Sometimes I forget. I forget what it is like to be on the other side of the curtain. I forget that what is just another day of work, another shift, another seemingly ceaseless night of call for me may indeed be the longest day of their life. Sometimes I forget that the waiting seems endless, that the seconds turn inexplicably into hours, the hours into the next day. Sometimes, while ...

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"You have made difficult choices about your family’s health and safety already. Pediatricians help parents make these kinds of decisions all the time. The shared- decision model for practicing medicine encourages doctors like me to help provide information and counseling to empower you to make decisions. You’ve already made decisions essential to ...

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"While there is a myriad of expert opinions on what long term effects this pandemic will have on our children and their physical and mental health, we must also remember the age-old idiom: this too shall pass. We must also be sensitive to not add to parents’ already full plates. Meditation ...

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As the mother of a child born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, besides going through four open-heart surgeries and coding, my son has also had eight abdominal surgeries, including a Ladd’s procedure and resection of his colon.  William also functions without his appendix, spleen, and gall bladder. In addition to every kind of therapy imaginable, he has had to endure pamidronate infusions, daily shots, G-tube feedings, and TPN. Who knows ...

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As pediatricians who care for kids infected with influenza every winter, we look to fall with some degree of trepidation. As pumpkin spice hits the stores and leaves change, our first influenza cases emerge, ultimately affecting thousands of children throughout the season. This year, the flu season will overlap with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with the potential to cause more illness, missed days of school and work, and hospitalizations. While ...

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“I’m sorry to have to tell you this news,” I said to the couple, who were hugging each other as their baby slept in his bassinet. “I know it is very hard to hear. But I want you to know that we are here for you and your family, and our team will walk every step of this path with you.” There is no easy way to tell a parent that ...

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A 4-day-old term, formula-fed male infant with an uncomplicated prenatal course and no ABO set up or other identified cause of excessive jaundice was admitted to the hospital for phototherapy treatment of hyperbilirubinemia with a peak bilirubin of 19.5. He had an uneventful hospital course and was discharged on day 6 of life.  On day 8 of life, his mother called concerned that he was fussy and had a black ...

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Three months into my intern year, I was asked, “Tell us your name, where you went to medical school, and one thing you have learned about yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic.” For an icebreaker, the question caught me off guard. Moments later, the answer emerged almost as if I had summoned it myself - unassuming and unapologetic. “I learned where the light is.” This answer was also far more poetic and esoteric than the ...

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If you ignore the masks, the missing exam room toys, and the “astronaut doctor” PAPR on my head, you might think it was a regular day in my pediatric office. But it’s not. It’s a day where we are still all trying to push through the thickness in the air that is COVID. We can keep pushing and learn how to focus on what we need to do. We’ve done ...

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The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in North America, particularly among young people ages 20-29, is a cause for concern. The reason for this increase seems to be related to poor compliance with public health recommendations. The past few weeks have been filled with reports of university students, for example, having intimate gatherings at bars and dancing the night away at parties with nary a mask on ...

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"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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