44 Years in the ER

Now retired in Granbury, doctor tells ER stories in his book.

Dr. Barna Richards has treated gunshot victims, kids with a bean in their ear, heart patients and even performed his first C-section in the emergency room.

Richards recounts the touching moments, as well as the humorous ones, in his book “44 Years in the ER.”

In one chapter, the doctor recalls a young man who came into the ER with blood all over his shirt.

“I raked around on his chest and couldn’t find a wound anywhere,” he said.

A nurse came into the room and noticed a small wound just below the man’s hairline.

“We later found out that his wife came home and caught him with another woman. She put a .22-caliber pistol to his head,” Richards said.

“The bullet penetrated the skin, traveled around the bone and lodged at the base of his skull. It never pierced his skull.” Shaking his head, the doctor said, “This had to be one of the luckiest men in world!”

Richards, now retired and living in Granbury, joined other local authors for a book signing at the Writers Bloc seminar Saturday morning held at the Waterview clubhouse.

Richards began his medical career in the Metroplex in 1963, before emergency medicine was a specialty.  As an intern at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Richards moonlighted in the ER for minimum wage.

“About a dollar an hour,” he recalled.

Even after he entered practice, he continued working in the ER field to make extra money.

“I could work the ER all I wanted in private hospitals because the more sane, private doctors wanted no part of the emergency room,” Richards grinned and said.

He remembers calling the obstetrician on call one night when a lady came to the ER needing a C-section.

“He didn’t want to come in, and said I could do it with help from the second year guy,” Richards said.

After the incision was made, Richards said he had never seen so much blood.

After suctioning the blood, Richards said everything become clear and the procedure was a success. “The mother and baby did fine,” he added.

During his career, Richards said some of the worst cases involved young people with trauma. “Teenagers sometimes do stupid things,” he said sadly.

He added that shaken babies were also hard to deal with.

“You see all kinds of things in the ER,” Richards said. “But, you know, the ER exists to save lives.”

He has no idea how many thousands of stitches he has given, and estimates he’s seen half a million patients. He’s delivered lots of babies, including one in an elevator.

While in practice, Richards saw about 50 patients every day. “I even worked Saturdays,” he said.

He is both pleased and amazed how new technology has changed the medical field.

“In the early days, everything was a clinical diagnosis,” the doctor said. Patients answered questions so the doctor could diagnose the problem.

“We had X-rays, but that was it,” he smiled and said.

“Now there’s ultrasound, CAT scans, MRIs, flexible endoscopy, and the list goes on,” he noted. “All wonderful advances.”

On a humorous note, Richards recalled a female patient who said she had a bug in her ear.

“Her husband claimed there was absolutely no way that she had a bug in her ear,” Richards said.

When examining her ear, a moth flew out.

“Her skeptical husband exclaimed, ‘Well, I’ll be damned!” Richards said with a chuckle.

dschneider@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066, ext. 255


July Regular Meeting

Next MondayMonday evening, July 23, we will have a speaker at our regular monthly meeting.

Connie Lewis Leonard will present a program “Discovering and Developing Your Voice”.

When considering submissions, editors and agents look for a unique voice in writing, but what is does that mean? How do you discover your unique voice? How do you develop your voice so it pops and stands out, transforming readers into fans?

Bring five pages, double-spaced, of your current work in progress–either printed or on your electronic device.

The meeting will be held in the 2nd floor Activity Room at Waterview Apartments, 100 Watermark Blvd, Granbury 76048. Critique session from 5:00-7:00 p.m., refreshments & a brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m., followed by Connies presentation.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

GWB Summer Writing Workshop


Saturday, July 14th, 2018  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Waterview Clubhouse

