I am exhausted. I’m a physician in the suburbs of Houston. The latest COVID-19 infection rates in the Houston area show a steep increase in rates since reopening in May. And it’s still rising. As an infectious diseases physician in the middle of this whole COVID-19 pandemic, and as a mom of 2, here’s why I’m tired: 1. Working almost every day (weekends included) since this March at multiple hospitals and in ...

Read more...

I have been drinking since I was 13 years old. I honestly didn’t realize that I had a problem until the last couple of years. The problem wasn’t so much that I drank in excess, or got in trouble at work, with the law, or with my family. The problem was that I couldn’t handle the full breadth of my emotions. Too much sadness, or even too much elation, was ...

Read more...

To the people who say that wearing a mask perpetuates the conspiracy: Tell that to the health care workers who have put their lives at risk to face firsthand an unknown disease. Tell that to the families of frontline workers who have contracted and succumbed to COVID-19 while their loved ones save everyone else. To the people who say that COVID-19 does not exist; that COVID-19 is just another cold or flu: Tell ...

Read more...

Black bodies are dying, and medical schools are partially to blame.  Never did I imagine that I would come to the realization that as a medical student; I was being trained and conditioned to identify and treat conditions predominately in white people.  It is time for medical institutions to address how medical school curriculums, which use whiteness as a scale to define normal, contributes to increased rates of mortality and ...

Read more...

As a newly minted neonatal-cardiac intensivist, I was all ready to take on the world. I mean, caring for the babies with congenital heart disease (CHD), congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) and all other congenital anomalies and premature birth. I was excited and ready for service. It was my 27th year of "being a student." I had gone through the grind of medical school, residency training, fellowship training, and an additional ...

Read more...

Doctors across America are getting strikingly similar messages from their hospital administrators—that we are highly valued, but that they will reduce our salaries due to the pandemic. Whether you are working on the frontline and risking your life (and your family’s health) with limited PPE available (and indeed locked up and rationed), or whether you are soldiering on in the outpatient clinics. Your salary is going down, whether you signed ...

Read more...

I am a newly minted surgical specialist, less than one year into practice. Residency was no walk in the park, but the clinical experience, along with hours of studying, reading papers, and reviewing practice guidelines, undoubtedly gave me the tools to practice modern, evidence-based medicine. As residency came to a close and the light at the end of the tunnel grew bigger and brighter, my excitement to move on to ...

Read more...

I’d like to focus on a group that isn’t discussed much: the divorced health care parent.  With physician marriages ending at a rate of 24 percent and over 1 million physicians and 18 million health care workers in the U.S., this topic will undoubtedly resonate with many despite a paucity of literature. Co-parenting is hard enough—adding a pandemic can put even previously stable co-parenting in extremis. Here’s my COVID-19 co-parenting ...

Read more...

This week I will be taking the physician's oath. I am a person who only makes promises I can keep. Thus, I am struggling with committing myself to certain parts of the oath. Reflecting over the last four years of medical school, I can say with certainty that I hated my medical school experience. I left my family/friends and the diverse, immigrant-cultured society that I've known my whole life for the homogeneous, ...

Read more...

I was waiting for my boyfriend to return back from cleaning his car. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the tears started rolling down my face. I was startled at the sudden deluge. I don’t cry often. We had a small argument earlier in the day, the details of which I won’t divulge here. It made me question where I get my happiness from. It led me to the conclusion that, at least ...

Read more...

I never expected to find myself in this position. Ironically, I, a family medicine physician, in a world grappling with a pandemic, became underemployed for the first time since high school.  A unique set of circumstances led me to this situation, but it turned out to be far more challenging for me emotionally than I expected. At the end of 2019, I made a decision to leave my regular job as ...

Read more...

Before becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), I was a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) nurse for decades. During that time, I often saw patients during their greatest time of need – trauma victims, transplant recipients, patients with brain tumors, ruptured aortas, and septic shock. I thought I had seen it all, but working in an improvised COVID-19 ICU has taught me to expect the unexpected, and has required ...

Read more...

My mother gave years of her life to service in this hospital. I was born in this hospital. I volunteered here for years before I started my residency in this hospital. I grew up before the very eyes of this hospital. I owe my life to this hospital, but I don’t owe my death to this hospital. And neither does my mother.

I start my shift with ...

Read more...

I can’t stop mentally drafting my obituary. A coworker snaps a picture of me in full protective gear, holding a respiratory swab, and I wonder how this photo will age. I wonder about the folly of our actions now, four health care workers seated together at a computer bank in the emergency department. Likely seeding toxins back and forth as we idly banter during our shift, trying to stay calm ...

Read more...

You always knew they didn’t care about you.  The administration, I mean.  But you knew that going into it.  It’s just four years that you have to endure until you can be respected, until you make the big bucks, until you’re treated like a human being.  Four years is not that long. But you knew this going into it. That they didn’t care.  You’re just a resident.  Now more than ever, ...

Read more...

I am a cardiology fellow at a large hospital. I plan to keep anonymity even though I don’t think there would be repercussions from my story, but in this day and age, you never know.  I was on call recently and was paged by our ED about a teenager with chest pain. OK, teenager with chest pain, big whoop. They later described that this pain was positional in that it ...

Read more...

I hope that this letter finds you (and myself) alive and well after all this COVID-19 craziness ends. I never really got the chance to explain everything when I was taking care of you. It wasn’t your fault you ended up at the hospital when you did, and you deserved so much better.

First of all, I was a pathology resident. A redeployed pathology resident. Actually, redeployed ...

Read more...

My last block of medical school was supposed to be the best part of the past four years. I carefully crafted a four-week vacation from school, designed for searching for the perfect place to live during my emergency medicine residency while spending valuable time connecting with classmates I might never see again. I could never imagine my current reality of moving back into my childhood bedroom and hiding from imminent ...

Read more...

When people used to ask me what a typical day entailed for me, I would gladly share the early starts, the long days on my feet in the OR, and on-calls where anything would happen. I would laugh at how I must have a bladder of steel and cry over some of the saddest stories which came through the front door. No matter the stories, though, one thing was a ...

Read more...

A COVID-19 positive resident physician in Detroit died recently, and reportedly two more who treated patients with the virus in New York City have died this week as well; although I can't say for certain, because their names have not been released and their stories exist only in hushed whispers of the resident community. And there's nothing heroic about it. There's nothing heroic about the preventable deaths of good and generous ...

Read more...

13 Pages

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories