As an ER Physician, Here's What I've Seen Cars Do to the Human Body - Including Mine (2023)

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Christian Rose

As an ER Physician, Here's What I've Seen Cars Do to the Human Body - Including Mine (12)

On April 4th, a fellow cyclist and medical professional texted me that someone had been hit while riding his bike on Arguello Boulevard and was being transferred to San Francisco General Hospital - presumably killed upon arrival. As an emergency room doctor and cyclist myself, I've seen and heard this story many times, but my heart sank anyway.

Another death that didn't need to happen.

Days later, I and the rest of the city and the cycling world would know the details of thetragic deathof Ethan Boyes, a 44-year-old world champion cyclist, who was fatally hit that day. I wept for his family and friends and wondered if our paths had ever crossed during our decades of riding this city. My body also ached with the memory of my near-fatal bicycle collision in 2017, just a few blocks from where Ethan died.

“A cyclist was hit head-on by a vehicle at an intersection on Arguello. Multiple deformities, on the way to SFGH.

The dispatch could have relayed Ethan's fate or any number of ambulance calls I've received over the years. Arguello is one of the busiest and most injury-prone streets in San Francisco, but I always remember hearing that from a fire department paramedic as I lay on my back, looking up at the blinding ambulance lights on a cold winter night. October.

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  • S.F. Cycling advocates plan demonstration to demand protected bike lanes in Arguello
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Before I was run over, I remember debating with friends the best approach for cars and motorcycles to “share the road”. It wasn't until the headlights approached me that I recognized the stark reality: there is no sharing between a car and a human being.

The initial impact remains etched in my memory - my bike was wrenched out from under me with a sickening screech and my body was flung into the air, limbs flailing like a rag doll. As a competitive cyclist like Ethan, I've practiced handling takedowns, but nothing can prepare you for the colossal force of a multi-ton vehicle hurling you through the air. When your head scrapes the pavement and your bones crack, there are no smooth landings.

The human body, an engineering marvel, is built to withstand remarkable amounts of force, but when faced with a steel giant, it is inevitably pushed beyond its limits. Organs are crushed, blood vessels rupture, and bones shatter into countless pieces. Bicycle helmets, designed to absorb impacts of about 15 miles per hour, explode on contact with a car. Even when the skull remains intact, the violent internal movement can rupture blood vessels and dissolve the brain cells that define us. I recently held a patient's head at a 30-degree angle to slow this intracranial bleeding while a resident quickly inserted a breathing tube into his trachea.

I witnessed spleens and livers torn from their vital blood vessels and limbs inert and immobile, disconnected from their neighboring parts.

Even low-speed encounters with multiton vehicles can wreak havoc on the human body. In one case, I meticulously removed bicycle parts embedded in a patient's leg and stripped off clothing that had fused to the skin as it was dragged along the sidewalk. In another, I urgently inserted a chest tube in an elderly patient who was taking blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. This daily cyclist now relied on a pharmacist to promptly find a reversal agent for their medication to stop them from simply oozing to death - all because a truck just "cut" them off on the road.

The consequences of these collisions are often devastating. Some individuals face life confined to a wheelchair, while others deal with severe traumatic brain injuries, unable to form new memories or perform complex tasks. The visceral consequences resemblean impression of Otto Dixrepresenting war survivors. The mental scars of such incidents run deep, with survivors struggling with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The once simple act of riding a bike turns into a struggle with paralyzing fear and relentless flashbacks. Recovery is a painstaking journey filled with physical therapy, counseling and an unwavering determination to get your life back on track.

The death of Ethan Boyes on a notorious stretch of road in the Presidio serves as a reminder that we must do more to protect cyclists. Drivers often see cyclists as mere obstacles, rushing to pass them as if racing for a traffic light. Otherwise, it is due to carelessness, driving too fast or being distracted thatdrivers most often responsible for these fatal incidents. Perhaps there is something about being inside a vehicle that seems to trigger an “us versus them” mentality. I even feel guilty about it, often yelling out the window at helmetless cyclists or those weaving dangerously in traffic, exclaiming, “You could die out here!” The disheartening reality is that cycling deaths have become an expected part of life in big cities, leading some to ask:“Is it okay to kill cyclists?”

