Humanities and Medicine| Volume 44, ISSUE 5, P1019-1021, May 2013

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“The Trapper's Last Shot”: A Response

  • Richard M. Ratzan
    Corresponding Address: Richard M. Ratzan, md, Department of Emergency Medicine, Hartford Hospital, 10 Wilcox Lane, Hartford, CT 06102-5037
    Department of Emergency Medicine, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut
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Published:February 27, 2013DOI:
      I have been reviewing manuscripts for various publications for over 30 years. Occasionally I read a submission that stimulates me enough to request of the editor an opportunity to respond, to register my own thoughts on the subjects of the essay I have just reviewed. After reading “Commiseration with a Frontier Trapper: A Reflection by a First-Year Emergency Medicine Physician,” I realized that I had read just such a manuscript, for Dr. Guth had made me ponder, not only this entrancing image, but what it “means,” which I write in quotation marks because I came to realize that it meant something different to me than it did to Guth (
      • Guth T.
      Commiseration with a frontier trapper: a reflection by a first-year attending emergency physician.
      ). Furthermore, like all successful writing, his essay, and the image that inspired it, would not let me go; rather, the challenge to write a worthy response forced me to reach deeper into my analysis of this essay than I had when first reviewing it for a simple “accept or reject” decision. Moreover, and this consequence is not always predictable, it gave me pause, at a certain point, taking me into meta-analysis, into the meaning of meaning. Lastly, as though a reward for my efforts in researching this response, I made the acquaintance of a very interesting author, who, like William Ranney, the painter behind the image that occasioned this cascade of reflections from two authors, is a student of conflict.
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        Commiseration with a frontier trapper: a reflection by a first-year attending emergency physician.
        J Emerg Med. 2013; 44: 1017-1018
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      Linked Article

      • Commiseration with a Frontier Trapper: A Reflection by a First-Year Attending Emergency Physician
        Journal of Emergency MedicineVol. 44Issue 5
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          As I make the trek from the parking garage to the Emergency Department, I pass through several long hallways lined with paintings capturing the essence and spirit of the American West. I work at the University of Colorado Emergency Department, where I can easily see the peaks of the Rocky Mountains from the ambulance entrance, so images of the American West do not seem out of place. If I am not rushing to make sign-out rounds, I may pause to appreciate the paintings that line the walls of the hospital.
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