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Courageous Living or Risk Taking

  • 27 Mar 2019 10:54 PM
    Message # 7248787
    Dane Pratt (Administrator)

    Courageous Living or Risk Taking

    Robert M. Blumm, MA, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus

    Courage causes us to admire and reflect. Courage also, hopefully, encourages us to emulate. Courage is willing to make the correct move in the curve in the road. Courage is the desire to make a change where others have considered something hopeless. Courage is needed by every business and in every profession and in our lives if we want to experience the thrills of making our dreams a reality. Businesses that provide opportunities for employees to give back create a new enthusiasm for their employees and can change the perception of a company. Associations and organizations that do likewise develop a generation of professionals that let go of selfish desires and have a vision of the needs of the world around them and allow them to make a difference. “Courage it what it takes to stand and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Sir Winston Churchill.  For the next minute, I encourage you to sit down and read and reflect on what is and what can be and what you can do to make a difference. I am going to challenge you to have courage.

    My wife and I have a friend who is an anesthesiologist. This woman has been chief of an anesthesia department in a world-famous large hospital in New York City. This doctor had a small bucket list of what she would like to do in the future that were a challenge to her personally. She owns a 36-foot sailboat with motor and planned to sail from the Canary Islands to Granada in the Caribbean, a three-thousand-mile journey across the Atlantic. This trip was planned with three people, herself, a female friend and a male who was excellent in water survival. After two days when the boat lurched, she hit a thick rope knot in the galley below and fractured her clavicle. She did not wish to turn the boat around so she applied a sling.

    When they were five hundred miles out in the ocean, she was called to come to the upper deck by her friend. Apparently, the male member of the crew was experiencing chest pain, had profuse sweating, was experiencing shortness of breath and pain down his left arm. He seemed as white as the sail and was dizzy. Our friend helped to bring him down to the galley and over hydrated him for two days and gave him aspirin every six hours. They were too far at sea for a helicopter evacuation, had no cardiac drugs or IV fluids and used their phone to send out a message which was responded to by a tanker ship which would take sixteen hours to reach their location. The ship came and he was successfully brought back to the nearest port. The doctors who treated him at home, in England, marveled at the nautical anesthesiologist who had “saved his life.” Back on the sailboat, the two women took six-hour shifts, ate their rations and sailed the next 2500 miles. They successfully accomplished their journey. This trip took courage that exceeded that of many sailors that I know, yet she was knowledgeable and persistent and willing to take the risks and fulfill her dream.

    This same anesthesiologist, three weeks later, is in Hanoi, Vietnam on a medical mission. She is using her skills to give anesthesia for a team of surgeons and nurses to reconstruct ears on Vietnamese children who were born with deformities. One child said: “Thank you, Doctor, for changing my life.” Yes, this too took courage as there was a long plane trip into an area that has tropical diseases, but her challenge was to change the lives of these deserving children. I know of a small number of other PAs and NPs who have seen the challenges and who have had the courage to respond. A number of you readers have gone to the Philippines, or Mexico or Honduras or Jamaica, after the storms. You had courage and you took a risk of diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and other diseases. The risk was worth it. How many of those that are reading this article can take the moment, reflect on the needs around you, and respond courageously. “Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

    This article would not be a Bob Blumm article if I did not mention my favorite subject, the need for personal liability insurance. Becoming a health care provider takes courage. Every day, medical providers are confronted by patients with viral illnesses, pulmonary diseases, infections, communicable diseases. Some are babies, children, adults and senior citizens, as disease comes in all forms to all age groups. Surgical providers are constantly exposed to OR smoke from cauterization whose smoke can transmit cancer cells and infection. The possibility of a sharps injury is constant as scalpels are utilized and needles and staples are used for anastomosis and for closures. I’ve been stuck at least fifty times in my career. Yes, it takes courage to be a HCP. Some feel that it takes courage to have limited insurance because PAs and NPs are rarely sued. Some make the decision to forfeit personal liability insurance because they are engaged in the fantasy that their employer is as concerned about a litigation as they are. The truth is that they are concerned. About themselves. If they can void their contract with you because of any excuse, they will. They are not thinking of you when they sell their practices or their entire hospital to another health system and this can affect your malpractice policies. This idea that you can travel through your career without insurance or with a bare minimum, is not courageous but is risk-taking.  It is as risky as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For those of you with families, it is as risky as putting your three-year old in the back seat without a child restraint. I encourage you to forgo the risk and to contact your national organization, AAPA, and ask who they endorse for PAs. This is a primary reason for being a member, using the assets that your association have provided for you. The AAPA endorses the best policy on the market and it is A++ BEST Superior rated. Take this insurance for your career journey. I did.

    Last modified: 27 Mar 2019 10:54 PM | Dane Pratt (Administrator)
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