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Showing posts from January, 2021

Variant COVID-19 Strains Coming to America

 This past week, I received my 2 nd Moderna vaccine uneventfully.  Leaving science aside for a moment, I marveled that a small amount of clear liquid thrust into my upper arm could shield me from a contagious and invisible invader.  Indeed, with the many public health failures we have suffered this past year, the development of safe and effective vaccines in record time has been a monumental scientific triumph.  Obviously, these successes were the result of decades of medical research and development that created a ladder that today’s scientists could ascend.  This is how medical science works.  While it is true that medical breakthroughs can occur ex nihilo – out of nothing – more typically new scientific achievement builds on prior successes and failures.  We've added a few more rungs this past year. Even with the advent of vaccines, this remains an uneasy time.   Yes, there will be additional vaccines added to the armamentarium.   Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine

Donald Trump and the Butterfly Effect

We are all familiar with the ‘butterfly effect’, describing a phenomenon when a seemingly trivial action – a whisper, a smile, a compliment or the fluttering of a butterfly’s wing – causes a soft ripple that can reach a distant continent.   You simply cannot calculate the power and reach of a simple act of kindness. Here’s how it works.   You are in line waiting to buy your first coffee of the day and you discover that the stranger ahead of you has paid for your order.   You are moved by this this simple act of generosity.   Your mood elevates.   You wonder why such an idea never occurred to you.   You ruminate over this on your drive to work.   You greet your secretary who has been under stress and very distracted over her spouse who is recovering at home after surgery.   You think about what that must be like for her and her family.   It’s Thursday morning and you send her home for the rest of the work week so she can help her spouse get well.   The secretary is overcome with grati

What Medicine Can Learn from the Airline Industry - Nothing

I have at times detoured from my typical medical commentaries to rail about the airline industry.   If I may borrow some phrasing from a legendary British Prime Minister, the flying experience is a hassle wrapped in a frustration inside a delay.   We arrive at the airport 2 hours early, drag ourselves through the TSA process, ambulate to the gate, pray the flight is on time, hope that they will not deem my luggage as unfit to carry on, march like snails onto the aircraft, test my lumbar disc strength as I hoist my bag into the overhead bin and then finally relax as I sink into a commodious and plush chair that could comfortably seat a gerbil.   Do I have to sit in the middle seat? And, if the flight is delayed, the inconvenienced passengers can expect no compensation. If my medical practice had adopted airline culture, we would have had no patients. Think of all the reading I could have accomplished!   If we made every office visit with us an unpleasant hassle, we w

What the COVID-19 Vaccine Meant to Me

 Although I am not a front-line worker, I do interface with several dozen patients each week.  The COVID-19 metrics in Ohio are all coursing in the wrong direction.  Over the past few months, several staff at work and personal friends have contracted the disease.  I’ve had a few close calls with patients whom I learned after an office visit with me were infected.  Thus far, I’ve managed to dodge the virus.   What weapon have I used to repel the invader?  See photo below.  Two weeks ago, I received my initial injection of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at my workplace.   I arrived at the appointed hour expecting to bare my upper arm for a quick puncture.   Not quite.   After entering the building, I was directed to the end of a long line which was trailing outside in the parking lot.   So, I took my place during the pleasant winter climate that all of us in Cleveland adore. Once I advanced into the building proper, I discovered that the experience reminded me of Disneyworld.     I am

Telemedicine is Here to Stay

Most of us recognize that Operation Warp Speed was the name given to COVID-19 vaccine development, which succeeded brilliantly and in record time.   Early on, no one predicted that by the end of 2020, two safe and highly effective vaccines would gain emergency use FDA approval.  There were other developments that also rolled out at warp speed.   Telemedicine is now omnipresent.   Prior to the pandemic, telemedicine existed in pockets throughout the country, but most physicians and patients had never participated in it.   The plan was for it to gain a much larger footprint in the medical landscape in the years to come.   Instead, the transformation occurred in weeks.   Physicians and patients who previously would have rejected the notion of a distant and impersonal virtual visit were now enthusiastic participants.   Patients and caregivers of all ages became quite conversant with Zoom and other similar platforms.     'The Doctor Will See You Now' The urgency for warp speed a

Happy New Year! -A Look Back & A Look Ahead

                                                                                               Division                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Heartache                                                                                                                                Death                                                 Pain                                                                           2020                                                                                                                                                        Lies