It was with both surprise and deep regret that we as both surgery and emergency medicine resident physicians at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center read the articles that described our alleged turf wars (Nov. 19-20).
With surprise since we were not aware that we were at war with each other. With regret since we realize that these articles give both the local and the national medical communities a very distorted view of what we as physicians consider acceptable professional behavior.
Daily we, as much as any two specialties can, work side by side for one common goal, that of the patient's treatment, whether or not it requires surgical intervention. Due in part to the large patient volume that we experience, the County-USC Emergency Department system has developed along a different track with respect to physician accountability. Within this framework, the day-to-day reality is a partnership of skills that work extremely well for both specialties and our patients.
With one of the lowest death rates in the county and certainly the highest volume of patients, it would appear that we have achieved both a practical and valid approach to trauma care. To suggest that we as professionals are squabbling over patient jurisdiction is both irresponsible and simply not true.
MITCHELL McGEE, MD
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ, MD
NATALIE McDOWELL, MD
FRANTZ MELIO, MD
GARY HASIMOTO, MD
JULIE CAMERON, MD