In a world of unprecedented access to information and incredible connectedness, everyone is an expert. Public health has been one of the many victims of this phenomenon, yet it is the single most important strategy for managing the global crisis we are in. The problem with public health is that it is not particularly likable. That has not always been so. Public health used to be really sexy. As the germ ...

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I am a medical doctor—a hospitalist working in an environment with many talented professionals.  We share our knowledge and our approach to medicine with one another in ways that profoundly affect our patients and other personnel in the hospital. At our best, we are a community whose foundation is a willingness and openness to discuss hard facts and make difficult decisions. So why is it that when I was first diagnosed with ...

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I am a critical care physician. I am at the frontlines of this pandemic, in a state of "war" against an unseen enemy that has brought unimaginable destruction in its path. I arrive at work at 7 a.m. for my shift. I am in a state of hypervigilance. It is a chilly fall day, but in my hospital issue scrubs, I feel warm. I am ready for what is to come. I ...

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It started with diarrhea.  Then fever before the patient sought care.  The infiltrates were impressive.  A dry cough with paroxysms that were sometimes uncontrollable.   The rapid test came back negative, as did the send out PCR.  The patient returned from international travel two days before admission.  My index of suspicion was extremely high.  Yes, please keep the patient on enhanced respiratory droplet precautions because her viral load in the nasopharynx ...

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“Do you think we should prepare a will?” I vividly remember saying these words to my wife, also a physician, as we drastically saw COVID cases rise in early March 2020. Just months ago, we heard about the novel coronavirus now known as SARS-CoV-2 but did not grasp the world-changing consequences it would have. Living in Western New York, we were not immediately hit with a surge of cases like ...

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My son is a cub scout, and I am a den leader. Recently our den met outside and practiced putting up tents and learned how to build a fire. With efforts to stay distanced, every scout made his own s’more, and we had such a fun time. One highlight of the evening was letting each scout try to light the fire. We went through a series of mistakes with the matches, ...

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Mirroring the national surge of COVID-19 infections, this past week, I received a barrage of requests from patients seeking pre-travel COVID-19 tests. Despite urgent pleas from the CDC not to travel this holiday season, Americans seem hellbent on celebrating Thanksgiving the way we always do; around a table with family and friends. If COVID-19 is our mortal enemy, we are playing right into her hands. We are a stubborn nation ...

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Patients deserve better. They lack access to and engagement with quality care — especially behavioral health care. Behavioral health goes beyond diagnosable mental health — everyone struggles with days that feel depressing or times that induce anxiety — you don’t need a prescription to know this. As of 2019, one in five Americans lived with a diagnosable behavioral health issue like anxiety or depression. That number skyrockets when you add ...

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I enter the hospital to work again. I must work as I have three small children and a husband presently out of work because of COVID. He is “non-essential.” A violinist is playing at the employee entrance. I know they do this to lift our spirits. But it’s a slow, sad string that reminds me of the titanic. And yes, every day I clock in, I feel as if it’s a ...

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Finally, 2020 has offered some encouraging news, with Pfizer and Moderna publishing recent results that provide initial evidence of their vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19. With the recent promising results from both vaccine trials, it seems like only a matter of time before the FDA approves them. While some hurdles remain before the vaccine's distribution and availability to the general public, this news is a welcomed relief for many. However, ...

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