Last week I was wandering through Amsterdam when I came across a tweet which stopped me in my tracks. A real game changer, a shock, a wake up call and a surprise. Rob Rogers (aka @EM_Educator) tweeted a really interesting ECG. Take a moment to have a look and consider the diagnosis.
Of course, you’ll have seen ECGs like this before, an inferior AMI with lateral and posterior involvement. It’s a biggy! You may well have thought…’I’m glad that this isn’t mine’. The thing is, for Rob that was not an option. This is Rob’s ECG from his hospital bed, tweeted about 24 hours after he attended. Take a moment to think about that. If you’re an emergency physician like me then you’ll have seen ECGs like this, you’ll have had those conversations with patients in the few minutes between diagnosis and thrombolysis, or the move to the cath lab. How different would it be if it was you?
Rob is just 45 years old, an emergency physician like you and me (I’m 48).
Rob is a medical education genius, he’s devoted many aspects of his career to helping others learn and to be better clinicians. He’s runs teaching courses, websites and conferences and I suppose that his tweeting of his ECG is another incredibly brave aspect of that. The altruism in sharing his story such that others can learn is amazing.
Now, his story has two good endings.
Here’s the first, a great result in the Cath Lab.
The second is his excellent podcast telling the story of his MI and how he has changed the way he looks at the world. Have a listen and think about his story, his journey, your journey and perhaps consider what it might be to be on the other side. Stop and think about your life, values and commitment to looking after yourself. This stuff matters.
At some point in the future it’s almost inevitable that we will all find ourselves in the hands of colleagues and friends. In education our ambition is to develop and train those who will look after our patients, but as Rob describes that might also mean looking after you or me. This is not a completely new concept to me as I vividly remember one of my heroes (Chris Moulton) who taught me so much as a registrar telling me that investing in education is one of the best ways to improve the care that he might one day need. It was a little tongue in cheek, but there is some truth in this and when you listen to Rob talking about the excellent care he receved then all of that would be a consequence of someone (perhaps even Rob) investing in their training, skills and wisdom. You should also read Cliff Reid on the humbling reminder of the power of education, again inspired by Rob’s story.
Education – pay it forward – you might get it back in heaps later.
Rob has been incredibly brave to share his story, to give us all for thought, and for many of us to hear his wake up call.
To Rob from all of us in the Social Media, #FOAMed and Emergency Medicine world, the very best wishes and a speedy recovery.