The warm rays of the sun serenade me as I drive to work eager to begin another shift. I find a parking spot on the first floor of the garage don my N95 mask and walk towards the hospital. First, I must stop by at the neighboring building and have my temperature checked. Today it is 97.3. I am awarded the sticker for the day; my boarding pass into the ...

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On the morning of George Floyd’s funeral less than ten miles from our medical center in Houston, I was avoiding the word “Black.” Despite wholehearted pride in the strong Black presence in our community health center’s physicians, staff, and patients, I felt a loss of words that Tuesday morning. There was simply too much pain, grief, and rage in our community.

I was thankful ...

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Yeah. I said it. As an anesthesiologist, especially as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist, there are few things I am more interested in than how well or how poorly your heart functions and why.  And a cardiologist can help me obtain a lot of vital information in that regard.  But there several things a cardiologist cannot, and I argue, should not do, when it comes to the perioperative care of patients. First, a cardiologist's assessment ...

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He did a double-take as we passed on our small town sidewalk the other day. “Hey Doc, I didn’t recognize you dressed like that, without your …”, he gestured to where my tie or stethoscope would have been. I was wearing a cafe-au-lait colored T-shirt and faded Levis. “Did you hear about the appointment with the cardiologist yet,” I asked. “It’s in two weeks,” he answered. “Tell me, Doc, how serious is this ...

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A couple of months ago, I had a lecture on the "Principles of Epidemiology and Public Health." I remember looking at the graphs taken from the American Heart Association and noting that the incidence of developing coronary heart disease or myocardial infarction was higher in black men compared to their white counterparts. I thought to myself, "So this means that race is a risk factor in ...

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When I left Wall Street to pursue a career in medicine, I had some understanding of the long and winding path ahead of me, but I never anticipated our current strange reality leveled by the destructive force of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  We now face surreal uncertainties, including the shutdown of large swaths of our health system, hospitals running out of protective medical equipment, and frontline health care workers succumbing to ...

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Right now, we are facing a living nightmare. Thousands of people across the globe, perhaps even people we know, are dying from COVID-19. This pandemic has left death and disability in its wake. The main way we are being asked to help is by staying at home in order to lower the chances of the virus spreading from person to person. This is especially important since it has been shown ...

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I am writing this as I lay in bed, feverish, sweaty, and persistent dry cough. I have been sick with presumed COVID-19 for the past ten days. I have quarantined myself from my wife and two sons, unable to hug or reassure them that everything will be okay. Additionally, my wife is 39 weeks pregnant. Therefore, I will be unable to accompany her in the delivery room and may not ...

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"Obama!" Mr. J grumbled, shaking his head and wrinkling his nose. "Obama, Obama, Obama!" Mr. J was known in the hospital as a frequent flier for his heroin abuse. Now, though, his use of dirty needles had landed him in my ICU with a life-threatening bacterial infection in his bloodstream. As his fever raged, he became so delirious that he could not tell me where he was, the year, or even his own name. ...

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I remember Jake Mattolli as a pioneer in heart surgery. He certainly didn't wish to be one. I believe he had a valve replacement, and it was done in the early '60s. I remember the Boston surgeon termed the operation a success, but as Jake's lungs gave out on the table, he, the patient, died. That sort of success most of us wish to avoid. The thing I remember about Jake, aside ...

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A number of people have asked my take on Plandemic and a viral interview of a couple of docs in Bakersfield who challenge conventional wisdom on COVID. Part of me feels like I shouldn’t amplify the chatter. But maybe I can type something slightly antiviral. As usual, I land in a boring, neutral, barely worth a “like” position. For starters, I’ll admit to being a fairly agnostic conspiracy curious skeptic for ...

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“Our current guidelines from the hospital and our national societies are if the patient is not at risk for a major cardiac event in the next week we should defer surgery.”  The words hang in the now virtual air of the hospital’s weekly multidisciplinary endocarditis conference.  The young woman whose case we are discussing has bacteremia with two different organisms and a very large infectious mass on one of her ...

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As a cardiology fellow in a busy New York City hospital, my life has snowballed into chaos. Just last week, I was a pregnant doctor completing her second trimester, waddling down the halls of the hospital with an echocardiogram machine in tow, taking care of sick cardiac patients. Now a viral pandemic has invaded all remnants of this prior life. Patients pour into intensive care units with coronavirus. Colleagues serve on ...

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During times of stress, true colors show. The United States is a global leader and literally a dream for millions around the world. During the pandemic pandemonium, we should want to be proud to be American. What does that mean right now, though? After the government’s expansive recent transformations in their role with emergency programs becoming available in light of the CARES Act being approved, I cannot help but think about ...

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Just another day as you work into the depths of the night. Medicine engulfs your life as your focus is centered on your responsibilities for tomorrow. You may or may not have time to sit down and enjoy a meal in silence. You may or may not have the opportunity to say good-bye or hello to a loved one. I hope we all had the foresight to realize what we ...

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It's 8 p.m., and I stumble into my apartment and fall into bed. Somehow, I avoided nodding off in the car driving home. I just finished a 36-hour shift, something I thought was an inhumane task. Somehow, I survived on two hours of sleep, incessant phone calls, pages, and a granola bar. This morning I saw a cat in my apartment, except I don't have a cat. I fumbled through patient care all ...

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I believe in the practice of medicine and enjoy teaching others this amazing art.  However, after experiencing nine months of interactions through medicine as the daughter of a sick patient, I struggle with my pride in the profession and fear of the health care system. My mother would proudly tell all her physicians that her daughter was a doctor. I knew she was proud, but I didn’t believe in using my ...

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One of the most important things to understand about heart health is that a woman’s needs change over time. Risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol can become more important as a woman ages.  Hypertension and high cholesterol are not things we may feel. This is why hypertension is called the silent killer. Even women who have always maintained normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels could ...

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In December of 2011, I made a career move that changed my life. My life as a surgeon was getting stale. Doing the same old thing for two decades was getting old, and I was looking for something to breathe new life into my surgical practice. I decided to look into doing a short term medical mission. I thought it would be fun and rewarding to travel to a new place ...

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High blood pressure is the silent killer. It puts people at risk for heart attacks, strokes, vascular disease, kidney failure. It is basically really bad to have longstanding, undertreated high blood pressure. But it is also harmful to be told you have high blood pressure when you don't, and to be treated for high blood pressure when that treatment won't benefit you. So when your doctor diagnoses you with high blood ...

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