What Ferguson tells us about America

Images from Ferguson

For the last two weeks, Ferguson, Missouri has been nightly entertainment. We have watched CNN, Fox News, MSNBC for the latest updates. Has the violence continued? Have peace and quiet been restored? What is wrong with those people in Ferguson? Could this happen here?

For two weeks, I have been avoiding the nightly news. I truly did not want to know what the latest update was. As a trauma surgeon, I hate loss of life. It is in my DNA. I hate it when someone needlessly gets gunned down in the streets. We saw that in Ferguson. We also saw it in the Trayvon Martin case.

In the United States there are several truisms. One of those truisms is that you simply don’t talk back to police. I was taught, growing up in the ’70s, that I needed to show police respect whether they deserved it or not. Why? Because that’s the way it is in the United States. My parents never explained it that way. But that’s the way it is. We can sit down and discuss the merits of the system and thoughtful ways of changing the system so the system works more for everybody, but the way the system is today… and the way it has been for more than 100 years, you must show police officers respect or there are dire consequences. Simply put, if you do not show police the respect that they, themselves want, you increase dramatically your chances of dying.  Continue reading

Ebola victim walks out of Emory Hospital

This is great. It is great for Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. It is also GREAT for Emory Hospital and American medicine.

From Reuters:

Appearing thin but smiling, a Texas doctor who weeks ago entered an Atlanta hospital in a full-body biohazard suit to be treated for Ebola said on Thursday he was “thrilled to be alive” as doctors declared him virus-free and safe for release.

Dr. Kent Brantly’s release came two days after a second U.S. missionary, Nancy Writebol, was quietly allowed to leave Emory University Hospital, where both had been treated after contracting the deadly virus in July while working for Christian organizations in Liberia.

They were each cleared for discharge from the hospital’s isolation unit after their symptoms eased and blood and urine tests showed no evidence of the virus, a doctor who treated them said on Thursday.

The announcement of their release and expected full recovery from a disease that has killed 1,350 people in West Africa prompted an emotional scene in Atlanta. Hospital workers cheered, clapped and cried as a thin but steady Brantly entered a news conference holding his wife Amber’s hand.