Healthcare workers on the frontlines during the COVID19 pandemic are likely to experience an increase in stress, fear and anxiety. In these challenging times it is especially important that we take stock of our mental health and practice managing our thoughts. Similar to other skills we learn in emergency medicine (EM) practice, mindfulness takes deliberate practice and repetition. A mantra can be one tool for creating mindfulness and focus. A mantra can serve as a solace to come back to when we feel overwhelmed, distracted, or exhausted. In this post, we will describe the practice of creating your own personal mantra.
“We still have a problem” Sheryl Sandberg alarms us in her influential 2010 TED Talk, Why we have too few women leaders. “Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world.” While women are getting more college degrees and graduate degrees, and more women are entering the workforce than ever before, when it comes to leadership positions, women do not come close to matching their male counterparts. “The blunt truth is that men still run the world.”
A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies  is the brilliant debut collection of stories by physician turned-author John Murray. Inspired by his background in science and medicine, the novel focuses on the lives of researchers, physicians, nurses, explorers and collectors, who share a love for detail and scientific explanation. Murray’s stories are a wonderful balance of fiction and facts, which take the reader to the most enthralling places around the globe: from the slums of Bombay during a Cholera epidemic to remote areas of the key west; from the peaks of the Himalayas to a United Nations refugee camp in Africa. Entomology, microbiology, and neuroscience are among the areas of expertise described in this book. Despite an obsession by each of Murray’s characters to categorize and create order of the world through their field of study, the core of the stories deals with an emotional hurdle that requires the protagonist to respond to a more chaotic inner and personal world. (more…)
“Death, of course, is not a failure. Death is normal. Death may be the enemy, but it is also the natural order of things. I knew these truths abstractly, but I didn’t know them concretely – that they could be truths not just for everyone but also for this person right in front of me, for this person I was responsible for.” Atul Gawande, Being Mortal.
Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis is a severe and treatable immune-mediated disorder which presents with a rapid progression of psychiatric and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Although only first reported as a diagnosis in 2007, an exponential number of cases have since been described, suggesting that the disease is not rare but rather under-diagnosed. Emergency physicians play an important role in recognizing this disorder, as prognosis is largely dependent on early treatment with immunotherapy.
“Late that afternoon, Quentin jogged along the Crissy Field promenade without paying much attention to the dogs frolicking on the beach or the windsurfers leaning low on their boards off Fort Point. Since Ralph was on call and not coming home, he reheated leftover spaghetti for his dinner and curled up on their bed with a textbook to study the surgical management of hip fractures. He would have liked to read about the nonsurgical management of hip fractures as well or, more important, about how to approach patients who can’t talk, or what to do when you’ve made an inexcusable mistake, but his book didn’t have chapters on those topics.”
– A History of Present Illness , Louise Aronson