Fighting Natural Selection

Never call anyone stupid.


Not even Dennis Rodman.

We all make mistakes and not a one of us lacks a story or two of our own idiocy.

I, for example, played a game on the beaches of Lake Michigan affectionately called “Log!”  In this game we (usually my brothers, friends and I) would find the tallest log within 3 miles of our campfire, set it upright in the middle of the campfire, and set the whole thing ablaze.  Then, while the 12 foot slowly burning log smoldered, we would relax, chat, and have an occasional delicious beverage.  Then, 3 to 23 minutes later, the giant log would come crashing downward in a random direction.  Then, all people around the fire scream “LOG!” and try not to get clobbered by the burning log of doom.

This is called fun.

Log!” is an exercise in mental genius compared to what I have seen in the ER.

I have met eggplants that with more common sense than some my patients.

For example, how many windows have you shattered with your fist?  If the answer is more than one (or more than zero) you might want to take an IQ test.  I’m not sure when the idea occurs that makes this sound like a good idea.  I am guessing these ideas occur after the 13th beer, but before gravity becomes too strong to keep your face from becoming permanently attached to the concrete for 4-14 hours (as we all know, gravity becomes stronger on your face after each beer, this is why drunk people come in with smashed faces from falling to the ground yet no other injuries).

Take that inanimate object

The one that consistently infuriates me are the drunk drivers, especially the repeat offenders.  At least consider the other people on the road.  A little.  A fraction.  At least put down your beer, you know, while your driving.  You need to keep at least one hand on the wheel while you text.

I recently discussed Darwinism with one of my awesome nurses.  She explained how her aunt accidentally burned off her eyebrows and bangs while smoking while on oxygen.  As you may remember from 5th grade science class, oxygen and fire like to get together to make a big fun flames.  If you can’t remember that, just remember that oxy-clean always gets your whites whiter, or in this case, burns your face off.

The thing is, humans no longer have any predators.

As the top dog (ape?) on the planet, we no longer have the razor edge only the smartest and strongest survive.  Accountability for terrible choices has dwindled to nonexistence.  The U.S. Emergency Medical system as a whole is set up as a giant safety net to catch anyone and everyone who falls through the cracks.  This is a good thing, don’t get me wrong, however, the system is broken.  Good, hard-working people are financially crippled due to continuously rising costs.  On the flip side, many people who have no intention of ever paying consistently burden the system with repetitive non-emergent problems due to their self induced idiocy.

Please do not interpret this as all alcoholics are idiots.

Drug addiction, alcoholism, and various mental illnesses are all horrific conditions that often slips through the cracks in society.  None of these can easily be addressed in an emergent manner quickly  in an ER setting.  Any one of these can take years of counselling and therapy to achieve a positive outcome, yet thousands suffering from these afflictions are thrown into an ER where in a few hours providers are expected to magically correct something that has stripped people of their humanity for years.  I know of several “regulars” who have come in for alcohol intoxication over 20 times in a single month.  Is it their fault this happens?  The system unfortunately has been set up for them to fail.

But, many cases are due simply to bad choices with lack of any accountability.

Thus, despite having wonderful interactions with countless patients, I can see how nurses, techs, doctors, and providers feel we are in a losing battle against natural selection.  So often we see people doing crazy, reckless, and dangerous activities… and we fix the results of their bad choices over and over.

At first I thought perhaps I’m the only one who worries about what might happen.

Won’t someone think of the children!

Then I saw the movie “Idiocracy.”

It is a decent comedy, but the opening scene hits a little close to home.

Please let me know what you think.




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