"I’m exhausted. As the pandemic rages on, the mental toll of dealing with COVID-19 has started to wear on me. As a practicing hospitalist in the Midwest impacted by one of the many hotspots caused by the meatpacking industry, I have spent a fair bit of time with this virus on the ...

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“Do you think we should prepare a will?” I vividly remember saying these words to my wife, also a physician, as we drastically saw COVID cases rise in early March 2020. Just months ago, we heard about the novel coronavirus now known as SARS-CoV-2 but did not grasp the world-changing consequences it would have. Living in Western New York, we were not immediately hit with a surge of cases like ...

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The first thing my husband said when I told him about MBA school was, “the NBA has a school?”  It didn’t help that we first had our conversation about MBA school during the NBA playoffs but really – NBA school?  I quickly overcame this moronic start to the conversation by saying “M” as in Michael Jordan – MBA school.  He got it from there and every day since. And every ...

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, especially those of us in health care.  Our way of practicing medicine has been changed; some would say forever. We find ourselves affected not only clinically but also emotionally.  As a result, clinicians are experiencing more stress and anxiety than ever before. These feelings are not new but have been heightened in the face of the pandemic. Physicians are perceived as self-reliant, emotionally stoic, and ...

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has proven of value in the COVID-19 pandemic and shows promise for mitigating future health care crises. During the pandemic’s first wave in New York, for example, Mount Sinai Health System used an algorithm to help identify patients ready for discharge. Such systems can help overburdened hospitals manage personnel and the flow of supplies in a medical crisis so they can continue to ...

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"Now, in her afterlife, she occasionally accompanied Maggie on excursions into my head, usually at night. Make that a double vodka. I thought I had finally learned in sobriety how to put them in the past, encased in a box, and keep them there. Still, sometimes they found a way out to ...

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Over and over again, I find myself repeating the same words to myself as I watch the sunset over the Sacramento River on my dreary commute back from my job in clinical research: hope over fear. It was with hope that 2020 began—a catalyst year in which we had the wind at our backs and the promise of a better future just over the horizon. 2020 promised the inevitability of change, ...

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My son is a cub scout, and I am a den leader. Recently our den met outside and practiced putting up tents and learned how to build a fire. With efforts to stay distanced, every scout made his own s’more, and we had such a fun time. One highlight of the evening was letting each scout try to light the fire. We went through a series of mistakes with the matches, ...

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Mirroring the national surge of COVID-19 infections, this past week, I received a barrage of requests from patients seeking pre-travel COVID-19 tests. Despite urgent pleas from the CDC not to travel this holiday season, Americans seem hellbent on celebrating Thanksgiving the way we always do; around a table with family and friends. If COVID-19 is our mortal enemy, we are playing right into her hands. We are a stubborn nation ...

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As we’ve listened to providers describe their reactions to this pandemic, telehealth continues to be a pervasive theme at the foundation of their response. They refer to this as a “watershed” event that will permanently change healthcare delivery. In that context, many expressed concern that the current relaxation of regulations, and as importantly, the parity payments for telehealth services will be retracted as the crisis eases. While most agree that ...

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"You have made difficult choices about your family’s health and safety already. Pediatricians help parents make these kinds of decisions all the time. The shared- decision model for practicing medicine encourages doctors like me to help provide information and counseling to empower you to make decisions. You’ve already made decisions essential to ...

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Our country seems to be spiraling out of control. The unending political discord post-election continues to divide our citizenry. The Presidential election is over, accept the results, and move on. There are much more serious issues to have our full attention and among them is the war against COVID-19. This deadly contagion has claimed over a quarter of a million lives in the United States and shows no signs of ...

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COVID-19 has revealed once again how short our nation is of doctors. Early in the pandemic, several governors called on retired physicians to return to the workforce. Medical schools allowed students to graduate ahead of schedule and begin working and training in hospitals. States loosened licensing restrictions to allow physicians from other locales to practice within their borders. These temporary measures helped battle the pandemic in the short term. But they're not ...

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Recently I had the opportunity to work as a locums tenens physician in a small town in Maine, and it helped me gain a new perspective on community, health care, and living.  While providing a service to the area, I received valuable lessons in return.  The folks in Maine can teach the rest of the country a few lessons also.   While Maine has the highest median age ...

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I asked nurses, technicians and secretaries where it was: the iPad for patients who wanted to speak to their loved ones. COVID didn’t allow visitors. A few days into our peak, it was likely this patient had COVID. They were gasping for air, but could still speak, somewhat. I was hoping to save them an intubation. I told them I may need to put them on a ventilator but assured ...

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"These strategies on how the rich get richer do not only apply to the wealthy. These same opportunities and strategies are open to us as well. If we want to accumulate wealth, or simply keep more of the money we currently have without paying a large portion in taxes, then we should ...

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Patients deserve better. They lack access to and engagement with quality care — especially behavioral health care. Behavioral health goes beyond diagnosable mental health — everyone struggles with days that feel depressing or times that induce anxiety — you don’t need a prescription to know this. As of 2019, one in five Americans lived with a diagnosable behavioral health issue like anxiety or depression. That number skyrockets when you add ...

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I enter the hospital to work again. I must work as I have three small children and a husband presently out of work because of COVID. He is “non-essential.” A violinist is playing at the employee entrance. I know they do this to lift our spirits. But it’s a slow, sad string that reminds me of the titanic. And yes, every day I clock in, I feel as if it’s a ...

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A quick preview of any journal will note a plethora of physician jobs spanning the country. Many of these jobs offer a partnership track and promote a democratic philosophy. As someone who has worked on both sides of the equation, I wanted to share a few thoughts. You may not agree with all, but here they are, nonetheless. First, consider your long-range plan. While it’s exciting to contemplate a first job while ...

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I was sitting in my kitchen this morning drinking coffee, as is my usual routine on a Saturday. On this particular morning, I was looking at the empty chairs around my dining room table. These antique dark pine Windsor chairs are well-loved and aged with a patina that includes many layers of memories from family gatherings in their previous life. Acquired in a recent move, this was their first holiday season ...

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