JG: When you look back on your long career, what makes you proud?
CC: What I’ve done with EMS makes me the proudest. We had no EMS community when I started. We were getting tons of patients in the hospital without having any information about what happened to them so we couldn’t prepare for anything. And they received no prehospital care. Now it’s so much different.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 03 – March 2020
JG: It sounds like you were a natural problem solver since you were heavily involved in developing your emergency department and creating your local EMS. What do you think compelled you to go beyond the status quo to make things better?
CC: My feeling at the time was somebody has to do it, and I was ready to step in. I wanted to make things better.
JG: What has it been like to retire? Has that been a hard adjustment?
CC: The hardest part is I still read about medicine, and every once in a while, I say to myself, “Why are you reading this? You can’t apply it to a patient.” The hardest part is that [my reading] doesn’t make any difference because I’m not taking care of patients. I miss taking care of patients and interacting with them.
JG: What advice do you give to young physicians who are just starting their careers?
CC: My only advice is, remember you have it better than anyone else. I think emergency medicine is the perfect specialty. That’s always my advice. I know they want more big things, especially coming out of residency, but they have to realize, and I tell them, “You’re the most important thing to the person you’re taking care of. That person is so thankful you are there and that they have someone to turn to at any time. Even if it may sound like a silly thing to you, to them, it’s not.” I think that’s the great part about emergency medicine. We’re there for those people who have nowhere to go, and some of them can’t get to their doctor for weeks and weeks, and at least we can help them out and solve their problem. Even though their problem may seem minor to us, it’s not to them. It’s major for them.
JG: You’re so positive and optimistic. That has to be something that sustained you during your long career—your “glass half full” attitude.
CC: I’ve been very fortunate. I always said I was the luckiest guy in the world because I just fell into emergency medicine. I grew up with emergency medicine, and I couldn’t be any more fortunate than that.