“Rick and Jerry”: a salute

June 8, 2015, 6:26 pm

At the Emergency Physicians Monthly website, Mel Herbert posted a lovely tribute to Rick Bukata and Jerry Hoffman as they pass off the lead anchoring duties on Emergency Medicine Abstracts to a new generation of medical educators.

I think Mel’s piece captures the impact and influence of the Abstracts perfectly. When I started listening to the monthly tapes in the mid-1980s, I found them to be a revelation. Certainly, a critical approach to analyzing medical literature was not taught at all in medical school, although it is certainly one of the most important skills a physician can have. Other packages that tried to do the same thing were faceless and humorless and impossible to listen to for any length of time.

Perhaps most of all, Rick and Jerry’s Siskel-Ebert approach to their reviews reminded me that medicine could be fun. That’s something very easy to lose site of during long years of training.

Inspired by the Abstracts, in 1992 I decided to start The Poison Review, and that time as a hard copy newsletter and tape. After several issues were published,  I sent some samples to Jerry, not really expecting to hear back. So I was astonished when one Friday afternoon I got a call and the very familiar voice on the other end said that he had received the issues and found them thoughtful and well done. That call was one of the most influential events in my career. I am sure that TPR is just one of dozens of emergency medicine blogs and podcasts that — as Mel Herbert suggested — would not exist had it not been for the Abstracts.

The new commentators — including Michelle Lin, Billy Mallon, Rob Rogers, and Anand Swaminathan — are all brilliant clinicians and educators. Rick and Jerry, along with Kenneth Milne (@TheSGEM), will continue to be present and moderate the sessions. I look forward to hearing their discussions in the coming months and years.

One Comment:

  1. Rick BUkata Says:


    Imitation is the highest form of flattery and I, and I’m sure Jerry, sincerely appreciate the kind words. There are some inevitabilities in life that cannot be denied — so, given we love doing EMA we wanted it to continue in a new iteration but still have some input — so “new EMA” – younger clinicians, different points of view, different experiences. Plus we’ll probably mix it up with occasional guests.

    So to you, Leon, thanks for your loyalty and friendship.