I am an ER doctor, and my husband is a pediatrician. This story starts two weeks ago when COVID-19 was first changing all our lives. I am a travel doctor and was returning home. I saw a few patients that I was sure had COVID-19 (later confirmed). Fortunately, I worked in one of the rare ERs that had enough PPE, and I had worn it with each of those patients, ...

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I grew up with one guiding principle.  One religion.  One stone temple that I bowed to faithfully.  I kneeled at the glorious shrine of medicine.  It was the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life. My education was vigorous.  I stayed at home and studied while my high school buddies were goofing around at the mall.  I spent quiet Saturday mornings in the law library while over a ...

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During times of stress, true colors show. The United States is a global leader and literally a dream for millions around the world. During the pandemic pandemonium, we should want to be proud to be American. What does that mean right now, though? After the government’s expansive recent transformations in their role with emergency programs becoming available in light of the CARES Act being approved, I cannot help but think about ...

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Just another day as you work into the depths of the night. Medicine engulfs your life as your focus is centered on your responsibilities for tomorrow. You may or may not have time to sit down and enjoy a meal in silence. You may or may not have the opportunity to say good-bye or hello to a loved one. I hope we all had the foresight to realize what we ...

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I was quite young, but I could sense the unease in my mother when she first sent me off to elementary school amidst an uncertain risk of paralytic polio in the 1950’s era. She maintained her frightened countenance until 1960 when the Sabin vaccine miraculously appeared.  Many years later, my wife, a pediatrician, had intubated a young patient with measles who needed ventilatory support. A few days later, she ...

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I have been reading, thinking and consulting for a while about the occupational health syndrome commonly referred to as burnout. As initially defined back in the 1970s, burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by one's professional life. Extensive research shows that burnout (also called work "strain") is the result of working conditions in which people have too much work, too little control, and too few resources. Despite ...

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The world is paused. But is it? Just because the world is experiencing a pandemic does not mean that the rest of the world’s ailments all of a sudden go away.  Their priority may fall in ranking, but they persist. Health and disease continue. I ate lunch and had severe abdominal pain shortly thereafter.  Perhaps a bout of bad acid reflux, I thought, but the pain persisted into dinner, and when ...

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There have been increasing statements in the media to the effect that, for the COVID-19 pandemic, "the cure is worse than the disease," and that the economic impact of the drastic and widespread quarantines will cause a severe recession that will result in excess deaths. This is very unlikely, as the overall U.S. mortality from unchecked COVID-19 would likely exceed the mortality from an economic recession resulting from the public ...

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COVID-19 has given us many things, some of which we expected. Scarce resources, anxiety about keeping ourselves and our families safe, a sense of unparalleled vulnerability, and a solid helping of helplessness, knowing ultimately we may not be able to function as the doctors we strive to be when it matters most. Personally, COVID-19 has given me an unexpected gift—one I really hadn’t seen coming. Psychologists call it the “dissociative state,” ...

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It has been a month since the first case of SARS-CoV-2 presented in my hospital in South Jersey. The virus has been causing devastation around the globe since December 2019, and before the United States – China, Italy, and Spain suffered the greatest casualties. Like many physicians, I continue to blog in order to spread awareness and also to ensure that we are well-prepared as a society to face an ...

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As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country and leave lasting impacts on our economy, many of us are trying our best to cope with the changes. While this can take a huge toll on our mental health and leave us unsure of our next move, there’s one thing we need to do in the midst of the chaos: Buy long-term disability insurance. Here are six things you ...

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Lisa's heart pauses every time her phone rings. She's unsure if the call she is answering is going to be the final update she will ever receive from the intensive care doctor caring for her love, John. Her 55-year-old husband of 31 years was placed on the ventilator eight days ago for a lung infection due to coronavirus. He resides in the ICU of the local academic hospital, ...

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As a health care provider, husband, father, and friend, I felt compelled to share my perspective with colleagues, loved ones, and the community as we continue to manage COVID-19.  These are unprecedented times we are facing, and there is a myriad of information and guidance we are asked to review and assimilate.  This is not more information or guidance. Instead, it’s a message of hope to reduce the hysteria, fear, ...

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The CDC’s overseas epidemic prevention activities, a veritable gift from America to the world, were effectively eviscerated in early 2018 by Trump and the then Republican-controlled Congress in alignment with the White House’s “America First” ideology. This wholesale slaughter on global public health preparedness later left China unable to take advantage of the CDC’s expertise once the novel coronavirus had been detected, thereby propagating the crisis around the world. What ...

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As researchers and physicians race to investigate innovative therapeutics against the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, unanswered questions remain regarding the ethics and design of clinical trials. Namely, what is the most ethically and scientifically rigorous approach to test unproven novel or repurposed therapeutic agents during a major public health emergency? Canonically, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have represented the gold standard for evidence-based medicine. In this approach, the efficacy of an intervention ...

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I have been a physician for almost twenty years. The AIDS pandemic has been the greatest public health calamity of my career. Global Health Observatory data estimates that approximately 32 million people have died from HIV-related illnesses since the disease was formally identified in the early 80s. AIDS had already gained a firm foothold in the United States before the administration of the time publicly mentioned the name. Now, the ...

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With COVID-19 well underway and impacting everything from the economy to everyday life, here are a few financial planning strategies during a crisis.

1. Understand your budget. During uncertain times, spending usually reverts to a survivalist mentality. This is a good time to prioritize what really matters most. As we’re all staying home during COVID-19, entertainment and food costs have greatly reduced. I know I’m cooking meals and finding ...

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Despite four years of medical school, three years of residency, and over a decade in practice, I was never taught the profound connection between high childhood stress and increased risk of chronic disease. It was at a community event sponsored by our local school district that I first learned it, as I watched the documentary entitled Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. Suddenly, the medical education I ...

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I am a physician. I have worked hard to get where I am in life. I went into medicine for many reasons. The intellectual challenges. Being in a field with lots of human interaction. And of course to help people. I went into emergency medicine because I ultimately couldn’t decide on a single specialty. I liked something about each one. When I rotated through the emergency department early in ...

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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 health care and the shuttered campuses of colleges and universities. For medical students, COVID-19 means virtual ...

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