The following excerpt is from an op-ed that first appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on September 19, 2023.

Shortly before Thanksgiving 2022, my brother, Elliott, was driving on a two-lane highway in New York when another car hit him head-on.

The other vehicle’s driver was critically injured, its two passengers dead. Paramedics rushed Elliott — disoriented, in pain, unable to contact anyone, and hundreds of miles from home — to the nearest Level I trauma center.

At the time of the accident, he had been on his way to visit friends. When Elliott did not arrive and could not be reached, those friends called local emergency departments until they found him.

They found my email address on the University of Pennsylvania’s website and sent word of the accident. They couldn’t provide me with any details because the hospital had only confirmed to his friends that Elliott was there — legally, the hospital wasn’t able to share more.

I study patient-doctor communication at Penn. The aftermath of Elliott’s accident underscored in personal ways what I know professionally: Communication is part of healing. There are lessons you can draw from our experience.

Read the entire op-ed here.


Emily Largent

Emily Largent, PhD, RN

Emanuel and Robert Hart Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine; Lecturer, Carey Law School

Elliot Largent

Senior Quantitative Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

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