"With COVID-19, all of those memories have come flooding back. It is as if I am back in the NICU staring at that tiny infant and worried that she would get sick. Only now I have to pull myself out of that horrific daydream and stare at my teenager and pray that she will get through this. I am not alone ...

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A recent edition of Pediatrics has some disturbing research: “Trends in Capability of Hospitals to Provide Definitive Acute Care for Children: 2008 to 2016.” What the paper really does is document what many of us who work in referral hospitals have noted for some time: More and more community hospitals are transferring children who appear in their emergency departments to other, larger facilities instead of admitting them to ...

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“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” - Steve Jobs I was rusty. I felt rusty, at least. It had been forever, seemingly, since I attended patients as an emergency physician. A couple of years earlier, I’d been sailing along happily in my clinical career when a cancer diagnosis blew in like a hurricane, shredding my sails and dumping me into a sea of medical and ...

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“We haven’t been to the doctor since COVID started.” “It was just a checkup; we didn’t need to go to it.” “We are trying to avoid going to the doctor unless it is really important.” I have taken care of many children and their families who have postponed checkups due to fear of catching COVID-19 if they go to their doctor’s office. These patients have missed or been delayed in obtaining different types ...

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"Advocate for the children in your community. Studies show that one of the most powerful buffering factors for kids experiencing toxic stress is having at least one supportive, caring adult in their lives. Who in your circles needs you to provide this role? Studies also show that a healthy foundation of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and coping strategies can also mitigate stress ...

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I ring the doorbell, waiting patiently outside.  I hear a weak “coming” and some shuffling.  Who greets me is a mother in her robe, hunched over at the waist, supporting her protruding postpartum belly.  Her hair is disheveled.  Her mask is revealing exhausted eyes with attempted mascara to look a “little freshened up,” she confesses a little later.

“My husband is just getting the baby; please come in.”

I ...

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As the globe continues to surf the wave of this unpredictable global pandemic in a time of technological advancement, one question seems to come up often during pediatric outpatient visits: Will the kids be OK? One thing is for certain: all this uncertainty and stress will surely impact the next generation. Experts across the globe are hypothesizing what inherent traits these “baby zoomers” will gain and how COVID-19 will impact the ...

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"We are blessed to work in a clinic that has a very large immigrant population. Over the years, we have cared for those who speak over 80+ languages with an even higher number of unique countries and regions represented. Arabic and Spanish are our two most commonly spoken non-English languages. We also have patients who speak unique languages such as Kurdish, ...

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“No school today!” All of us can remember waking up to these words connected to whatever weather or current event thing and breathing a sigh of relief. A day without learning, without teachers nagging: a day to do whatever you wanted. What are today’s children feeling about this phrase? The problem is that we aren’t really asking them. A quick internet search about children and COVID-19 brings up countless articles on ...

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One thing, which is constant in health care, is that it is continuously evolving. The challenges health care leaders are facing are not simple. They are often multifaceted, which require strategic, creative, and inclusive solutions. There are competing priorities and goals. Critical thinking has become an essential skill for all healthcare leaders. Here are five simple tips to help you practice your critical thinking skills. 1. Ponder on the challenge. Spend as ...

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An excerpt from Parenting in a Pandemic: How to help your family through COVID-19. When my husband and I made the decision to purchase a house outside of New York City, the prior owners left behind a trampoline. The trampoline is big, above ground, and in fair ...

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August 1 to 7 is National Breastfeeding Week. I wish it wasn’t. I said it. I’m a family medicine physician with experience in working with moms and newborns in their feeding journeys. I don’t support a breastfeeding week. I wish it was something else like “Moms/Dads/grandparents/caregivers Newborn Feeding Week.” When my daughter, Wendy, was born during my fellowship, I was geared up to breastfeed during maternity leave and then pump/breastfeed after returning to ...

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Today at work, a mother asked me what I would do if it was my son in the isolette and not hers. It’s not the first time I have been asked this. I understand where the question comes from, and yet I’m at a loss of what to say every time. Not because I haven’t pondered it before. No. It’s because I have asked myself the question far too many times: ...

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This is the million-dollar question that I’ve been asked over and over again by distraught parents wanting to do right by their children. Parents want to have their children stay home so they can keep them healthy and safe. At the same time, they are worried about the far-reaching consequences of them not being in school. School is not just about academics but also about social and emotional wellbeing. For some ...

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Writing a pandemic novel is sort of like running a mock code. You may feel a tinge of fear as you work through the actively changing scenario, but mostly you feel the excitement of the challenge. Yet when an actual patient is deteriorating before you, all you feel is terror.

In 2007, as I was traveling daily between Washington, DC and Baltimore on a commuter train, I read an ...

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Walking into the COVID ward in the children’s hospital, those words seemed etched on an invisible wall, a wall that I wanted to choose to stay behind.  It was a wall I could stay behind for the first couple months of the pandemic where multiple studies touted how children weren’t getting sick, and my hospital had seen very few mild cases of the virus in children manifesting from a fever ...

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“Where were you born?” “Here!” Yousef (not real name) with happy, gleaming eyes excitedly pointed at Algeria on the laminated world map hanging on the bulletin board in the exam room. “And Dad was born here,” pointing to Morocco with mom nodding approvingly. Who knew that an inexpensive, laminated map could be such an icebreaker for families? Simply sharing immigration stories and experiences living abroad created a wonderful way for families to engage ...

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Concern There is no debate on the insurmountable value of kids needing to be in schools.  CDC data shows that children account for 6% of COVID-19 cases and 0.2% of all deaths.  Yet, the system can miserably fail if bullied into opening.  Children could turn into potential super-spreaders or develop multi-system inflammation, Kawasaki, or toxic-shock syndrome.  And once that domino falls, we ...

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How I long for the good old days of mom-shaming. Back then, you could tsk-tsk over any number of maternal decisions: breastfeeding or bottle-feeding; having children out of wedlock or in wedlock with another woman; staying at home, or working full time. Nowadays, all that remains is: How she plans to educate her children this Fall. We vilify women planning pandemic e-learning, asking them, “What planet are you on,” “Don’t you have anything ...

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We are tired, overwhelmed, very committed, missing our families, and carrying each patient with us as we try to deliver excellent care in a very disorienting time. We worry about the health of our families and friends and community as well as our own health, for we are no help if we become sick and cannot continue to care for our ...

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