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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Honoring our nurses


From 1993 to 2013, I served three intermittent tenures with the Nevada / Utah Medicare QIO, HealthInsight (hospitalization outcomes analyst, Novell network administrator, Health IT workflow advisor). Most of my colleagues, including senior management, were nurses. I could not have more respect for their abilities and dedication. The medical system could not function at all without them. That has never been more clear, and as we head into our dark winter of renewed Covid-19 incidence and prevalence acceleration, it will become acutely more evident. We now have numerous reports of acute care staffing shortages (nurses predominantly among them).


I have been an ICU nurse for 17 years. I never thought I'd leave. Now I'm not sure I'll ever go back. 

I've been on the front lines of Covid-19 since it broke out eight months ago. More than 250,000 people have now died in the United States. Case numbers are rising in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.And health care workers like me are burning out. 

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump spends his weekends golfing, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent the Senate home for Thanksgiving vacation a day early, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just advised against holiday travel. 

I wish medical workers could take vacation days, too. I ran out of those months ago, when I contracted Covid-19 treating patients in the ICU. I'm exhausted. I'm angry. I'm sick of watching patients die. I'm tired of comforting families feeling guilty over the birthday party that cost their loved one's life. 

I finally hit my breaking point and recently quit doing direct patient care in a hospital setting. Without sufficient personal protective equipment and staffed hospital beds, a national plan for testing and sufficient relief for those hardest hit by the virus, including hospitals, I didn't have the strength to continue...


Prime movers of this initiative.

Notwithstanding that I'm Irish, I have always dug the hell out of Latinx music. The Estefans are totally awesome.

Below, my friends' band in Las Vegas. Eclectic top-shelf salsa / funk / jazz. I'd love to see Emilio and Gloria sit in with them.

Read a review in Science. Had to get it.
In 2019, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index ranked the United States as the most prepared country in the world for a pandemic. Just over a year later, the United States has not only failed to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many consider the nation's response to the pandemic to be one of the worst in the world. Was the GHS Index biased? Or did the country's preparedness change drastically during this period?

Answering these questions requires understanding the pandemic as a complex system— one that reveals our greatest strengths and most debilitating weaknesses. In his provocative new book, Apollo's Arrow, Nicholas Christakis uses such an approach, drawing on his experience as both a hospice physician and a leading network scientist to integrate societal, technological, and biological data into a single cohesive narrative of the unfolding pandemic. Not surprisingly, the book is far-ranging, covering relevant aspects of epidemiology, human behavior, social networks, technology, immunology, and applied mathematics...

...There is no shortage of books that argue that pandemics are complex or ones that discuss the public health issues raised in Apollo's Arrow, and it is unlikely that there will be a shortage of future works that dissect domestic and international responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. What sets Christakis's work apart is that it was written in real time by an expert who astutely shows how pandemics are as much about our societies, values, and leaders as they are about pathogens.


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