Drunk driving remains a difficult problem in our society. As a resident at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, I was always amazed that patients who could not open their eyes when they got to the ER were actually driving vehicles. The factors that contribute to drunken driving are many. Selfish, irresponsible individuals drink too much and place everyone on the roads lives at risk. Increasing alcohol service hours in the name of a “pro-business” agenda puts more drinks in more individuals later in the evening or morning as the case may be.
Another senseless tragedy has taken the life of a great man. Gary Purdue, MD, FACS was co-director of the world renowned Parkland Burn Unit. Dr. Purdue was killed recently by a drunken driver. He was killed at 7:30 on a Sunday morning by someone who has been arrested for intoxication manslaughter. At the time of his death he was on the way to Parkland to staff ICU rounds.
Dr. Purdue was a giant among men. As a surgeon, he taught a generation of young physicians not just how to care for surgical patients, but how to balance a surgical career and family. He taught us how important care of the patient’s family was. Dr. Purdue was a true leader and could motivate a surgical team like no other. It is an extremely sad time for the extended Parkland family. No one will ever forget his monumental contribution to the lives of so many patients, colleagues and young physicians. He was a mentor to me and so many others and will be deeply missed. It is unfortunate that a man who gave so much to so many had his life snuffed out by a drunken driver.
Scott R. McDearmont, M.D
Highland Village, TX