With promising early results of a coronavirus vaccine, there is increased excitement among the American public and policy-makers for a possible resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, despite cheerleading by the scientific community and industry leaders, numerous uncertainties remain. Even with a favorable trial, the earliest "doable" COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious ...

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I have chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and I do not want anyone to infect me. Because of my leukemia, I have low immunoglobulin levels, so I am extremely cautious. If I were to become infected, it would mean that I did something to put myself in danger. We have been telling people for the last three months to socially distance, but people still want to go to bars and restaurants and ...

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With COVID-19 continuing to spread, some might assume that the one place to avoid is a hospital emergency room. After all, the space is filled with health care providers who work in close contact with sick people. This assumption could be harmful to a person in need of emergent medical care, and now, thanks to a study we recently conducted, we also know it’s likely incorrect. Our study found that health care ...

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“Alright, sir, that’s the plan, and we will take good care of you.   What questions do you have for me?” I asked after discussing the patient’s condition and hospital course.  The patient looked satisfied and nodded as if he understood the plan, and asked: “Well, one question, where are you from?”  I immediately let out an internal sigh, knowing where this conversation was going and replied, “Well sir, I was ...

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Barriers. Barriers of yellow tape and plastic mark our makeshift rooms. Red zippers define the “ENTER” and “EXIT.” In the middle is a window of still clearer plastic, partially obscured by taped ECGs. Barriers are put up to keep us safe, but they can do so much more, if we let them. A tap on the plastic window has become the universal command of attention from the nurses, residents, and respiratory ...

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Fear, despair, and exhaustion are emotions collectively expressed by health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Years of health care experience has not equipped us with ways to maintain our mental wellbeing in the face of current pandemic, as evidenced by painful stories of fellow colleagues who have lost their lives. An especially vulnerable group among health care providers are Asians, who account for
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Patricia, she is maybe 40.  She is mentally ill.   Her mother was shot while cooking in her kitchen with a rifle someone was fooling with, and the weapon went off.  Patricia was there to see her mother’s head just about blown off.  She was 16 then. I don’t know why I mention the long-ago shooting, except it never goes far out of my mind when the subject is Patricia. Persons like Patricia ...

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Before COVID-19, I could only ponder the importance of human connection in medicine, of narrowing the physical and emotional space between physician and patient. I wondered where we had wandered as a profession, one struggling to reconnect with the humanistic principles upon which it was founded. Though the incredible value of modern medical advancement is undeniable, progress in the field has been mirrored by a regression in engaged presence. The ...

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As women physicians, especially physician-moms and women physicians of color, we have handled and achieved more than the vast majority of the population, in order to reach our current status of physician. We do because we can. We are Superwomen. Until we’re not. Without thought, we take on others’ responsibilities, because we can. In addition to our own personal responsibility to ourselves and to our loved ones, we take on the responsibilities of our ...

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Work is a necessary part of life. More than simply a means to a paycheck, work gives individuals a sense of dignity and accomplishment. Feeling as though one is participating in meaningful work, whether it is contributing to a massive project or an individual artistic pursuit, allows one to feel as though they have a purpose. While this urge to create or work appears to be a universal human trait, the ...

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