Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

“This is worse than April,” Linda said.

My jaw dropped.

April was the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, and Linda and I had been together at the center of it.

“What do you mean?” I said. “How could it be worse?”

“Because I’m all alone.”

Linda* and I are both hospitalists — we specialize in patients admitted to the hospital — and since March we’ve cared for hundreds of patients with COVID-19.

In case you were locked in a basement in 2020 (and if you were, I’m a little jealous), there was a first wave of…

I have a friend with a serious autoimmune condition. She is at high risk of dying if she gets COVID-19.

But she can’t get the covid vaccine. Why not? Because she’s only 34 years old.

The New York Times recently published an interactive graphic to illustrate when each of us likely to become eligible for the vaccine. It’s simple and easy to read: a line of people snaking across your computer screen.

My friend with the autoimmune condition was near the back of that line.

While she waits, our federal and state governments are dropping the ball with vaccine distribution…

Photo by King Lip on Unsplash

I’m a doctor specializing in hospital medicine. As my colleague put it recently, “You’re the belle of the ball right now.”

A few weeks ago, I was heading to an overnight shift at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, in the East Village in New York City. I drove from my Brooklyn apartment into Manhattan (a 15-minute drive that would normally take an hour) and arrived at 6:55pm. I parked a few blocks from the hospital and walked up.

As I got closer I saw a fire engine. Fuck, I thought, there’s a fire at the hospital! A million ideas went through…

I’m a doctor, and right now I work in a hospital that only admits COVID-19 patients.

I surprised myself recently. I was supposed to be off for a week, but I texted my boss and asked if I could come in.

People have two reactions to this. First, they think I’m literally insane. There’s a raging pandemic that could kill you, and you volunteer to get more exposed? Dude, just sit on your couch and watch some Netflix! If not, you must actually have a death wish.

The second reaction is a swoon of gratitude. Oh, you doctors are so…

Where do you put your hope during a global health crisis?

I wrote here about how healthier people than usual are dying during this pandemic. It’s one reason this past month has been so difficult for doctors and nurses.

There’s another reason why this pandemic is hard on us. Again, it’s not only that people are dying. If it were just an increase in the numbers, that would certainly be tough to deal with.

The second reason this pandemic is so devastating is that you have no idea who is going to die.

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

This may sound weirdly braggy, but most doctors can tell when someone is getting close to death. Whether…

It’s actually not the deaths.

I’ve been a doctor for 10 years now. I’m a specialist in inpatient medicine — a hospitalist — which means that I only take care of people admitted to the hospital. I don’t do check-ups or well visits or primary care.

In other words, I only care for very sick people. Which means I see a lot of patients die.

These days, a lot of doctors are seeing a lot of patients die. It’s a horrifying time for us.

And an increase in the number of deaths may seem like a sufficient explanation for why this is so hard on…

“To make large sacrifices in big things is easy, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom capable of.” — Goethe

I was jogging yesterday evening when I heard a burst of applause. It was 7pm, and neighbors were clapping from their windows to show thanks for healthcare workers.

As a doctor caring for coronavirus patients at a Brooklyn hospital, you might have thought I would feel nothing but gratitude for this lovely gesture.

And while it was indeed heartwarming to see the show of support, my feelings were complex. Why? …

Cameron Page

Assistant Professor of Medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical School. Attending Physician at University Hospital of Brooklyn

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