100 Watermark Blvd.

Granbury TX 76048

  • The morning’s presentations will include “The Seven Deadly First Page Sins.” Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson will present useful techniques for improving not only your novel’s first page, but every succeeding page as well (because if it’s sinful on Page 1, it’s sinful on Page 100).
  • Later in the morning in, “Bigger, Better Author Events,” Tex will explain how to host a book signing, run a table event, etc.—and do it in a way that actually gets people to show up and buy books.
  • In the afternoon, Charise Olson will speak on, “Building Your Publishing Business.” Whether you are pursuing traditional, self or hybrid publishing, this workshop will provide you with ideas, resources, and encouragement to meet your goals. Bring your questions, a creative spirit, a pen, and a Let’s learn together.
Arianne “Tex” Thompson is a ‘rural fantasy’ author, egregiously enthusiastic speaker, and professional ruckus-raiser. She is the author of  Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris, as well as an instructor for the Writers Path at SMU and ‘chief instigator’ of WORD – Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas. Now she’s blazing a trail through writers conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic, catastrophically cheerful one-woman stampede. Find her online at TheTexFiles.com and WordWriters.org!
Charise Olson writes contemporary women’s fiction under her own name and historical fiction under the pen name Leo Colson. Recently returned to Texas from the wilds of California by way of a missionary stint in Costa Rica, Charise is both traditionally and indie published. She is working on her first novel with a Texas setting. Charise has studied writing and publishing for nearly 20 years and looks forward to sharing her resources with the Granbury Writers’ Bloc attendees. Find her online at ChariseOlson.com


Note: The workshop fee is $25 (GWB members free – membership is only $20 – why not join?)


Writing Mistakes – 1st Person Narrator

Writing Mistakes: Is Your First-Person Narrator
Overpowering Your Story?

Stories told in first-person narrator (“I went…” vs. the
third-person narrator “she went…”) are increasingly
popular, particularly in YA fiction. This perspective can be
tricky to get right. The first-person tends to lapse into selfcentered
telling so the main character overpowers the story
at the expense of other characters and the plot.

Common pitfalls.
Beginning every sentence with “I.”


The first-person tempts writers into focusing on the
narrating character and excludes subjective nouns. The
result is a boring string of sentences all featuring the same
subject. Mix and match subjects to put life into your syntax.

Wrong: I fled down the stairs, heart pounding. I could hear
the giant clomping after me. Ahead, I could see the cellar
door offering me the chance to escape and hide. I reached
the door, wrenched it open, and dove inside.

Right: My heart pounded as I fled down the stairs. Behind
me, the giant clomped after me. Five feet ahead, the cellar
door offered an escape. I reached the door, wrenched it
open, and dove inside.

Telling thoughts instead of showing.

In first-person, everything you write is straight out of the
main character’s brain. No need to clarify the character’s
thoughts using italics or qualifying them with an “I
thought” tag.

Wrong: I couldn’t believe this was happening. Giants don’t
really exist, do they? I thought to myself. Maybe I’m dreaming.

Right: This couldn’t be happening. Giants didn’t really
exist, did they? Maybe I was dreaming.

Inserting lengthy narrative at the expense of action and dialogue.

First-person tempts the writer to share everything the
character is thinking. Beware of lengthy narrative rabbit
trails. Allow action and dialogue to carry the story.

Wrong: “What’s up with you lately?” Kirsten asked. I
heaved a sigh. Kirsten had no idea how insane my life had
become. She had no idea that giants—huge and ugly and
stinky—were after me… [Plus long description of giants,
narrator’s life, history of friendship etc.]

Right: “What’s up with you lately?” Kirsten asked. I
heaved a sigh. “You have no idea how insane my life has
become.” I threw my backpack into my locker, shot a
glance up and down the hallway, then whispered in her ear,
“Giants! Big ones!”

Include witty, conflict-ridden dialogue to convey the
important facts about giants, narrator’s life, history of
friendship, etc.

May Meetings

The next Granbury Writers’ Bloc meetings:

  • Critique Only
  • 6:00 p.m. May 14, 2018

Regular Meeting

  • The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor

  • 5:00 p.m. Monday May 21st (3rd Monday)

  • Speakers – Beverly and Holli:  Science Fiction

  • 101 Watermark Blvd.

  • South Side of Pearl Street

  • Near the Hilton Garden Inn

Writers’ workshop and writing group