Category Archives: Surgery Related Topics

Trauma University: The First Five Lessons


Bellevue Hospital-NYC
Bellevue Hospital-NYC
Bellevue Hospital-NYC
Bellevue Hospital-NYC










If you are familiar with my background, you’re aware that I spent time at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana and Bellevue Hospital in New York City, both of which have level 1 trauma centers.


LSU Medical Center-Shreveport, Louisiana


During my combined 10 years of surgical training I saw just about every kind of traumatic injury imaginable (including more than a few men who were hit by trains and lived long enough to get to the ER, and the proverbial pulsing butcher knife protruding from the chest). Now that I’m writing fiction, I’ve made this extensive trauma experience, along with my medical and surgical background, the cornerstone of my stories.  




In an effort to familiarize potential readers with my writing style and the subject matter of my stories, I’ve published a number of blog posts titled Trauma University. I’ve included photos of surgical instruments, along with explanations of how they are used, and I’ve described how to deal with some of the acute situations and emergencies one might encounter in the ER and on the wards. It is my contention that if you are interested in the blog posts, you will be interested in my stories.


Trauma University – Part 1: What Are These Things?

Trauma University – Part 2: What Are These Things?

Trauma University – Part 3: “Trauma is a Recurrent Disease.”

Trauma University – Part 4: Emergency Tracheostomy

Trauma University – Part 5: Agony


But wait. Don’t stop here. As an added bonus I’ve included the link to my most popular blog post of all time–the emergency room thoracotomy. This post is graphic, explicit, and some of you may find it upsetting, so proceed with caution.   


“Okay, Let’s Crack Him!”


If you linked to the “Crack Him” post and you want even more ER thoracotomy horror, read Part 3 of the Me, Myself, and I Interview . You will learn why the emergency room thoracotomy figures prominently in my stories, and you will read about my first experience with the procedure, which was particularly dramatic and borders on horrifying.


Although I plan to add more posts to the series, I hope you enjoyed the first five plus any other surgery related stuff you may have linked to. If there are particular posts you like, or don’t like (perhaps too graphic or gruesome?), please leave a comment. If there are certain aspects of the operating room, surgery, and surgical diseases that you think might make for a good blog post, let me know by way of the comments section or email and I will see what I can put together. 



Trauma University – Part 5: Agony

    In chapter two of The Organ Takers, paramedics Tom Burnett and Freddie Ramirez find an unconscious homeless man facedown on a Midtown Manhattan sidewalk at 4:00 am. When they roll him onto his back, Freddie says, “He’s breathing, but his respirations are agonal.” What does that mean: his respirations are agonal?   From the context of the… Continue Reading

Can Human Organs be Grown in the Laboratory?

    In The Organ Takers I show you a lab full of organs that have been grown from porcine (pig) scaffolds and human stem cells.   In The Organ Growers I take you through the process of growing a human kidney using human stem cells and a porcine kidney.     But, can human organs really be grown in the lab?   To date, relatively simple… Continue Reading

Trauma University – Part 1: What Are These Things …

  … and what are they doing on an author website?   The instrument on the left is a laryngoscope. The tube on the right is an endotracheal tube. They are used to intubate patients who cannot breathe for themselves, such as those who are undergoing general anesthesia for surgery, or who have a medical condition that precludes them from… Continue Reading

The Me, Myself, and I Interview – Part 4

    In part three of this interview, I described a spectacular (and quite morbid) ER thoracotomy, one of the more dramatic surgical cases I performed in my career. In part four, I present a case of a young pregnant woman who was referred to the surgical service with sudden onset of headaches, palpitations, and sweating whenever her… Continue Reading