“I stayed up all night, and for what, $10 a consult?” A clearly exhausted and exasperated colleague and friend said to me one morning after his very busy call shift. As a chief resident, one of my roles is to manage the call duty schedule. As such, I frequently hear about how residents feel about call. Interestingly, many comments have to do with the economics of call: “It’s just not worth ...

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The United States has some of the most advanced medical technology in the world, yet COVID-19 has exposed significant deficiencies in our health care system. As nothing will be the same after coronavirus, our health care system must also change as we move forward.  Now is the time to work towards improving the current system and begin to develop an infrastructure that delivers medical ...

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Those who knew George remembered him as "a big man with a heart to match" and a "good friend," "good person," and someone who "took care of people." Tragically, George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020. You may have already seen the heartstrings-shredding video showing his excruciatingly slow and torturously savage homicide. As George struggled in his final moments to simply breathe while begging for his life, and onlookers recording the ...

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As I come to the end of my internal medicine residency, I cannot help but experience a flurry of emotions. I am sure many of you, like myself, are feeling a whole host of sensations: relief at the fact that you have now completed over 23 years of education/training; exuberant joy when you click on your schedule and realize that you have no more 28-hour calls; and sadness when you ...

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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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We have all heard that 90 percent of the time, a patient’s history provides the diagnosis before we even perform a physical exam or order any tests. At the same time, much of our reimbursement used to hinge on how many body systems we examined. Like so many other things in the new reality we find ourselves in, what constitutes a proper medical visit has suddenly changed and will probably continue ...

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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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Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S., with a prevalence of 15.2 percent. The condition is manageable when treatment is appropriately prescribed, adjusted, and accessed by the patient. However, uncontrolled asthma can impair various facets of life and may even be fatal. This dichotomy is noteworthy, especially when considering how strongly asthma outcomes correlate with other elements of an individual's social ...

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Recently, I ran across a post on social media with multiple bullet points of theories targeted at the current COVID-19 pandemic. Having encountered handfuls of previous posts running along the lines of these factually incorrect claims, I decided it was time to politely challenge the post by asking for the sources of these claims. Within minutes, I was attacked by multiple users with claims of being a “sheep,” ignorantly believing ...

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I often turn to my children when facing life’s vexing moments. So I did just that recently. “Kiddos, what do you think coronavirus is here to teach us?" My 11 year old spoke first, “To be thankful for our health.” Gratitude, huh? I step back from this moment and wonder if she is on to something. Working as a physician and educator, and ...

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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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One of the most memorable milestones in my life was my journey to becoming a doctor. A path that I look upon so fondly as it marks a time that molded much of who I am today. Charles Dickens describes my experience perfectly, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …” Like many of ...

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Many people looking in on the world of research have perceptions of brilliant minds at work, rapidly putting forth groundbreaking ideas.  While they’re not entirely wrong, I discovered that this arena of fascinating new discoveries is not always so rapid and not glamorous at all. As a clinical trials research associate, I learned that research is hard. I found that testing and implementing theories and postulations takes time and dedication.  I ...

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1. Anesthesiologists are your protector

Think about this: An anesthesiologist's job is to protect you from the harm your surgeon is causing.  Seriously. A surgeon's job, at its very essence, is to damage your body. Now undeniably, it is with the intention of causing greater good and/or fixing something that is already broken.  But in order for a surgeon to help a patient, they take a knife, saw, drill, ...

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I learned to call Atlanta home after college. It was at Grady Memorial Hospital that I first shadowed doctors, and decided that I would go to medical school. Two and a half years into being an ATLien, I cried inconsolably because it was time to leave. I have since continued to yearn for the day I will migrate back South. As I contemplate where I will apply to residency this ...

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The only drawback to reading The Plague by Albert Camus for the first time while experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic is that I will never get the experience of reading it from a less personal perspective. As the plague in the novel begins to unfold slowly through rat deaths and lockdowns, I recognized my own incredulity in the townspeople as they struggle to accept their new normal. Camus names their reluctance ...

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As a fourth-year anesthesiology resident, I opened up my email eagerly, awaiting the results of the pain fellowship match. It was official; I was heading to a major academic program in New York City. First came excitement and relief immediately followed by a rush of all-encompassing fear. I had grown up in Arizona my entire life, and the idea of living and training in New York City was daunting, to ...

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Telemedicine blossomed into an essential tool in health care overnight due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. It is a long lost innovation at the forefront of our battle. Telemedicine is especially valuable for our frail older adult patients. At the initial phase of the pandemic, a quick decision was made by fellowship program leaders to transition to telemedicine in an attempt to decrease the number of cases, help protect ...

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When I made the choice to pursue a medical school education three years ago, I never imagined preparing to matriculate during a pandemic. After accepting a position at the Icahn School of Medicine in March, processing what came next became muddled in between figuring out how to transition to living and working out of a small one-bedroom apartment in New York City due to COVID-19. Can my partner and I ...

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