Worth reading: On Schmaltz

An article on lost heritage and Jewish identity by the pediatrician Daniel Summers. On Schmaltz How a Jewish cookbook helped me recover my lost heritage I was fortunate enough not to have struggled with identity in the same way pediatrician Daniel Summers did in his childhood, realizing that he was gay in an evangelical, fundamentalist…

Worth reading: Less is more in intensive care

Catherine Auriemma et al. writing in Intensive Care Medicine: “The notion that ‘less is (or may be) more’ in intensive care medicine has been contemplated by experts for decades. However, not until Kox and Pickkers’ review in 2013 had there been careful consideration of the evidence supporting this theory.1 Their thought-provoking article focused specifically on…

COVID-19: How unusual is the age distribution of deaths?

The University of Oxford’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine recently compared the age distribution of COVID-19 deaths with deaths from the 2009 flu pandemic (which is estimated to have killed 150,000-575,000 worldwide).1 One remarkable aspect of the 2009 flu was that it resulted in disproportionately greater mortality among younger and generally healthier people than in a…

Worth reading: The Case for Waking

Poetry and medicine, from Janis Lou Harrington in JAMA: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2757230 The Case for Waking “I. Beside my husband’s ICU bed, I plead my case for waking, hold my palm flat as a bible, place his warm hand on mine. His face inscrutable beneath a bandage wreath, he breathes on his own, his heart pumps, his…

COVID-19: Have high hospitalization rates made things worse?

While the 2002-2004 SARS coronavirus typically led to more severe clinical presentation than seen with COVID-19 (14-20% of patients required ventilatory support, and the case fatality rate was 9.2% compared to 4.1% and 5.6% respectively for COVID-19),1 this actually contributed to effective containment of the outbreak. High rates of nosocomial transmission and severity of presentation…

Worth reading: Communicating ICU Prognosis

A randomized trial published today in JAMA Network Open, with the useful visual abstract below. TL;DR: Participants who viewed videos using indirect or redirection language perceived the physician to be more optimistic than those who viewed a video of the physician answering the question directly. This is troubling because it suggests that that the families…

Worth reading: “My only crime is my face,” Perspective from Mary Oyama Mittwer and Miné Okubo

While browsing through an online museum exhibit, I came across an excerpt from this compelling article written during the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. I managed to find a scan of the full article hosted by the UC Berkeley Library. The writer describes her family’s internment experience until their release in 1943,…