A COVID-19 positive resident physician in Detroit died recently, and reportedly two more who treated patients with the virus in New York City have died this week as well; although I can't say for certain, because their names have not been released and their stories exist only in hushed whispers of the resident community. And there's nothing heroic about it. There's nothing heroic about the preventable deaths of good and generous ...

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In residency programs across the country, there is ongoing disappointment and a profound sense of disruption. Match Day was canceled for soon-to-be interns. Medical school and residency graduations will be strange. Finding a place to live and moving in a time of quarantine will be difficult. The only thing certain about the transition to or from residency is uncertainty. “How do I make sense of this?” is a question that ...

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It has been fascinating to see how our language has become saturated with new vocabulary in the past few weeks, as cases of COVID-19 have exponentially increased worldwide. Terms usually reserved for public health curriculums - flatten the curve, self-isolation, self-quarantine, pandemic – are now part of our daily conversations, and are even available as GIFs on Instagram stories. The language we use on a daily basis ultimately shapes the ...

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At the end of a long shift in the hospital last week, I (Michael) stopped by the room of a patient before he left to go home with hospice. It hadn’t been long since I gave him the news that his cancer had spread and was now incurable. I asked him what was on his mind. Looking down at his papery ...

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As health care providers, we are facing unprecedented challenges right now.  Thank you to every one of my medical colleagues for your valuable contributions at this moment. Wellness and self-care have never been more important than they are at this moment. We must care for patients to the best of our abilities, but we must also care for ourselves.  If you sacrifice your own physical and emotional health, who will be ...

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Chris was my anatomy partner during medical school. We had the right side of the cadaver across from Felipe and Andrew. Felipe was the son of a famous chemist and would disappear after class. He is now an internist. Andrew was handsome and dated a beautiful classmate. He stayed at one of the teaching hospitals. Anatomy was hard. It was our introduction to medicine. When I first saw our cadaver when ...

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About a year ago, I had an interesting encounter on my way back home to Texas after visiting my parents. I was casually chatting with an older female acquaintance as I got situated on the plane. She asked me what kind of medicine I practice. This woman is in medicine, not a physician, but knowledgeable about the varying specialties. I told her that I was an internist working as a ...

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I’m a cardiology fellow on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, I know suffering. In 2017, I lost my father to rapidly progressive dementia. I was postpartum at the time, and he did not even know I was ever pregnant. My stepfather -- my father since I was eight years old -- the only man who appreciated me and celebrated all my uniqueness and success, passed away ...

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We are still in the office.  I go daily, either dressed in scrubs or shirt and tie, in an effort to maintain some sense of normalcy.  I can feel the anguish of staff who themselves are deemed “essential.”  Their apprehension about the possibilities of themselves being infected adds a starchy thickener to the office atmosphere as they answer phone calls, receive medical records via fax, and schedule appointments while postponing ...

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Washington State has benefited from an early response to COVID-19; organized and isolated, the curve seems to have flattened. Within our hospitals, we continue to prepare for the worst. This includes addressing the reality of limited resources and an insurmountable number of patients, a "crisis" standard-of-care. For many health care workers, fatigue and fear of exposure pale compared to the emotional toll of countless COVID-19 tragedies. At the forefront of our ...

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There was a very interesting op-ed in the New York Times recently.  It describes using an aeromedical evacuation system to transfer coronavirus patients to other cities around the United States. There are hospitals sitting idle right now. There is talk of layoffs in some places. Elective surgeries and procedures have been canceled. People are not clogging up ERs with small complaints like they usually do.  So staffs ...

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On March 19th, the federal government loosened regulations around methadone and buprenorphine, two medications used to treat opioid addiction. The change was triggered by the novel coronavirus and concerns that current practices would either contribute to its spread or restrict critical opioid addiction treatment. For all the havoc the coronavirus is undoubtedly causing, it is also compelling us to examine our approach to these medications with a ...

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It’s the high five I’m unable to give to that five-year-old patient after I check his red throat. It’s the song I can’t sing while I look into a toddler’s ears as they cling to their momma’s neck. It’s the hug I can’t give the mom who just lost her father to cancer two weeks ago. These are the things I’ve missed over the last few weeks. This is the ...

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The current news cycles concerning COVID-19 today are frightening. The media has portrayed COVID-19 as an amazingly deadly virus. And to some people, that is very true. But not to about 98% of those who are COVID-19 positive. The death rates still hover around 2%, and that is only out of the known – testing positive – cases.  But who is the most vulnerable? If you read the news, this ...

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As a radiologist, it should come as no surprise that I am not a “touchy” person. Not only do I remember the first MeToo movement that coincided with the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings, but I just assume that people don’t want to be touched unless they initiate it. A resident told me that my face turned pale two months ago when a medical student I was quizzing in ...

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I’m a primary care physician at the VA, and I have about 1,000 patients. Maybe I was in denial, or just too much of an optimist, but it took me awhile to realize that COVID-19 was going to hit the United States so hard. I came to this realization about a month ago, when I started comparing the trajectories of the curves in Italy vs. the United States, and it ...

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As I sit here writing this, one of my friends and colleagues is on a ventilator. He’s fighting for his life. He’s a very healthy guy who runs marathons; we even did some race training together a couple of years back. And now, he’s in critical condition and may not survive. He’s one of the numerous physicians and other healthcare workers to be stricken with COVID-19. I do not know ...

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It seems that many physicians finally realize that they are expendable. The fact that U.S. health care institutions view doctors (and every other employee) as disposable cogs in a machine is not a new phenomenon. I learned this lesson over a year ago as a vulnerable type of provider – a resident physician. From someone who has already been ...

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Our 23 bed ICU has been converted to COVID-19 patients. All of them. I want to tell myself this is science fiction, but it’s not. It’s real. And we are scared. As I enter the unit to start my night shift, we have a huddle of the off-going and oncoming nurses. We are committed to fighting this invisible monster. After a brief update of all of our patients, we bow our heads and say ...

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Tonight will be my first night shift in the medical ICU (MICU) since COVID began ravaging New York City. I was on the hospital floors as an internal medicine resident during the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, my clinic block was canceled, and I was placed on sick call, though I didn't get called into any additional shifts. I felt uneasy in the days leading ...

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