How many frequent flier miles have you racked up this year? It's a safe bet Rich Levitan has at least doubled you. Between clinical shifts in Colorado, airway cadaver courses in Baltimore, seminars in Wyoming, and lectures in Australia – not to mention home base in New Hampshire – he spends a great deal of time on airplanes.
And this year, much of that time in the air was dedicated to writing a new edition of his popular intubation pocket guide, debuting this fall. We caught up with Dr. Levitan to find out what's on his mind when he's not helping set global policy on airway management.
EMR: Tell us a crazy medicine story.
RL: The other day I was taking care of a patient who had a wire bristle embedded in his airway from a grill brush. He'd been cleaning his grill and there was a wire about 1 inch long stuck in the back of his tonsil. I could see it but was having a hard time getting it out. I had to go take care of an acute MI, and when I got back he had picked up the forceps and taken care of it himself. I was pretty impressed.
EMR: If you had time to binge-watch a Netflix series, what would it be and why?
RL: I kind of got serious on Breaking Bad – it was incredible.
EMR: What's the best life advice you've ever gotten (or given)?
RL: I like this line from Breaker Morant, the movie: “Live each day as though it were your last, for one day you are sure to be correct.”
EMR: Last song that stuck in your head?
RL: Grateful Dead – “Touch of Grey”
EMR: Winter, spring, summer, or fall – which is your favorite, and why?
RL: I live in northern New England now, so I'm gonna go with fall.