Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I'm an emergency physician, which means that I am a doctor who is specially trained in emergencies. Emergencies like car accidents like shootings like heart attacks, strokes or sepsis. And as you can imagine, that makes the E. R a pretty chaotic place. But it's also a really special one because the E. R is where people go when things go wrong. We see people of all walks of life, and this is one of the Onley places in society that you will see a CEO and a homeless man and a single mother and a student and a refugee all under the same roof. And that's pretty special disease. Morbid as it may sound, is a great equalizer because we all get sick, we all get injured, and that makes us all the same. It makes us all human. Everyone can get into a car accident. Everyone can get the flu and everyone will need a doctor. So in a way that makes us medicine healthcare society's great common denominator. And in this mind set of healthcare as this great common denominator, people come in to see me from all walks of life walking, rolling, driving in because something has gone wrong and we welcome them as part of our society, part of our common human and part of a universal mortality that we all understand. But then things get interesting because what do you d'oh when you see someone who has been exiled from society, someone who has been ostracised, castaway or rejected and of their own doing? I run into this actually very frequently in my world. As an emergency physician, I have always worked at hospitals that take care of the incarcerated, and when you meet these patients, they're incarcerated for all sorts of reasons. Some are honestly, relatively petty, but some are morally repulsive. They're things like great murder, child trafficking. Terrorism, in my job is to treat them like every other patient. So if they have chest pain, I investigate their heart, heartless as many may think them to be. If they get in a prison fight, I stitch and sew their wounds until the next brawl. And if they're on death row, but in danger of a natural death, I saved their life so that they can sit on death row again. So you see, my job is to take care of them like every other patient, but they're almost by definition, not like every other patients. And the great paradox and taking care of them is sometimes the more you know, the less you wish you knew, because it makes it all the harder to care for and care about them as your patient. A few years back I had one of these such patients and I took care of a Nazi. This man was actually brought into us and room to an area near that was not under my care. But the physician of that area was black and the and the patient refused to be seen by him purely because of the color of his skin. Goes by completely pure chance that day that every physician on shift was ethnic in some way. And so I, the fairly light skinned Asian doctor, was the most ethnically acceptable to a white supremacist. So he became mine. When I first met him, he was instantly vile. The words ***, dirty Jap and Viet Cong came out of his mouth before I could even get into the doorway, and ironically, none of those are accurate racial slurs to me. But racism isn't exactly known for being accurate. So all I could say was, Hi, how can I help you today? And after a lot of grumbling in negotiating with him, I did finally get the story. He was incarcerated for life without parole following the graphic and violent mass murder of an ethnic church decades ago. Families, Children, women were slaughtered for no reason except for his own unbridled racism. During his trial, he had given no excuses, no please for insanity, and he was proud of his work until the very end, perhaps at a chance for martyrdom. He had had several instances where he had tried to commit suicide, but survived them all on his most recent attempt. He had been stealing and swallowing Staples to try to kill himself, but he didn't. Instead, he ended up in front of me when he developed fevers and crippling abdominal pain, all signs that likely one of the staples had perforated his gut, and his belly was quickly filling up with infection and puss and air. Even as I stepped a little bit closer to him, I could tell he was in pain, so I offered this man this criminal, this murderer pain medicine to make his stay more comfortable. And in return I had expletives yelled at me. I moved in a let a little closer to try to examine his belly. And as I've tried to touch him, he screamed out at me, Don't get your dirty yellow hands on me unless it was my job to examine him to take care of him. So I reached in tow, unbutton his prison jumpsuit, and as he ride to get away from me. That's when I saw it. I saw surrounding his belly button. Tattooed was a swastika, and I reached out my hand to push on that symbol of hate to examine his abdomen. And as I did, he screamed out again in pain. And I confirmed what I already knew that this man was going to die if we did not get him medicines and surgery. I was frustrated. He was not working with us, so I got in his face. I said, Sir, we need you to work with us or you will die. He looked right back at me and he spit in my face. I jumped back and the guards standing right next to him looked at me and said, Doc, just let this asshole die. The patient wanted to die. The guard wanted to let him die. But I I was tasked with keeping this man alive, so I tried to negotiate with him. I tried to get him to let us take care of him, and he still banished me out of the room. He shook his chains against the gurney and made noise that I couldn't get close. And as we stepped out to debate what to do with this dying man who wanted nothing to do with us, he got sicker and sicker and sicker, and soon his infection had thrown him into delirium. Sze He was so delirious that he could no longer refuse care from us. So we swooped in. We called for his power of attorney to consent to treat him, and we filled him full of medicines. Then we got him to surgery and within a few hours he was waking up in post op. And this white supremacists had had his life saved by an Asian doctor, a black nurse and a Jewish surgeon. So this story sticks with me because this is the picture of what hate is the law has condemned this man and cast him out society and placed him behind bars. We have more morally have already rejected him and said that he is no longer part of us. And yet when he comes in front of me, I have to find care and compassion and a connection to him as still part of our humanity so that we can save his life. And this is not the only case. I frequently will take care of battered women and I'll go into the room and I'll talk to them and I'll look at the strangulation scars on their neck. I'll look at the bruises all over their body. I'll look at the blood that is staining their pants and then I'll walk out of the room, go into the next and treat their assailant. And as I wash their assailants lacerations and stitch them closed with care, I still think of the woman next door knowing that they were the one that did that to them. I will see drunk drivers who plough their cars into pregnant mothers and their three Children, and as I pump the drunk driver full of blood to try to save his life. I know that next door is the lifeless body of that mother, having just failed the heroics that we tried to give her. This is what I hate. This this is what we see every day. And this is the challenge that we see while we try to take care of everyone with the same universal equality and dignity and respect that we can give all of them. The hate that we see and the emergency apartment is not unique to just healthcare. It's actually the hate that you see everywhere in the world. And so we have to come together to figure out how to battle it. So in the e. R were unique in that we take care of murderers, rapists, Harris of humanity. And yet again, we treat them with dignity, equality and respect. But how? How do you combat hate? How do you stare it in the eyes and hold its gaze? How do you face it in the flesh and not flinch? Compassion. Compassion is knowing that no matter what someone has done in their past, they are still your fellow man. Disease is the great equalizer, and it teaches us an important lesson. It teaches us to recognize and relate to suffering and to strive to relieve it, no matter what has happened in the past, no matter the circumstance, that is always our goal. And that is one of the most beautiful things about medicine. Because in the eyes of medicine, everyone is a life and every life is worth saving. And as a doctor, one of the most important things we tried reserve is our compassion for all of humanity. And the same is true for everyone else. To not let the hate of one ruin your compassion for all, because society will judge and the law will condemn. But your role is to recognize compassion and to reach out a helping hand, regardless regardless of morals. Regardless of the law, regardless of action were all of the same human condition and everyone is a life, and every life is worth saving.