Date: February 18, 2011
“Down at the Docks” (Fall, 2010) brought back memories of my own Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s encounter circa 1973. It involved three unfortunate Seagirt stevedores badly de-saturated from carbon monoxide poisoning. All three arrived at the ER seriously ill: two compromised with ongoing acute ischemic myocardial injury and a third who would also demonstrate central nervous system complications and die. The three men brought the consequences of their work to me, but it would never be clear why the threesome had taken on the task of moving materials in the ship’s poorly ventilated hold using a gas-powered bulldozer.
Doctors Gottlieb and Possner endeavor to shift the paradigm from a traditional focus “around us and our exam rooms.” These Hopkins physicians, with their savvy of “what sort of a patient has a disease” (Osler), may encourage creative communication with our patients. Their prescience may likewise further incorporate a preventive approach to traditional primary care that might eliminate repetition of similar and avoidable oversights in the workplace that we, as residents, witnessed back in the ’70s.
Peter J. Dorsen, MD
Baltimore City Hospital (1972-1974)