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Eric Forsthoefel Knows Medicine Does Not Bring Instant Gratification


Nobody can say no to a career that will bring instant gratification. Such a career would be very satisfying. Having practiced emergency medicine for seven years now, Dr. Eric Forsthoefel knows that such luck is not possible in the field. Today, you will have a satisfying day; tomorrow, you may have a torrid one. Sometimes you blame yourself for things that you are not responsible for or are beyond your control.

In intensive care, lives are at stake. Decisions are split-second and stakes exceptionally high. It is the normal way of life. When someone shows up bleeding, you don’t even have time to ask what happened. You have to dive into the situation before it gets out of hand.

Gratification eventually comes when a patient recovers and is out of danger, but soon after, you are dealing with a new case that needs even more from you. That is the normal life of an emergency doctor. Dr. Eric Forsthoefel did his residency at Louisiana State University. Previously, he studied at the Louisville University Medical School.

He takes solace in reading about other people’s experiences in the medical field. His favorite book, The House of God by Samuel Shem, is about emergency room and ICU situations. He uses some of the expositions to make medical decisions. He argues that learning is central to quality decision making.

When you have a team of physicians to help you, you learn a lot. You also gain a lot in terms of efficiency and variety. When you have a patient, it becomes a team effort to deliver care. The team wins when decisions are shared. Even in a fast-paced emergency environment where chaos is natural, finding team harmony is crucial.

When you have a team, you have to encourage all voices. Encourage people to voice their opinions at all times. Eric Forsthoefel believes that you cannot replace the enthusiasm that comes with shared decision-making. He knows that any team must have a hierarchy. There must be a leader in the team. However, that leader must listen to all voices to promote growth within the team.