The ER and Me, a Student, Fifty Years Ago

Pilgrim on a Long, Long Journey

The W. A. Shands Teaching Hospital ER in Gainesville, Florida had been rather calm as best as I can remember. It was a night in about 1970. I was a med student, very wet behind the ears.

The peace of the evening was broken by the loud yelling and physical force of our next patient. He came in swinging his fists and yelling at the top of his lungs. The patient was a man about six foot three inches in height, 180 pounds in weight and thickly muscled. He was likely about 30 years of age. I would call him a “nuclear” force blowing into the room with terrifying strength and vigor.

The real docs quickly realized this was likely either PCP, psychosis or both. It took several very strong people to get him under control and inject a calming agent into his system. The experience that night was almost…

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