COVID-19: Physicians in Shackles
By ANISH KOKA, MD A number of politically tinged narratives have divided physicians during the pandemic. It would be unfortunate if politics obscured the major problem brought into stark relief by the pandemic: a system that marginalizes physicians and strips them of agency. In practices big and small, hospital-employed or private practice, nursing homes or hospitals, there are serious issues raising their heads for doctors and their patients. No masks for you When I walked into my office Thursday, March 12th, I assembled the office staff for the first time to talk about COVID. The prior weekend had been awash with scenes of mayhem in Italy, and I had come away with the dawning realization that my wishful thinking on the virus from Wuhan skipping us was dead wrong. The US focus had been on travel from China and other Far East hotspots. There was no such limitation on travel from Europe. The virus had clearly seeded Italy and possibly other parts of Europe heavily, and now the US was faced with the very real possibility that there was significant community spread that had occurred from travelers from Europe and Italy over the last month. I had assumed that seeing no cases in our hospitals and ICUs by early March meant the virus had been contained in China. That was clearly not the case. Our testing apparatus had also largely been limited in the US to symptomatic patients who had been to high-risk countries. If Europe was seed...
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