your level of skill, knowledge, and intelligence. If you are exceptionally smart, knowledgeable, thorough, and diligent, you will save lives and positively affect others in cases that a lesser ER doctor would have botched. Yes, it is rewarding to save any life, but after a while the luster of that is dulled by the realization that most of your "saves" could have had an identical outcome if they were treated by any ER doc. However, if you are good at what you do, you could save the lives of people who would have gone to their graves had an average ER doctor treated them. Now that's rewarding.

In my opinion, glamour is not a good criterion to be used in the selection of a career. In reality, few jobs are as glamorous as they may seem. Take fashion models, for example. Their job may seem glamorous, but that is only when they are strutting down the runway with their "no real person walks this way" stride and the flashbulbs are popping. Their careers would seem less glamorous if you saw them sweating during their 3-hour per day workouts or enduring the agony of self-imposed semi-starvation (unless they'd read my book How to Lose Weight Without Dieting, Drugs, Herbs, Exercise, or Surgery, in which case they could discover how to have a great body without torturing themselves).

My Question and Answer pages

An interview with Kevin Pezzi, MD

Question & Answer Pages (nice synopsis of the topics in each page)

Even more ER questions

Even more ER questions--Part 2

Even more ER questions--Part 3

Many More ER Questions and Answers

Many More ER Questions and Answers--Part 2

Many More ER Questions and Answers--Part 3

Miscellaneous ER Questions and Answers

More advice on becoming an ER doctor

More advice on becoming an ER doctor -- Part 2

More ER Q & A: Questions about becoming an ER doctor -- Part 1

More ER Q & A: Questions about becoming an ER doctor -- Part 2

More ER Q & A: Questions about becoming an ER doctor -- Part 3

Q & A about other ER personnel

Questions I'm frequently asked about my book and life in the ER

Still More ER Questions and Answers

Still More ER Questions and Answers--Part 2

Still More ER Questions and Answers--Part 3

Very Miscellaneous Questions and Answers

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers--Part 2

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers--Part 3

Yet Another Page of ER Questions and Answers--Part 4

  Will Dr. Pezzi appear on TV?  Click for details.



Why are attractive women as rare as dodo birds in emergency rooms?



Article from Entertainment Weekly:  "ER" Needs Fresh Blood


Web site trivia

The strangest thing that happened to me this year:  Had someone told me in advance that I'd be interviewed by Susan Olsen, who used to play Cindy on The Brady Bunch, I would have been incredulous.  Nevertheless, it happened.  Susan's producer contacted me and requested the interview because Susan is avidly interested in medical topics, especially offbeat ones.  Our conversation ranged from wacky reasons for visiting the ER to really wacky reasons for visiting the ER, such as when a woman called 911 and came to the ER via ambulance because she wondered if her (use your imagination, I'm censoring this in case any children are reading) was too loose.  How did I approach this Earth-shattering emergency?  Probably not in the way you might expect.  If you're interested, I discussed it in my book and in the interview.

The strangest thing that happened to me as a result of writing my books:  being offered a blind date with Katie Couric . . . yes, NBC's Katie Couric.  If you're interested, here is an explanation of how that came about, and what happened.

 Win a free* book
* = the book is free; you pay for the shipping

by entering a contest sponsored jointly by www.ERbook.net and Time Warner Trade Publishing.  To enter, answer the following question:  What are the pros and cons of being an ER doctor?

Send your submission to me via this page: www.myspamsponge.com/doctor.php  Winners will be selected on the basis of how insightful, thought-provoking, and grammatically correct (believe me, I care nothing about political correctness!) their answers are.  Winning submissions become the property of www.ERbook.net and may be published in exchange for the prize, Just Here Trying to Save a Few Lives:  Tales of Life and Death from the ER by Pamela Grim, MD.  I reviewed that book on my page of book reviews, which is why Time Warner was kind enough to promise to send me four or five copies of that book (which retails for $23.95) to give away in a contest.

Read the first winning essay




Is it possible to lose weight without dieting, drugs, herbs, exercise, or surgery?  Yes, it is.  This may seem to be impossible and too good to be true, but it is indeed possible, as I explain in my www.lose-weight-easily.net web site.


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