Protect and serve. Do no harm. These are covenants our public servants promise to us. Police officers and clinicians are both entrusted with attending to our health and safety. Both are failing.

We must be able to trust clinicians and police with the intricate details of our living and dying. When they deliberately lapse in integrity, or are completely negligent of due diligence, they need to either be ...

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As a resident in the 1970s, I used to receive the AMA weekly newsletter.  A squib of a few paragraphs noted that the Alabama Medical Board had issued a reprimand to a surgeon for suturing the hand of a young African-American man, then removing the sutures when the fellow did not have $25 on him to cover the fee. The surgeon contested, indicating that a patient should have the expectation ...

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COVID-19 has made the inadequacy of our public health and hospital-based health care system to identify, mitigate, and resolve pandemic disaster self-evident. Gaps in hospital-based preparedness capacity are abundant, including the inadequacy of stockpiles for personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, medications, lack of surge inpatient and ICU capacity, and an inability to rapidly scale testing or interventions to meet pandemic demands. The initial outcry placed blame on Federal and State governments, ...

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When we hear or chant, "Black Lives Matter," what all does this refer to? Is it the gruesome police brutality in the death of George Floyd? Or the murder of Ahmaud Arbery? Absolutely. But what else should it refer to? We know that black lives aren't equal in the face of COVID-19. As physicians, have we considered all the ways that black lives may matter less in health care despite ...

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When it comes to health care, this election cycle has been different than previous ones. Either it is Medicare for all or public option in the ACA, democratic candidates have shown support for some version of universal health care. As the health care costs, including prescription drug prices, keep rising, many Americans have started to advocate for universal health care coverage. At the same time, others still believe ...

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"What do we owe to each other?" If you watch television, you may recognize that as a quote from the show The Good Place; if you’re a philosophy buff, you may recognize the work of T. M. Scanlon on contractualism. Either way, it’s a good question. It comes up frequently, in one form or another, when we think about what it means to have a truly just society. June is Pride month. ...

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Black health care professionals are in mourning. Over the last three months, we have watched COVID-19 ravage our communities and claim the lives of our patients, friends, and family — in the process, the disease has been recognized as anything but the “great equalizer,” highlighting the racial and socioeconomic inequities that have long lead to worse health outcomes amongst black populations. Moreover, we have seen an uptick ...

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When we think of the legacy of racism in the U.S., hospitals aren't one of the first places we imagine – but they should be. "It's never going to change." "Sometimes it's too heavy to bear." '"I'm so angry ­– I'm just tired of holding it all in." These statements reflect the pain of our patients of color. They may resonate with all of us in our country's current climate, as the ...

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When former U.S. President Richard Nixon officially declared his crusade against drugs, notoriously referred to as his so-called “War on Drugs,” on June 17, 1971, America’s police-prison-profit industrial complex could at best prognosticate and at worst balefully pray for the downstream disproportionate impact criminalization of narcotics would have on certain communities from then until now. If there is one thing that has been made unassailably clear to us in the decades ...

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The United States has been the most impacted country in the current COVID-19 crisis. Is COVID, the only common denominator? What else is common to the over 100,000 deaths in the United States, who is collecting and analyzing the death data comprehensively apart from the snapshot of admission and discharge diagnosis from death certificates? Out of the deaths so far, how many were children, healthy adults, pregnant women, ...

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