articles

  • Why a nurse’s recent homicide conviction could make America’s hospitals even less safe

    Far from the Nashville courtroom where nurse RaDonda Vaught was convicted of homicide for giving a patient the wrong drug, medical experts and talking heads have mostly asked the right questions. Will the case have a chilling effect on the nursing profession? Did software system issues at Vaught’s hospital contribute to the tragedy? Aren’t chronically […]

    June 17, 2022
  • The threat of long COVID means we can’t pull punches on vaccines, tests, and masks

    Their stories are shared through social media, the fear and agony front and center in almost every conversation: breathing issues, chronic pain, unexplained bruising, hallucinations, brain fog. “No way to describe besides six daggers in my back,” wrote one. Added another, a doctor exposed on the job in 2020, “I am a shell of my former self.” Of the many facets […]

    April 19, 2022
  • New Cases of Childhood Diabetes Rose during the Pandemic

    The little girl felt poorly, but both she and her mom thought they knew the reason. Aliyah Davis, just nine years old, was battling COVID. Fatigued, repeatedly sick to her stomach, with no sense of smell or taste and some shortness of breath, she seemed to have a near-textbook case of the virus. Aliyah had […]

    April 15, 2022
  • When Is It Safe to Have Sex after COVID?

    Recently, my husband endured a mild case of COVID—a cough, a sore throat, some aches and fatigue. Fortunately, he is vaccinated and boosted, and he recovered quickly. On day 10 after infection, he produced a negative rapid antigen test. Cool! So when can we have sex? This, it turns out, is a more complicated question […]

    March 9, 2022
  • Some COVID Patients Need Amputations to Survive

    In late summer Candice Davis and her brother, Starr, returned to South Philadelphia from a trip to Mexico, and Davis quickly knew that something was wrong. Both she and Starr felt ill, and both subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. But Starr, who had been immunized, experienced only mild flulike symptoms and felt better within a […]

    January 12, 2022
  • Texting Thumb, Trigger Finger, Gamer’s Thumb and Other Smartphone Injuries

    As a longtime emergency department physician, I have a case study I’d like to share with you. The patient’s right thumb knuckle is inflamed, swollen and often painful, especially toward the end of the day, and the inside part is a little numb. Her grip is slightly weakened, and her palm aches. Her middle finger […]

    November 19, 2021
  • Pregnant and Unvaccinated: Delta’s Deadly Toll

    She was having trouble getting a full breath. That was the first thing. The day before, Autumn Carver, seven months pregnant with her third child, had enjoyed a CrossFit class. Now a simple cough was compounded by the breathing issues, which rapidly worsened. It wasn’t long before her husband, Zach Carver, took Autumn to Community Hospital […]

    October 1, 2021
  • Critical Care Doctors Are in Crisis

    As a critical care physician, Kelli Mathew knew her days were spinning in the wrong direction. For one thing, her well of empathy was dry. When unvaccinated people came to her, suffering the effects of COVID, Mathew began snapping back. She had run out of comforting or even neutral things to say. “In my mind, […]

    August 9, 2021
  • How Designer DNA Is Changing Medicine

    For as long as he could remember, Razel Colón had known pain. It ripped down his neck and back, shot through his legs and traveled on to his feet, often leaving him writhing and incapacitated. He suffered occasional attacks of “acute chest,” in which breathing suddenly becomes difficult. “It felt like an elephant was sitting […]

    July 17, 2021
  • How the Pandemic Roiled the Foster Care System

    For the first four years of her childhood, Vanessa Brunetta’s family was homeless. Later, her family was rocked by domestic violence to the point that “my older brother and I would spend most nights at a neighbor’s house or locking ourselves in our room,” she says. By age eight, she’d been placed in foster care; in […]

    June 27, 2021