Dr. Peggy Goodman, Donna Zekonis
Dr. Peggy Goodman: I'm Dr. Peggy Goodman. I'm an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine in Greenville, North Carolina.
Emergency medicine is a quick-thinking specialty, a quick-acting specialty. When a patient comes in, you need to determine if they have something that needs to be addressed within the first five minutes, which might otherwise permanently affect their life, their ability to live, any disability. What I do affects, perhaps, whether they'll get out of there alive, whether they'll leave there permanently disabled or recover fully. We constantly, from minute to minute, need to re-prioritize every single patient. What is going on? Do they have something that can kill them within the next 10 or 15 minutes?
I am the Director of Violence Prevention Resources for my department of emergency medicine. I work with the State Department of Health and Human Services, the State Medical Society. I am the only physician serving on the State Domestic Violence Commission. With domestic violence, actually, many of the patients do not have physical injuries when they come in. Approximately 80 percent, actually, are seen in the emergency department for other things-- depression, other problems, chronic pain, headaches, signs of stress.
Donna Zekonis, Registered Nurse: Dr. Goodman probably is the one person I know that can rise above the emotion and that's not easy to do. And it's very terrible when you have a victim of sexual assault. She isn't judgmental. She'll come in and, like I said, she can rise above the emotion and say, you know, "It's important that I know if someone's hurting you."
Dr. Peggy Goodman: As the only physician on the Domestic Violence Commission, certainly I lend a different perspective to law enforcement. So while they're talking, in many cases, about providing safety for the victim and intervention and possibly punishment for the abuser, I'm talking about the health of the victim. --can affect the patients, particularly when they've lost so much control in the situation like this. There is a lot of emphasis now on public health in this country and areas are looking at homeland security in areas of smallpox, anthrax, terrorism. But in many ways, homeland security is knowing that when you go home at night, you're not going to be beaten.
Being a Local Legend is a great honor. In some ways, I'm a little disappointed that I'm receiving recognition for this work, because that means that what I do is perceived as being special as opposed to being a regular part of medical practice, taking care of patients and addressing domestic violence. I think everybody should do it and that it shouldn't necessarily require special recognition.