The coronavirus epidemic has proven to be a very challenging time for all of us.  However, we must never forget the commitment which health care professionals demonstrate every day in caring for our communities, especially during such times of dire need.  From nurses to physicians, respiratory therapists to pharmacists, and the administrative personnel that support and guide them, the dedication of our front-line staff in the hospitals and clinics throughout ...

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As I write this, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, gloves, and masks are sold out everywhere in the panic over COVID-19. People are writing about increased anxiety, and mental health professionals cite a massive surge in requests for help.  Go anywhere, and it is not unusual to see people wearing personal protective equipment. Welcome to my world 16 years ago when my daughter was born prematurely at 30 weeks’ gestation ...

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I am a pediatrician. Daily I see kids with fevers and coughs who test negative for influenza. Some have pneumonia. I am not able to test them for SARS-CoV2, so I encourage them to self-quarantine. If I find nothing else, I tell them they have a viral illness. They ask me if it’s “the coronavirus,” and I tell them that, contrary to what they are hearing from our government officials ...

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COVID-19 started to really hit home this week. I hadn’t been aware of its severity because, honestly, I was too busy balancing residency, being a husband, and a father to keep up to date on the daily news.  Now it’s unavoidable with school closures, travel restrictions, and limited grocery store stock.  With worried texts and phone calls, my family and friends wanted to know any updates and if coronavirus was ...

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Strange times right now, huh? The spread of COVID-19 is expected to be massive because the virus is sneaky I live in Maryland, and our schools are shut down statewide due to coronavirus (COVID-19). That means that since I’m a pediatrician, I’ve been peppered with questions from patients, family, and friends wondering what they’re going to do with the kids for at least two weeks (and, realistically, probably four or more). They’re all asking ...

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I remember lying in my bed after my second delivery in severe pain. With my first delivery, I had already endured a C-section. Four years later, I wanted to experience a “natural” delivery. I opted for a vaginal delivery after C-section (VBAC). The VBAC quickly turned into an emergency where the maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) physician gave me two options: Get this baby out now or emergent C-section. My mind flashed back to ...

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Physicians across all levels of training are familiar with the widely recognized truth that our medical system is broken. This damage is evidenced by a paradox; perhaps it will become the great paradox of our time – physicians who were driven to a profession by a desire to help others are now the same doctors who secretly hope they don’t have to help you. It is 9 p.m. on a fairly ...

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Legislators have found a new way to insert themselves into the physician-patient relationship. In October and November 2019, news stories regarding a parental dispute over the treatment of a transgender child prompted legislators in Texas, Kentucky, and Georgia to announce plans to introduce bills that would prohibit medical and surgical treatment of transgender children under age 18. Since then, Read more...

Let's talk about the doctor who is excessively defensive. I divide this kind of communication blocker into two varieties: physician personality and physician mode of practice. The physician with a defensive personality is one who interprets questions from parents as questioning of her medical judgment. Unlike the supremely egotistical doctor, who is often sufficiently secure in her image of herself that she is magnanimous toward parents who ask questions, the overly ...

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I am a primary care pediatrician. I am one of the thousands who serve our youngest and most vulnerable each day. Any pediatrician will tell you we are the underdogs of the medical hierarchy. But for me, it’s still the best calling on Earth. When I walk into an exam room, you will see my eyes lit up, my eyes bright, a happy lilt to my voice. You will sense the ...

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Life can be hectic.  We all feel the effects of the “busyness” of our daily business, especially with the beginning of a New Year, when we tend to hyper-focus on our “to-do lists” and resolutions.  We can often forget to take care of ourselves and the ones we love.  For example, when was the last time your adolescent child visited their healthcare provider for a routine physical or well visit? ...

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Every day, children are cared for in clinics and hospitals. And every day, some of them are unhappy about it; some of them deeply unhappy about it. The contemporary practice of nursing and medical care includes health care providers having to touch their patients. This may include an abdominal exam, listening to their lungs with a stethoscope, or even slightly invasive maneuvers, such as having to put an otoscope into their ...

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Most of us are, to some degree, procrastinators. We avoid or postpone doing unpleasant things. In this sense, physicians who are avoiders are no different from anyone else. For a doctor, however, avoiding things often leads to poor, or at least less than frank, communication with parents. One kind of avoidance behavior is when the doctor avoids answering your questions. These doctors do not behave this way because they are poor ...

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An excerpt from Stay Away From My ER, and other fun bits of wisdom. 1. You don’t like to be told what to do. Especially not by arrogant doctors, who act as if they know better, just because they’ve been through a few decades of training! 2. Your ...

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Egotism is a common trait among doctors, although most of us keep it under adequate control when dealing with patients. The ideal doctor-parent encounter has been described as a collaboration among equals, each of which brings expertise to the exchange; the doctor knows medicine, the parent knows the child. This is the ideal, although sometimes the reality falls short of it. The way our medical system is now structured gives ...

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Karen smiled nervously, her swollen belly peeking out from under her stretched silver tank top. Six months pregnant with her first child, the eighteen-year-old had come to the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) office for help with getting enough to eat. As a medical student with a background in nutrition advocacy and a future in pediatrics, I had asked to observe the WIC enrollment process.

Karen and ...

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You’ve seen the ads, and you may have even gotten a flyer in the mail directly from your insurance company. Use an app to make a quick video call to get the medical care you need. No waiting rooms, no appointments, no having to be touched, or even sit in a room with a physician – just the magic of the internet, and you’ll get what you want. But will you ...

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I carry you in my heart. Not your cold and quiet and still little body.  No. I carry the you that I never knew. The you that your parents grieve. The you that will never grow up. The you that laughed and played that nobody new will ever meet again. I carry you in my heart. It was that you that made me grit my teeth when I heard they were bringing your body ...

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The recent pardon of a convicted child rapist by the ex-Kentucky Governor has sparked a lot of controversies. The basis of the pardon was- “the victim’s hymen was noted to be physically intact.” Evolving studies have continuously shown that the hymen is not a reliable or accurate means to conclude sexual assault. But if physical damage is the only criterion used to assess ...

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I’m a pediatric hospitalist, and I know that most days in the hospital are routine. But every once in a while, a patient pierces through your armor, and touches your heart in totally unexpected ways. Willow did that to me. Willow was five days old and had been admitted because her breathing was not quite right. I first met her in her hospital room, with her dad hovering over her bassinet, ...

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