Coronavirus is sweeping across the world, cities are shutting down, hospitals overflowing, the economy crashing, and suddenly your cranial nerve mnemonic feels like the last thing you should be focusing on. But while the world screeches to a halt, medical students are finding themselves in an unexpected limbo, somewhere between the front lines of healthcare and the shuttered campuses of colleges and universities. For medical students, COVID-19 means virtual classrooms, ...

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The front desk staff member who checks you in at your primary care physician’s office is 64 years old with a history of hypertension and coronary artery disease. She unexpectedly became a widower five years ago and is planning to work until the age of 68 to secure adequate retirement savings. She is worried about contracting SARS-CoV-2 from a patient as they check-in despite being vigilant about her personal hygiene ...

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On a sticky summer day four years ago, a class of eager medical students and I harmoniously chimed the Hippocratic oath, binding us to the highest standards and code of medical ethics. As newly accepted and unassuming medical students, how could we understand the sacred nature of this rehearsed and recited ‘covenant?’ While pledging the words embedded in this sacred vow, we were completely unaware that the culmination of our medical education ...

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As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country, states are mandating “stay at home” orders; and with these orders comes further social isolation for domestic violence (DV) survivors and their families. Many recent articles highlight the potential risks for DV victims “stuck at home” with their abusers as their opportunities to seek help and support are dwindling. With only ‘
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Since graduating from medical school in 2002, I have seen a disturbing trend in the lives of doctors. For years, physicians have been squeezed from every direction. Insurance companies and hospitals are constantly fighting to remove our autonomy. The amount of paperwork we are required to produce has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, combined with the use of electronic medical records, our face time with our patients has shrunk ...

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As doctors, we know how this disease progresses. We know the prognosis for patients who need to be on a ventilator. We know that if we have a cardiac arrest during the course of COVID infection, our prognosis gets much grimmer. Faced with this knowledge, how do you decide how far you are willing to go to try and survive? If you had to be intubated on a ventilator, would you ...

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I just lost my uncle to COVID-19. I am writing this to honor him because I cannot leave the country to travel to Canada to see him, I could not visit him in the hospital when he needed us the most, I cannot attend his funeral, and I could not tell him in person how much I love him and appreciate everything he has done for me.

He was ...

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Nurses are responsible for patient care. They are the ones at the bedside 24/7. There is no one who spends more time with individual patients. They are the ones most in danger in the coronavirus pandemic. The news gets grimmer every day about the inevitable surge coming across the country. Forecast of death tolls in the 100,000 to 200,000 range, if not higher, is terrifying.  If the death toll is that ...

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We are in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The numbers are scary and changing by the day and hour. Johns Hopkins University has a real-time dashboard where you can monitor global cases. Cases in China have leveled off, while elsewhere in the world, cases are on the rise. At the time of this writing, there are about a quarter of a million confirmed cases worldwide ...

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I miss going to work feeling excited and inspired and determined and frustrated and exhausted. Being a doctor has been my magnetic north since I was ten, the longest relationship of my life. It’s who I am, what I’m called, how I spend my waking hours, what makes my family most proud of me, and my first love. Now I go to work terrified. I cannot sleep the night before I ...

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With COVID-19 spreading rapidly throughout the nation, we need to work together to save as many lives as possible. This includes asylum seekers who are detained for entry-related offenses.

Asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable groups globally. They are mothers, husbands, and children fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution. With few options, they arrive to the U.S under a human and legal right to seek asylum. As ...

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The world is impacted by coronavirus. The same advancements in civilization that allow us to travel and experience new cultures are the very thing that has blurred our borders and made everyone susceptible to the virus. We are observers and participants at the same time. Schools are closed and shifting to long-distance learning models. Conferences are canceled. Sporting events are shutting the stadiums to fans. We are social beings now being ...

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The world of COVID-19 has two poles: the frontline workers bravely putting themselves at risk for the greater good, exiled to tents in their backyards to protect their families – and the rest of humanity, asked to do its part by staying home. As a medical student, I have felt somewhat untethered – aligned in training and identity with the former, but relegated to the latter out of necessity. I have ...

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It’s maddening to see the differences in health outcomes between the rich and the poor. Even more unsettling is reflecting upon the psychological pain accumulated when living in a fad-obsessed materialistic comparison-creating society, the postponed dreams, and the day to day compromise that those with less have to endure - thoughts that may be far removed from the ruminations of the those who have abundance. I don’t mean to stereotype, and ...

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On March 17th, in a nationwide effort to protect our patients and minimize the overuse of critical primary protective equipment (PPE), the most disposable force in the hospital was removed: our medical students. When I learned of this temporary suspension, I had just finished my first month of inpatient medicine, a defining achievement in the clinical years. My peers and I had endured eight months of clinical rotations, surviving (at times ...

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Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. I say this all the time, with love and compassion, to my patients who are having trouble accepting a diagnosis. Ignoring your Type 2 Diabetes, for example, won’t make it any less real. It will only land you in renal failure and on dialysis, or with a foot amputation, or a heart attack or stroke. Sometimes, we have to set ego aside. ...

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The global pandemic of COVID-19 presents a serious threat of overwhelming our health care system’s capacity. With the lack of a clear, decisive response from the federal government to minimize early virus transmission, it’s becoming rapidly clear that the spike in critical patients flooding the health care system within Italy will likely soon be a problem that the United States will face ...

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I am addicted to Facebook these days. Like everyone else, I am glued to social media, riveted by the drama unfolding around me.  I read from the perspective of a primary care doctor in Seattle, the site of the first case of COVID-19 in the country. My friends and family send me regular thanks for being “on the frontlines.” In truth, I am not on the frontlines. I am not ...

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The unparalleled and pervasive nature of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of us in some way. There is limited, albeit growing, research on the mental health effects of disasters.  A recent review article pointed out the potentially negative consequences of prolonged quarantine, while other research from Wuhan, China, highlighted the impact of COVID-19, particularly amongst healthcare personnel. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals will play a ...

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In college, I learned about the Frank-Starling law of the heart. It is fascinating and demonstrates just one of the bewildering number of human physiologic responses needed to adapt to the demands we place upon our bodies every day. In brief, the Frank-Starling law states that a healthy, normally functioning heart will respond to increases in demand for blood supply and oxygen by increasing the strength of cardiac contractility. This ...

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