Catherine Musemeche, M.D.
Genre: Medicine / Medical History
Date of Publication: September 6, 2016
# of pages: 268
|The Heroic Story of the invention of trauma care, from battlefield triage to level 1 trauma centers|
We take for granted that no matter how or where we are injured, someone will call 911 and trained first responders will show up to insert IVs, stop the bleeding, and swiftly deliver us to a hospital staffed by doctors and nurses with the expertise necessary to save our lives. None of this happened on its own.
Told through the eyes of a surgeon who has flown on rescue helicopters, resuscitated patients in trauma centers in Houston and Chicago, and operated on hundreds of trauma victims of all ages, Hurt takes us on a tour of the advancements in injury treatment from the battlefields of the Civil War to the state-of-the-art trauma centers of today.
PRAISE FOR HURT: THE INSPIRING, UNTOLD STORY OF TRAUMA CARE
"Musemeche’s fast-paced medical history mixes the gritty reality of treating life-threatening injuries—including her own heart-pounding experiences as surgeon—with an unfettered optimism about what trauma care can now promise: an assurance that most people will survive even a devastating injury.”
“Hurt is a fascinating journey through the history of trauma care in this country. Musemeche's unique ability to weave moving, personal stories with intriguing facts takes this book well beyond a great read. It is an education in the human spirit.” —Paul Ruggieri, MD, author of Confessions of a Surgeon and The Cost of Cutting
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Excerpt from Hurt
Chapter One: Along for the Ride, Part 2
There was the pregnant woman with a skyrocketing blood pressure who was carried in seizing and foaming at the mouth from preeclampsia. The doctor rushed in with a 60 cc syringe of magnesium sulfate and pushed it into her IV tubing as fast as it would flow, but in a matter of minutes, before he could get all of the lifesaving drug in, her pupils became dilated and fixed, a casualty of a presumed stroke. The damage was done; neither she nor the baby lived.
I soon came to realize how easy it was to lose a life in the split second when a decision must be made and action taken. Sometimes, before you ever laid eyes on a person, that moment had passed. Other times it was staring you in the face, daring you to act. If you were lucky, instinct took over and guided your every move.
The train wreck victims were brought in on a busy Sunday afternoon when all the metal folding chairs were occupied by sun- burns, sprained ankles, sore throats, and earaches. Every room was taken, and the brown-tiled hallways were lined with patients.
Dr. Sanchez was the sole physician manning the ER that day. An internist, he was trained to solve problems in a methodical fashion. He questioned patients in excruciating detail and examined them from head to toe. He went back and forth to the radiology department, compulsively viewing X-rays over and over. He struggled to make decisions, and that meant everything took longer than it needed to.
Sometimes the wait was too much for the patients. They would motion me over when they’d had enough. “We’ll just check in with our doctor tomorrow,” they’d say as they picked up their things and walked off.
Mrs. X’s breathing was slow and labored by the time Dr. Sanchez walked in. Nurses swarmed the stretcher, waiting to be told what to do. But there was only one doctor, and everything de- pended on what he did next. He was still straining to find breath sounds in Mrs. X’s now silent chest when Nurse Jenkins slapped a breathing tube into his hand. Then he knew: Mrs. X wasn’t going to keep while he was conducting a complete history and physical and looking at two views of the chest. She needed the tube now.
He pried Mrs. X’s mouth open with the laryngoscope and looked in. He rocked the blade back and forth. He searched like he was trying to find someone in the top row of the stadium bleachers. He squinted, he grimaced, and just when it looked like he might never find it, a glimmer of recognition registered on his brow and he coaxed the tube into the trachea. Nurse Jenkins attached the ventilation bag and squeezed air into Mrs. X’s stiff lungs, but it had all been too much for her by then—the wreck, the delay, and some devastating injury we would never know by name. She could not be revived. Dr. Sanchez pronounced her dead and left to find her husband.
By this time, Mr. X’s breathing had turned fast and shallow, and he was moaning. His chest had been crushed between the steering wheel and the front seat, cracking ribs on both sides. When he tried to breathe in, the midportion of his unhinged rib cage floated dangerously free and sharp shards of bone stabbed his lungs. Dr. Sanchez inserted a breathing tube and put Mr. X on a ventilator, hoping this would be enough to stabilize him, but his oxygen levels dropped further with each blood draw. He couldn’t survive if they got much lower.
Dr. Catherine Musemeche is a pediatric surgeon, attorney and author who lives in Austin, Texas. She was born and raised in Orange, Texas and attended Lutcher Stark High School. She is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, The University of Texas McGovern Medical School in Houston, The Anderson School of Management in Albuquerque, New Mexico and The University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. Dr. Musemeche is a former surgery professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, the MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute and the University of New Mexico where she was the Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Trauma. She currently works in the field of regulatory medicine.
In addition to publishing extensively in the medical literature, Dr. Musemeche has been a guest contributor to the New York Times. Her writing has also been published on NPR.org, KevinMD.com, in the anthology At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die and in the Journal of Creative Nonfiction. Her first book, Small: Life and Death on the Front Lines of Pediatric Surgery was nominated for the Pen American/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Award and was awarded the Writer’s League of Texas Discovery Prize for nonfiction. Her second book, Hurt: The Inspiring, Untold Story of Trauma Care will be published in September of this year.
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Guest Post #1
Author Interview #1
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Author Interview #2
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