As a first-year internal medicine resident in NYC, the physical and emotional toll this has placed on me is unmeasurable. My attending physician reminds me of someone commanding a battlefield: my “allied” residents, doctors that chose different specialties but are now deployed to my floor, “coalition” doctors, students that graduated early to help us. Medicine has been replaced by ...

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The current economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has led the nation’s unemployment rate to rise to 14.7%, a figure that likely understates the damage. Even more troubling are the unemployment numbers for women and minorities: 16.2% for the former, 16.7% for blacks, and 18.9% for Latinx (compared to 14.2% for white workers). There are plenty of reasons to pursue the goals of diversity and inclusion in hospitals and health systems. But ...

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Communication is the cornerstone of patient care. Patients trust healthcare workers with whom they connect. In the current era of COVID-19, connecting with patients and their families is both critical and yet more difficult than ever before. We draw from our experiences as internal medicine residents to outline the current landscape and provide tips on how to communicate more clearly. COVID-19 brings unique challenges to the art of communication, such as ...

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When I was a child, I used to sometimes close my eyes and try to convince myself that I was someplace else. I would lie on the carpet of our living room, block out the sights and sounds and smells around me, and imagine that I was lying on the floor of my grandmother’s flat in India as I had the previous summer, or in the soft sand of the ...

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Medical schools around the country remain closed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, swapping hands-on learning experience on wards and within the operating room for Zoom lectures and telehealth visits. Ten months ago, this was the furthest thing I imagined as I began my third year of medical school, filled with nervous excitement to move on from the relentless studying required for Step 1 and start seeing patients. ...

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An excerpt from Nurses are Nuts. The pharmacy department plays a vital role in hospitals. They prepare and dispense medications. Sometimes the pharmacist will receive an order from the doctor on a med whose written dosage he is not sure of. In some cases, the pharmacist will ...

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I spent many weeks as a patient in the hospital a few years ago and was encephalopathic during the entire stay. This means that I could speak and interact and, at times, especially to those who did not know me, appeared normal. I was told that I would give coherent lectures to the medical students who came to see me on rounds, only to not remember doing so an hour ...

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His breathing was rapid and shallow; O2 in place, his eyes stared at the ceiling of the hospital room. He was a soldier in his late 20s, his once strong body now emaciated, a shell of its former self. His arms rested on top of the bedsheet, bluish nodular lesions of Kaposi’s sarcoma landscaping them as they did the rest of his body. His lungs a “white-out” on X-ray as ...

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Multiple times a week, I get messages asking some variation of, "How are you holding up?" I am neither an anesthesiologist, critical care, or ER physician, so I’m not three inches away from exposure while intubating patients with coronavirus. I am also not a nurse or respiratory therapist in a room dozen of times a day administering life-saving medications, performing vital assessments, or carefully managing the oxygen lifeline. I’m certainly ...

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I have cared for them both, husband and wife, now in their 80s, for almost 20 years. She is a retired nurse and him from his business. They are so typical of this “greatest generation”: tough, enduring, hard-working, deeply faithful, fervently independent, those characteristics that allowed them to survive the Great Depression, World War II, and the many challenges that come with life. They have seen their share of joy ...

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I’ve always been fascinated with dystopian novels and zombie movies.  When the apocalypse comes, we stop sweating the small stuff.  Important tasks like sculpting our abs or finding the perfect area rug suddenly take a back seat to the new primary directive: survival. Nothing else matters. Healthcare workers have taken a similar survival first approach to COVID.  We’ve put aside our tiny tragedies and banded together to save our communities.  It’s ...

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“Benadryl barely helped me sleep last night,” I groan to my partner. My eyes bloodshot, my head pounding as I recount the number of days I have needed to take a sleep aid this week. He hands me my lunch bag and locks the door to walk with me to work. The sound of my apartment door feels like a weight on my chest as it closes behind me. The ...

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I moved to Florida in the middle of my junior year of high school, which was right in the middle of the basketball season. I had only practiced with the new team a handful of times before the first game. I distinctly remember sitting on the bench in my white and maroon uniform, shoes laced up, and tapping my foot anxiously. I watched the teams run up and down the ...

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This week, I opened my planner and came across a list of my goals for Spring that I’d written back in early January: attend a Latin dance festival; get my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; travel. These sorts of activities open my mind, allowing me to make progress in areas of my life outside of medicine. Maybe that list was a tad ambitious at the concept stage, for my plans ...

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An excerpt from The Intern. Room 12 was at the west end of the pediatrics ward and to the right, at the far side of an alcove few patients ever entered—and none left. Maggie paused at the corner, reaching into the recess where the nurses stowed the ...

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Webster's Dictionary defines trauma as a "disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe emotional stress." An article in MarketWatch describes the reality of a doctor after being on the frontlines in Wuhan for two months:

Li is mentally and psychologically at a loss for what to do next. He can't sleep or eat, he often feels dazed, and sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, he weeps.
Nurses have described ...

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It was the middle of March when I came back to my work shift. I got the news my floor would be COVID-19 floor that meant all patients coming to the ER with COVID-19 symptoms would be placed solely under my supervision. I was all ready for it — at least I knew the challenges I was going to face. The number of patients getting admitted to rule out COVID-19 kept on ...

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Three resident physicians died last week from COVID-19 and are the first known deaths of medical trainees in the United States. Dr. Chris Firlit, a 37-year-old oral surgery resident from Detroit, died from complications of COVID-19. He leaves behind his wife Sylvie and three children, Alexander, Viktor, and Katerina. Sadly, we know residents like Dr. Firlit will not be the only ones to lose their lives in this pandemic. Unbeknown ...

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As a resident physician keen on academia and research, I have many doctors and scientists who I aspire to be more like. As a future-driven person, I am constantly awed by various inspirational, well-educated, and even better-poised men and women who have changed our society and the world. But today's situation is different. Today's situation makes my inspirations quite different from that of a typical young physician. As a resident doctor, ...

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A troubling type of social media post I’ve recently seen from providers (often not directly taking care of any COVID-19 patients) is one of excitement at the prospect for the medical community coming together to defeat this invisible foe. This mentality seems to say that as health care providers, we should all rush to the frontlines as it’s a commendable action. Maybe these sentiments are posted because morale is low, ...

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