May 092013

On Wednesday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, I interviewed emergency medicine physician Dr. Doug McGuff about “Avoiding the Emergency Room.” The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Podcast: 8 May 2013

People often think of major medical disasters as unpredictable “black swan” events. In fact, emergency physicians see the same injuries from the same causes time and again, and ordinary people can lessen those risks by their own choices. Dr. McGuff explained the risks, how to mitigate them, and how to best cope if you or a loved one lands in the emergency room.

Dr. Doug McGuff is an emergency medicine doctor practicing in South Carolina. He graduated from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio in 1989, and then trained in Emergency Medicine at the University of Arkansas, where he served as Chief Resident. From there, Dr. McGuff served as Faculty in the Wright State University Emergency Medicine Residency and was a staff Emergency Physician at Wright-Patterson AFB Hospital. Today, Dr. McGuff is a partner with Blue Ridge Emergency Physicians. I interviewed Dr. Doug McGuff about fitness, weightlifting, and high-intensity exercise in December 2012.

Listen or Download:


  • “Black swans” of health and “The Dirty Dozen”
  • #1: Driving a car or motorcycle
  • #2: Riding an ATV
  • #3: Biking or jogging on public roads
  • #4: Flying a plane or helicopter yourself
  • #5: Getting into a fight
  • #6: Lighting a gas grill
  • #7: Diving into water
  • #8: Using ladders and chainsaws
  • #9: Retiring and building your dream house
  • #10: Allowing yourself to be forced into a car or trunk at gunpoint
  • #11: Staying in stressful relationships
  • #12: Winning the lottery
  • Dr. McGuff’s history with risky sports
  • The risks of other sports
  • How to survive the ER


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  • Nancy Lebovitz

    Thanks. One caveat– from what I’ve read, leaving a dysfunctional relationship, especially if it’s violent, can be the most dangerous time. This doesn’t mean people shouldn’t leave, but it does mean they should be more careful than Dr. McGuff implies.

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