My life as an ER doctor during Covid: ‘People walk in, throw their garbage at you, and walk out’

February 24, 2022

The Guardian

Gillian Schmitz, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, had a similar experience in July 2018. She was working an overnight shift at First Choice ER in Texas when a man came in at two o’clock in the morning with a strange request. He wanted to see the cat scanner and tour the facility.

She suspected that he might be looking for narcotics and other pharmaceuticals on site. The man left but then pulled out a gun outside the facility and shot a person across the street. “I was terrified that he was gonna come right back,” said Schmitz.

When the police arrived 30 minutes later, they told her: “Well, we can’t stay here all night. We don’t know where this guy is. He might come back, but he might not. We’ve got other people to take care of.” Thankfully, the shooter did not return. “It is sort of an unsaid rule,” Schmitz says. “People think that this is part of our job, that part of being frontline providers is to bear the brunt of this [violence].”

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