Doctors today can help more people, and prevent the spread of disease more effectively through communication, than we ever could by seeing patients one-at-a-time in person. I have realized that instant human connection through technology makes us more powerful and faster than a virus.

I began my career as a physician in the pre-iPhone era. The only way for the sick to seek medical advice was to ...

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Among industrialized nations, only the United States endures the current public health epidemic of firearm-assisted injury and death. In 2018, nearly 40,000 people were shot to death in the U.S., while proponents of the Second Amendment continue to protect it at all costs — fighting even common-sense measures such as limiting access to felons and the mentally ill. On both sides of this debate, opinions are lobbed as facts; these ...

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My husband and I travel internationally at least three times a year to give courses with live surgical demonstrations of colorectal conditions in children. During the past 13 years making those trips, we had our share of hearing the famous announcement in the plane: "Is there a doctor on board?" Those have happened in many different scenarios including having been on call the night before and therefore being on an almost semi-coma ...

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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 ...

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I was about to step out for an evening shift when I caught a small quiver in my wife’s lip as she was saying good-bye. This drew me up short. I could tell that she was worried about me; it occurred to me she had a point. I’d had about a week off, and in that time, my co-workers had begun seeing more and more COVID-19 patients. Now, it was my ...

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Months ago, it was in the distance.  International hints of a contagion, a virus in China.  We heard it all too many times, desensitized by the occasional threats, conspiracy theories, and Hollywood depictions. “It’s fiction.  It could never happen to us.” Fast forward to today, and it is staring us in the face with nostrils flaring.  We are on the frontlines, fighting an enemy that has invaded every aspect of our life.  ...

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I want to write a letter of thanks for all the sacrifices you have made for our nation during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you for all the lives you have saved.

Thank you for fighting to save all the lives that were lost.

Thank you for leaving your homes each day, not knowing if or when you will hold your children or see your spouse ...

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Saying no is hard. Even harder if you happen to be kind. You want to help, to make people smile, you want them to like you. Saying no doesn’t come easy. We’ve never been taught to say no. Ever since we were toddlers, we’ve been conditioned to say yes. Rolling on the floor in a temper tantrum to express our no was a no-no. People don’t like you if you say ...

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I am an ER doctor, and my husband is a pediatrician. This story starts two weeks ago when COVID-19 was first changing all our lives. I am a travel doctor and was returning home. I saw a few patients that I was sure had COVID-19 (later confirmed). Fortunately, I worked in one of the rare ERs that had enough PPE, and I had worn it with each of those patients, ...

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Lisa's heart pauses every time her phone rings. She's unsure if the call she is answering is going to be the final update she will ever receive from the intensive care doctor caring for her love, John. Her 55-year-old husband of 31 years was placed on the ventilator eight days ago for a lung infection due to coronavirus. He resides in the ICU of the local academic hospital, ...

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Arrival to isolation room 45: Recently diagnosed with COVID-19, brought in by ambulance for re-evaluation.

I don my new uniform of colorful barriers: red-rimmed eye shield, green N-95, yellow gown, purple gloves. I carefully walk through two sets of doors into the room and find the most sterile spot. I used to touch, shake hands, sit; now I stand on a clean tile away from his bed.

“So I ...

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My friends ask me how I’m doing.  The short answer is always, "We’re OK."  But the real answer is much longer. I feel a lot of anxiety these days.  It’s always there, sometimes with more intensity than others.  But a constant, ever-present, lurking beneath our routine. Like everyone else, sheltering in place is a component of it.  There are the combined aspects of keeping my four children entertained, keeping them from fighting, ...

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On Doctors' Day, my hospital celebrated our work by giving us each a pair of cheap headphones, and also announced the death of an attending. Though the personal risk to each of us was highlighted by the recent death, the administration did not give hazard pay, or PPE comparable to other countries', or even a guaranteed supply of isolation gowns. Just headphones a different color than the ones they gave ...

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On the front lines, America's emergency departments (ED) are currently in at the center of a crisis treating patients with COVID-19.  Emergency physicians and other clinicians are placing themselves and their families at risk. Yet, there is also another important crisis facing hospital-based EDs: surprise billing legislation. Certain forms of surprise billing legislation have the potential have a substantial and negative impact on how America’s EDs are supported, and our ...

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“You are a hero! “ “Thank you for all you are doing!” It is overwhelming and tremendous; it is touching and heartwarming; it is genuine and sincere.  The outpouring of support and love for health care workers and first responders has been a bright light in the dark days of the coronavirus.  But I have been forced to wonder: What has really changed?  OK, before you get outraged by that statement, hear ...

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I am a practicing emergency medicine physician in Indianapolis, IN.  I work in a county hospital whose mission is to serve the underserved.  I, like you, was born into a life of privilege with white skin and parents with the means to provide all that was needed and more. My college education was paid for, and I lived a carefree life through college. I graduated from pharmacy school and entered the ...

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I am a frontline health care worker.  I am an emergency physician.  I am also a mother to two glorious, growing, miraculous children and wife to a handsome triathlete stay at home dad.  Additionally, I am one of three daughters to a pair of still practicing exceptional pediatricians in their late 70s, and sister to two strong, beautiful women.  I am also a severe asthmatic only well controlled by puffers ...

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Physicians are leaders.  As leaders, we are focused on how to ensure safety for our coworkers while also acknowledging a need for stewardship of scarce supply of resources, namely, personal protective equipment (PPE). I have a particular interest in this topic since I am an emergency physician with a high-risk newborn at home (who spent time in the neonatal ICU just a ...

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It was Christmas Eve, and where most people are home with their families, residents are all too familiar with spending holidays inside the hospital. As such, I was traveling back to Austin for an early morning shift on hospital service, when I encountered an ethical dilemma that has stuck with me since. A mere 20 minutes after the plane took off, I heard the dreaded words: "A passenger requires medical attention. ...

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Who saw this coming? The invisible invader from realms unknown, Marching through continents, Ravaging lives and souls. With its intangible touch, it composes, An orchestra of frenzy and fear, With notes of anger and ignorance, Conspiracy theories commence. A battle ground emerges, Picture a vent and a bed, A loved one struggling for breath, Or lying alone, dead. The soldiers, we stand guard, When the onslaught comes, we fight hard. The staff and the snake ...

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