There are more than 50 in-flight medical emergencies a day on commercial airlines — or one for every 604 flights, according to a study published in 2013.
What are the odds that two emergencies would occur on the exact same flight, above the Atlantic Ocean and hours from the nearest airport?
My colleague Mark, a critical care physician with whom I’d worked as an ICU nurse, and I were traveling to the Middle East for a patient safety conference. We were comfortably tucked into our seats, as he snored next to me.
It must have been about 3 a.m. when I was awakened by an overhead announcement asking for a medical doctor. I nudged Mark, asking him to press his call light.
As the flight attendant approached, I told her that Mark was a doctor.
“And she’s an ICU nurse, and we work together,” he said, gesturing toward me.Continue reading…
Gun rights advocates are correct: a well armed principal might have reduced the death toll from the tragic elementary school shootings in Connecticut last week.
Gun carrying citizens might also have been able to take down the shooters in Aurora and Virginia Tech. To most people, after all, guns are about self-defense, not about committing crimes. As the old saying goes: “There has never been a mass shooting at a gun show.”
On the other hand, gun control advocates are correct to point out that mentally disturbed people like Adam Lanza would not be able to commit massacres if they were prevented from getting their hands on high-powered, semiautomatic weapons. They are also correct to point out that Americans have staggeringly easy access to weapons that far exceed what any sportsmanlike hunter would use during deer season.
In other words, figuring out what to do in the wake of the Connecticut massacre means recognizing the truth in both of these views. It means considering the possibility that the answer to reducing gun violence is a matter of both having more guns and less.
To understand what I mean by “both more and less,” I offer two analogies: a straightforward one about airport security, and a more unexpected one about breast cancer screening.