Consents have become a prominent part of health care. We sign consents for visits, procedures, medication, privacy, release of information, care of minors … the list goes on and on. We must acknowledge and respect the patient’s autonomy in their care. This is never more apparent or more important than in end of life care. Physicians encourage everyone to have an end of life plan, a living will. It is ...

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“You are what you eat.”

Jean Anthelme Brillant-Savarin, a French lawyer, epicurean, and father of the low carbohydrate diet, penned these words in the 18th century. As we struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, we search for personal ways to influence our health and our immune system to combat this pestilence. Food choices are an overlooked variable that may alter our fate.

Our human engagement with infections is played out ...

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With any new illness comes metaphor. It is humanity’s attempt to incorporate the mystery of disease into our own stories. We like to personify illness, give it human characteristics as a way of visualizing it. We name its actions to help lessen its unpredictability. Tuberculosis consumed. Syphilis punished. AIDS invaded. Cancer grows. COVID-19 quarantines separate and spread fear. How long does it take for a disease or illness to become a ...

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Imagine there are two individuals who have been admitted to a hospital due to COVID-19, and both desperately need ventilators. One is a 60-year-old with a heart condition, and another is a 63-year-old with chronic kidney disease. Because of resource constraints, you have to decide which patient will be able to receive a ventilator. Both patients’ families are looking to you to help their loved one through this illness. With ...

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COVID has focused attention on the frontlines. However, this focus ignores those with chronic health needs and disabilities. People with these conditions are left unable to continue their care or to seek care for new exacerbations. People are avoiding the ER and dying at home. Needed surgeries are postponed leaving patients with continuing pain and disability. And for many, a fear exists of not only acquiring COVID-19 but of ...

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When I found out that health systems across the country contract with prisons for hospital laundry and other services, the same systems that train medical students like myself, someone dear to me was in prison. Each time I walk into a patient’s room and see fresh linens, when I wear fresh scrubs, I am still flooded with my friend’s calls and letters. Imagery of being surrounded by only concrete. Without ...

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Cancer patients have seen the world collapsing before their eyes, and then comes a pandemic. The American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates that this year there will be five thousand new cases of cancer per day in the United States, and COVID-19 adds another layer of worry for people with illnesses such as cancer and ALS. The novel coronavirus will probably be with us for years, having lacerated communities and destroyed ...

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Recently, the White House unveiled its ambitious plan to develop a coronavirus vaccine before year’s end. While many immediately questioned the feasibility of this timeline, we worry that not enough attention has gone to a different but equally important concern:

Once we have a vaccine that works, who around the world will actually get to use it?

In our roles treating patients ...

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An excerpt from It’s All In The Delivery: Improving Healthcare Starting With A Single Conversation. On that night when the desperate call came to pick up the critically ill baby with MAS, I felt very fortunate that Dr. Cunningham was my supervisor. When I arrived at the hospital ...

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The recent pandemic has confined people all over the world to the indoors to try to keep the virus from spreading. Older adults have been the most commonly affected age group with the virus, but more recently, a strange presentation of COVID-19 has been seen in children. New York City first reported 15 similar cases that occurred between April 16 and May 4 for the first time in the United States. ...

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