5 things that keep me awake at night! By Dr Elizabeth Hughes MD
By Dr Elizabeth Hughes MD
As a medical doctor there are certain things that keep me awake at night. I thought it may be useful to share them with you all.
Feel free to sound off in the comments section, or on Discord, about what keeps you awake at night or if any of this resonates with you!
1. Funding and furloughing
Why, in the middle of a pandemic, are hospitals furloughing and even laying off physicians and trained medical staff? Why have more hospitals (in the USA) declared bankruptcy between March 1 and June 30, 2020 than in all of 2019?
2. Why hasn't anyone asked me to help?
I'm licensed to practice medicine in 6 states all across the US, many of them rural and medically underserved. Why has not a single medical board or medical society in any of those states reached out to me asking if I can provide medical coverage? Or even done the simplest of data collection on physician availability, willingness to work, skill set, etc. in preparation for possible future need? Would I pick up and go to Alaska or West Virginia? Probably not. But if asked to go to Yakima County, here in Washington where coronavirus cases are spiking (at the time of writing), to provide some much needed relief to overworked doctors, I'd probably volunteer. Why hasn't someone asked?
3. Liquor stores are now essential businesses
When it's known that alcohol consumption worsens acute respiratory distress syndrome and the WHO warns against alcohol consumption during the pandemic, why are liquor stores essential businesses?
4. Mandatory masks
If masks are essential for preventing infections, why aren't we being asked to wear them in our own homes, around our family? Research shows that a person is 6 to 7 times more likely to be infected by someone they live with, as opposed to other close contacts whom they don't live with, like a co-worker. (Please note that the study listed below was done in China in January and February of this year before social distancing had been strictly enforced.) If the goal is to contain the virus, wouldn't it make the most sense to wear a mask in your house?
5. Medication advice
Recent reports suggest that a common type of heartburn medicine called proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium) substantially increase risk of developing and dying from severe COVID. Why are these common medicines still sitting on my local drug store's shelves? Shouldn't they have been pulled from the market? Or at least made prescription only for a time?
What keeps you up at night?
By Dr Elizabeth Hughes, MD