As I write today, COVID-19 has killed more than 380,000 people in the United States. The country is averaging close to 200,000 cases per day and has a record number of patients hospitalized at this time. This trend shows no signs of abating. Unfortunately, this only means that the number of hospitalized patients and the number of patients dying will continue to trend up in the coming days and weeks. Amidst ...

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Those were the headlines in one of the Sunday papers. He was around fifty years old and with his wife. They stood in front of me in the supermarket. He was in shorts and a light blue t-shirt, wearing beach flip-flops. Standard casual wear for the holiday beach town where I work at Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast of South Africa. I could see him reading the ...

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I was an assistant nurse manager (ANM) in a 24 bed ICU in my younger, energetic years. Before that, I was a manager in a very small emergency department. I must say, I loved it. I loved the thrill and the challenge. I was able to work with the Joint Commission; I ordered EKG monitors and defibrillators, any equipment needed for the emergency department. I worked with the health department ...

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As I watched the vaccine rollout take place over the past month, all I can say is that I am not surprised. I watched hospital executives who never see patients jump the line, doctors having their healthy nannies vaccinated, and health systems trusted with vaccine doses have essentially no plan. It's like we didn't have 9 months to figure this out. All I can say is that this is the ...

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It is stressful enough to live with heart disease. Now, with a global pandemic, access to health care providers has shifted from in-office to telemedicine in many instances. There are challenges for patients with heart disease in this context:

  1. Patients are often older and are not familiar with using technology for videoconferencing (Zoom, Doximity, FaceTime, Skype).
  2. The electrocardiogram and physical exam still remain the primary ways we assess the heart ...

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Developing the COVID-19 vaccine was the first monumental milestone on a long and arduous journey to achieving the entire U.S. population's vaccination. One of the barriers to achieving this task is the absence of a reliable, scalable way to uniquely identify each individual before or after they receive the vaccine. Furthermore, in the absence of this unique identifier, it is extremely difficult to reliably use existing state or regional data repositories ...

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Canadians breathed a huge sigh of relief when the federal government approved the first COVID-19 vaccine and saw the first immunizations take place. The end of the pandemic and the prospect of a return to normal, whatever that means, became a real possibility.

Rolling out a national vaccination program will be no small feat. In addition to the basic logistical challenges of moving volatile product throughout the ...

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With this third surge and our ICUs at zero capacity in Los Angeles, I spent  New Year’s Eve alone at my apartment, recovering from a wards rotation I had completed the night before. No revelry or celebration for me this year.  For months, this virus has been wreaking havoc on our lives and slowly,   then rapidly chipping away at our health care systems. I’ve seen the ...

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December is typically busy in the ICU. Flu and respiratory viral pneumonia cases start trickling into the ICU, interspersed with cardiac arrests, strokes, pulmonary emboli, septic shock, and COPD exacerbations. The ICU census starts creeping up. December 2020 has been unique and challenging. There were seemingly endless days of patients coming to the ICU, only to die. People with COVID-19 and the usual ICU ailments seemed sicker than usual. Patients have ...

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"Doctor, how are you doing?" I’m really so grateful when people take the time to ask this. But when I respond, candidly, that it’s been tough and I’m definitely not doing great, I often hear, “But you haven’t had any patients who have died from COVID, have you? And you got the vaccine, didn’t you?” Fortunately, no (not yet) and yes. My heart goes out to our ICU, inpatient, and ER teams ...

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