It is not.

Cyclists are not just objects to get around, but beloved friends and family enjoying the streets they call home and traversing the city they love. Comparing its value with vehicle traffic needs is uninformed and short-sighted. Lessons from other countries where cycling deaths have declined often fall on deaf ears, with critics arguing: “We have different cultures”. While our national relationship with cars is historic and complex, change can start by remembering that it's not about cars versus cyclists, but about the people behind the wheel and those who cycle to get around. The human cost is incalculable. Lives are forever altered, and the invisible scars left behind can take a lifetime to heal, if at all.

Is it too much to ask for protected lanes and enforced speed limits?

Protected cycle paths work. Theywork in San Francisco, and we need more of them.Slowing down works too.. San Francisco, known for its progressive ideals and environmental awareness, has the opportunity to join the ranks ofother cities with a vision of the futurewho have worked to make these transitions and enhance the safety and well-being of all their citizens.

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The only way to prevent deaths in the future is to foster a culture that embraces mutual respect and understanding between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. I've handled enough bike versus auto cases to write the ICD-10-CM Diagnostic Code—V13.2XXA—into memory. “Unspecified cyclist injured in collision with car, van, or pickup truck in nontraffic accident, initial contact.” Before being hit, I used to put on my helmet and walk through the ambulance bay doors on the way home, remarking, "I hope I don't end up here before my next shift!"

If we can begin to truly understand the vulnerability of cyclists when placed next to cars, perhaps this sentence will no longer sound like a joke, but rather an admission of the fragility that it is.

The Doctor. Christian Rose is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

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What is Paul Farmer's philosophy? ›

advertisement. Even during that initial one-on-one conversation, he took the time to discuss his philosophy of medicine — the “preferential option for the poor” — a sentiment repeatedly exemplified by the work led by Partners In Health, the social justice and global health organization he co-founded in 1987.

What did Paul Farmer study? ›

Farmer won a full scholarship to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 1982. In 1990 he earned both an M.D. and a Ph. D. in anthropology from Harvard University.

What are the four agricultural philosophy? ›

The Principles of Organic Agriculture are Health, Ecology , Fairness and Care.

What was Paul Farmer's cause of death? ›

Paul Edward Farmer, a pioneering Harvard Medical School global health physician and medical anthropologist who dedicated his life to improving and providing health care in some of the world's most underserved countries and communities, died in his sleep from an acute cardiac event in Rwanda on Feb.

What did Paul Harvey say about farmers? ›

"So God Made a Farmer" was a speech given by radio broadcaster Paul Harvey at the 1978 Future Farmers of America convention.

What religion was Dr Farmer? ›

Dr. Farmer, who was brought up in a Catholic family, frequently connected issues of global health, human rights, and faith.

How does Paul Farmer connect with people? ›

Instead of checking on a patient and quickly heading over to the next patient, Farmer took his time talking to the patient, getting to know them, asking how they feel, and listening to the patient; Through this method, Farmer creates a bond with his patients.

What are the 4 4 periods of philosophy? ›

The Department of the History of Philosophy covers the entire history of philosophy from the Presocratic philosophers up to today, applying a division into four periods (ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary).

What are the 6 ideas from Eastern philosophy? ›

  • How to Endure.
  • Everything Is So Weird.
  • Escaping Into History.
  • The Inevitability of Choice.
  • What Would Jesus Do?
  • Stop Worrying About Your Reputation.
  • You Still Have Time.
  • I Will Survive!

What are the 5 Western philosophy? ›

The ensuing article on the history of Western philosophy is divided into five sections—ancient, medieval, Renaissance, modern, and contemporary. A threefold distinction between ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy was prevalent until recent times and is only as old as the end of the 17th century.

Did Paul Farmer found partners in health? ›

Dr. Paul Farmer (1959-2022) co-founded Partners In Health based on the belief that everyone deserves quality health care. Paul cared for the sick, trained generations of clinicians, and transformed health care policies–saving millions of lives and inspiring a movement toward global health equity.

How old is Paul Farmer? ›

What is farmers only motto? › is famous for this jingle in its commercials: "You don't have to be lonely, at!"

What is the farmers prayer? ›

We commit to your protection all our crops and farm industries. We beseech you, to intercede in our behalf with Almighty God, Who rules the seasons, so that our fields being safe from pests and favored by the weather may yield abundant crops that will allow us to supply the wants of life.

What Bible verse is used for farmers funeral? ›

To Everything There is a Season” from the Bible

This often-quoted scripture, found in the book of Ecclesiastes, is especially appropriate to use for a farmer's funeral program or service.

What denomination is a progressive church? ›

Generally speaking, the two most Progressive denominations are the United Church of Christ (not to be confused with the ultra-homophobic and misogynistic Church of Christ), and the Episcopal Church of the United States.

Who is Paul Farmer's wife? ›

He is survived by his wife, Didi Bertrand Farmer, and their three children. Partners In Health CEO Dr. Sheila Davis released the following statement: “Paul Farmer's loss is devastating, but his vision for the world will live on through Partners in Health.

How did Paul Farmer change the world? ›

With his radical approach and generosity of spirit, he trailblazed a pathway for global health to be a social justice movement. Through his own work, and through the continued work of his students, he improved the life and wellbeing of countless patients across the world.

Who is the man who would cure the world? ›

Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World (2003) is a non-fiction, biographical work by American writer Tracy Kidder. The book traces the life of physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer with particular focus on his work fighting tuberculosis in Haiti, Peru and Russia.

What did farmers do for a living? ›

Some farmers work primarily with crops and vegetables, whereas other farmers and ranchers handle livestock. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers run establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products.

What was the purpose of the farmers movement? ›

Farmers' Alliance, an American agrarian movement during the 1870s and '80s that sought to improve the economic conditions for farmers through the creation of cooperatives and political advocacy. The movement was made up of numerous local organizations that coalesced into three large groupings.

What is the farmers paradox? ›

Who is the better farmer? The paradox of the farm is that the better farmer is the one who spends less time weeding. And the way to becoming the better farmer appears to be paved primarily with weeds.

What does the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world mean? ›

The Idea That Some Lives Matter Less Is The Root Of All That Is Wrong With The World. Every life is just as precious as the next. Your life has meaning, but so does the life of those seated next to you. Thoughts that extend inequality are at the root of what we are fighting against.

What was the main goal of the farmer Alliance? ›

One of the group's main goals was to form cooperatives. Farmers set up cooperatively owned retail stores and marketing organizations. The idea was to give producers more influence in buying their supplies and marketing their products. The Farmers' Alliance was very strong in Texas and Kansas.

What was the major goal of the farmers in writing the Constitution? ›

In the Preamble to the Constitution, the framers outlined their general goals: to create a just government and to insure peace, an adequate national defense, and a healthy, free nation.

What was the main goal of the farmers Alliance quizlet? ›

What was the main goal of the Farmers' alliance? Allow farmers the opportunity to join together for the purpose of purchasing equipment and exhibiting political strength.

What is the biggest problem that farmers face today? ›

What Are 5 Problems Faced By Farmers?
  • Problem #1: Climate Change. Climate change is one of the biggest issues facing farmers today. ...
  • Problem #2: Pests and Diseases. ...
  • Problem #3: Soil Degradation. ...
  • Problem #4: Access To Markets. ...
  • Problem #5: Lack Of Financial Resources. ...
  • Conclusion.
Jan 1, 2023

What 3 problems did farmers face? ›

After the Civil War, drought, plagues of grasshoppers, boll weevils, rising costs, falling prices, and high interest rates made it increasingly difficult to make a living as a farmer.

What is the biggest problem for farmers? ›

  • Inadequate transport. ...
  • Lack of capital. ...
  • Agricultural marketing. ...
  • Soil erosion. ...
  • Irrigation problems. ...
  • Lack of high quality seeds. ...
  • Lack of infrastructure in the agriculture sector. ...
  • Biocides, fertilisers, and manures.

Who said the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world? ›

“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” ― Dr. Paul Farmer The world lost an amazing person today.


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