Physicians in general are a pretty intelligent group of professionals. However, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we must also know a lot about almost everything because we know a lot about one particular thing. However, given the exploding pace of advancing knowledge, that idea is hubristic. But it isn't just science and technology where we fall short. During the COVID pandemic, one of the things most contentious has ...

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"Please wait.  The meeting host will let you in soon." I am in the virtual waiting room for my weekly therapy session, the little waiting room box dragged to the side of my screen as I respond to clinical messages.  I put off stretching to reply to an email, remaining in the chair I’ve been sitting in all morning hosting my own virtual visits for patients. I hate my chair; I hate ...

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Don’t let images deceive you. You may think you see everything in my picture after getting the vaccine, but you don’t. Let me take you behind the scenes of my life this past year. As I can only imagine what being behind the scenes of your life has been like for you. What you don’t see in the picture is my yearlong of agony, tears, hard decisions, and losses, like all ...

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I received my COVID vaccine on December 21st before starting an ER shift; sitting in the cold, plastic chair in a hallway-turned-vaccine-clinic, I tipped my head back to blink tears into submission as I reflected on making it this far in the pandemic without contracting COVID.  Four days later, after three twelve-hour shifts, I tested positive for COVID.

The COVID vaccine did not cause my positive result; getting exposed ...

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"Touted by some as a 'great equalizer,' the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront long-standing disparities in access to health for Black, Latinx, immigrant, and low-income communities. While we are all in this fight together, some are bearing the burden more than others. Studies have shown that Blacks in the ...

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I had a dream last night. I dreamt that my father wasn’t dead. It was jumbled in so many ways. But I was able to talk to him in my “sleep.” I watched This is Us before bed. The episode where Randall questions whether William lied to him about his mother’s death. William saw her die, but she was revived after he ran away with Randall. Somehow, that made my mind wander ...

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When the federal government executed Corey Johnson at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on the 14th of January, 2021, he was COVID-19 positive. He was executed while suffering from a highly contagious respiratory illness that is killing over 4,000 Americans each day. Despite his positive diagnosis for COVID-19 and his risk for infecting those around him with this respiratory illness, Corey Johnson’s execution was not postponed. Who ...

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With COVID-19 vaccines being administered to our front-line health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic. Yet, given the time-limited nature of the vaccine's development, we have yet to learn the extent to which vaccinated people can spread the virus. The COVID-19 vaccinations prevent disease, but we know little about if ...

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"Environmental cleaning rightfully plays a more prominent role within health care facilities to control the spread of other diseases, but even hospitals have overreacted when it comes to contact precautions for SARS-CoV-2.  I recently went to get a flu shot from one of the hospitals I cover, and I couldn’t help but ...

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As I write today, COVID-19 has killed more than 380,000 people in the United States. The country is averaging close to 200,000 cases per day and has a record number of patients hospitalized at this time. This trend shows no signs of abating. Unfortunately, this only means that the number of hospitalized patients and the number of patients dying will continue to trend up in the coming days and weeks. Amidst ...

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Those were the headlines in one of the Sunday papers. He was around fifty years old and with his wife. They stood in front of me in the supermarket. He was in shorts and a light blue t-shirt, wearing beach flip-flops. Standard casual wear for the holiday beach town where I work at Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast of South Africa. I could see him reading the ...

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As I watched the vaccine rollout take place over the past month, all I can say is that I am not surprised. I watched hospital executives who never see patients jump the line, doctors having their healthy nannies vaccinated, and health systems trusted with vaccine doses have essentially no plan. It's like we didn't have 9 months to figure this out. All I can say is that this is the ...

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It is stressful enough to live with heart disease. Now, with a global pandemic, access to health care providers has shifted from in-office to telemedicine in many instances. There are challenges for patients with heart disease in this context:

  1. Patients are often older and are not familiar with using technology for videoconferencing (Zoom, Doximity, FaceTime, Skype).
  2. The electrocardiogram and physical exam still remain the primary ways we assess the heart ...

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Developing the COVID-19 vaccine was the first monumental milestone on a long and arduous journey to achieving the entire U.S. population's vaccination. One of the barriers to achieving this task is the absence of a reliable, scalable way to uniquely identify each individual before or after they receive the vaccine. Furthermore, in the absence of this unique identifier, it is extremely difficult to reliably use existing state or regional data repositories ...

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"I am overwhelmed right now. I know I am not alone. I hear it in the voices of my friends, family, colleagues, patients. We are all feeling it. I am overwhelmed by this virus. There is so much to learn, so much to teach. Every day the information changes. Who is credible? Who ...

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Canadians breathed a huge sigh of relief when the federal government approved the first COVID-19 vaccine and saw the first immunizations take place. The end of the pandemic and the prospect of a return to normal, whatever that means, became a real possibility.

Rolling out a national vaccination program will be no small feat. In addition to the basic logistical challenges of moving volatile product throughout the ...

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With this third surge and our ICUs at zero capacity in Los Angeles, I spent  New Year’s Eve alone at my apartment, recovering from a wards rotation I had completed the night before. No revelry or celebration for me this year.  For months, this virus has been wreaking havoc on our lives and slowly,   then rapidly chipping away at our health care systems. I’ve seen the ...

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December is typically busy in the ICU. Flu and respiratory viral pneumonia cases start trickling into the ICU, interspersed with cardiac arrests, strokes, pulmonary emboli, septic shock, and COPD exacerbations. The ICU census starts creeping up. December 2020 has been unique and challenging. There were seemingly endless days of patients coming to the ICU, only to die. People with COVID-19 and the usual ICU ailments seemed sicker than usual. Patients have ...

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"Doctor, how are you doing?" I’m really so grateful when people take the time to ask this. But when I respond, candidly, that it’s been tough and I’m definitely not doing great, I often hear, “But you haven’t had any patients who have died from COVID, have you? And you got the vaccine, didn’t you?” Fortunately, no (not yet) and yes. My heart goes out to our ICU, inpatient, and ER teams ...

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She was rather calm during her visit.  It was the first time we’d met, and she was establishing primary care with our office and me.  We were both delighted to learn she was from a small Georgia town not too far from where I previously practiced, and we quickly reminisced about the slow pace, lack of certain resources, and genuinely good, devout people that often stem from and still reside ...

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