As I sit here writing this, one of my friends and colleagues is on a ventilator. He’s fighting for his life. He’s a very healthy guy who runs marathons; we even did some race training together a couple of years back. And now, he’s in critical condition and may not survive. He’s one of the numerous physicians and other healthcare workers to be stricken with COVID-19. I do not know ...

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As doctors, we know how this disease progresses. We know the prognosis for patients who need to be on a ventilator. We know that if we have a cardiac arrest during the course of COVID infection, our prognosis gets much grimmer. Faced with this knowledge, how do you decide how far you are willing to go to try and survive? If you had to be intubated on a ventilator, would you ...

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Doctors used to be heroes. We used to be universally respected. Our opinions used to mean something. And now? Now the president of the United States goes on live TV and vilifies us. Pointing the finger, shifting the blame to us as the reason you can’t go to the bar and watch the game, or go to Disney World, or get drunk every day on spring break at the beach. ...

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I’m not gonna lie. It’s scary as hell to be a doctor right now. In Italy, which is our projected immediate future, up to 10 percent of infected people are health care workers. Health care workers are also more likely to experience severe and critical diseases. There’s not a great explanation for why this is, other than just higher risk from repeated exposure over and over to infected persons. When ...

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I’ll admit that a month ago, I thought COVID-19 was going to be another overblown SARS or MERS or even H1N1. I talked about it with my friends in the medical field, and we had a bit of a “been there, done that” attitude. But I was wrong, and in the time since, I’ve educated myself as much as possible. This strain of coronavirus is more contagious than the flu, ...

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Stepping into a hospital for the first time as a clinical medical student is a strange dichotomy. There is still so much you have to learn before you will become a physician, but you are quickly thrust into life-and-death situations. One of my early rotations was in the emergency room. As a student, you have no actual authority and must be closely monitored at all times. Many times you will ...

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I cannot get behind fat acceptance, or better stated in medical lingo as “normalizing obesity.” As a physician and as someone who has been obese or morbidly obese my adult life, I know first hand what it’s like to hate my body and feel ashamed of it. I still do this very moment as I type this, that’s something I have to work on. Funny thing is, I am much more ...

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I was lucky to be raised in a place and time where I have not had any significant barrier in my way because I am a woman. I have been allowed to make my own choices and pursue my own path in life. My gender never deterred me from achieving what I set out to do. Can you imagine being a woman a hundred or two hundred years ago or ...

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Future generations will look back on the opioid epidemic as the greatest tragedy of modern medicine. The recent 60 Minutes special about drug distributors really highlights that manufacturing and prescribing opiates was never about the best interest of patients. The pharma companies saw a business opportunity that could be exploited by offering patients a little pill to take their pain away. What person, given the chance, would ...

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Being a health care provider has always come with personal risk. We care for all patients, which includes patients agitated due to psychiatric issues, dementia, acute medical illness, alcohol or drug intoxication or just anger. Patients can be extremely volatile and lash out unexpectedly causing physical injury to their doctor, nurse or another provider. Besides the physical risk, patients can be emotionally and verbally abusive as well- and both types ...

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We are all guilty of having biases. Some of them we know about and proudly flaunt. Some of them have been ingrained so deeply that we do not even know they exist. Weight is an issue that brings out strong biases, and multiple studies have demonstrated a high level of bias from physicians against overweight and obese patients. Obese patients are often treated rudely and are not given the same ...

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What is it like living in pain? Those of us who have ever experienced unremitting pain for months or years know that it is enveloping and all consuming. I struggled with intractable pain for several difficult years, and I am fortunate because my pain finally got better — what if your pain never did? That is a horrible reality millions of people are living in right now. The chronic pain population ...

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This is the patient's eight admission over the course of two weeks. The patient is a heroin abuser and has bacteremia and endocarditis. Their heart valve is failing and they are in and out of congestive heart failure. Every day, dozens of medical professionals converge on the patient to give treatment and advice. And every day after hearing that advice, the patient leaves the hospital against medical advice and goes ...

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I am a practicing hospitalist physician in Dayton, Ohio. Dayton has emerged in the last year as the city with the highest per capita death rate from opioid overdoses. When we measure the number of deaths here we talk about how many there are per day, not per week or month. We have been inundated with heroin and other products laced with fentanyl or carfentanil. Every other drug, including marijuana, ...

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As doctors, we are good at lots of things — we are smart, efficient, hard-working, proficient, role models and leaders. Then why do so many of us place our own health and well-being after our jobs? As a physician, my most prevalent discussions with patients always boil down to very simple recommendations: eat right, exercise, sleep and manage your stress. Lifestyle changes are really the key to solving many of the ...

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