Dear Emergency Room Personnel,
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 37 – No 12 – December 2018
My name is Ron E., and I am an alcoholic. I am also a grateful member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and as such, I am advised that my own continued sobriety depends on my willingness to make amends to people and institutions that I have harmed and to directly make such amends whenever possible. Needless to say, as medical professionals staffing emergency rooms and urgent care centers, you deserve my sincerest apologies.
You have met me far too many times and in far too many locales. Perhaps I was brought to you by state police with a blood alcohol level of .35 after causing a (thankfully minor) traffic accident. Perhaps I darkened your doors in great pain from cracked ribs or a fractured spine suffered in an intoxicated fall. Perhaps you raced against the clock to staunch the blood trickling down my face from a gash in my forehead also suffered in a blackout fall. Or maybe I thanked you for your troubles by tearing an intravenous tube out of my arm and then escaping into the streets in a blood-soaked white shirt.
Whether you are an emergency physician, nurse, or social worker, or even a radiologist, dietary aide, or transport assistant, I was ungrateful and, no doubt, treated you terribly. You were never mean enough to restrain me, but looking back, I now wish someone had taped my mouth shut.
I do apologize, and if I ever have the misfortune of meeting one of you again, I will apologize in person. Until then, I hope you will share this widely with your colleagues: You all deserve to know that I now know you were doing your best for me, and I was doing my worst for humanity.
I also hope that you continue to believe that I was not a bad person. I was, am, a sick person who made many bad choices and am now trying to get better, be better. I needed the help you gave me, and I needed you, among others, to tell me that I had a problem and offer me resources—even if only Alcoholics Anonymous—to help me start the road to recovery. I might not have listened, but I believe in piling on the straws in hopes of finally breaking the camel’s back.
Again, thank you. You done and do good.
– Ron E.