REAL PHYSICIANS DISCUSS RECENT HEALTHCARE HEADLINES
Below is an excerpt from the full conversation, which is available on epmonthly.com. Have a story you want discussed? Sound off @epmonthly or email [email protected]
Across the country, providers rally in support of Black Lives Matter movement
I was raised to not see skin color, but the heart and mind of a person. It is sad in the year 2020 we keep reliving history. Bias was and still is a real issue and has reached a true boiling point. It’s no longer good enough to be a non-racist, and in my growth as a human being have realized that I must aspire to be an anti-racist. #blacklivesmatter
—– Salim R. Rezaie, MD
Of course, every provider will rally to show that black lives matter. That conversation is long overdue. But the Black Lives Matter Global Network is promoting a lot more than that. I would encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with the “What We Believe” section of their website before endorsing the movement proper.
–Mark Plaster, MD, JD
The world agrees that former officer Derek Chauvin’s actions were unacceptable. These rallies don’t end with Derek Chauvin’s actions, though. They allege that all police have those same bad motives. Even ACEP is alleging that this country, which includes all ACEP members, exhibits “structural racism.” A month ago, we were cheering police and other first responders for their heroic bravery during COVID. Literally overnight, those EXACT SAME heroes were being publicly reviled and accused of endemic brutality. Now police are being physically attacked all over the country and the Black Lives Matter movement is calling to defund (read that as “abolish”) police departments (https://blacklivesmatter.com/defundthepolice/). Those who dare to raise alternative opinions are hounded by angry mobs, accused of disingenuous motives, and pelted with ad hominem attacks (or worse). Anger has blinded many of us. We need to avoid casting aspersions and start believing in the goodness of humanity regardless of the actions of a malevolent few. When we repeatedly define the characteristics of any group by the behavior of the worst actors within that group, the end result will always be divisiveness, never unity.
– William Sullivan, DO, JD
My kids and I grew up in Lafayette Park, in the Mies van de Rohe units, a stone’s throw from Detroit Receiving Hospital and downtown Detroit. Life there was a kaleidoscope of colors, ethnicities, rainbows and professions. We were so lucky. I know, Detroit is [supposed to be]racist, but honestly our ‘neighborhood ‘showed that we can all live, love, eat, drink and laugh together. And guess what? The neighborhood thrives today as it did then. But it is easy to believe that things are better because we don’t see what really goes on outside of our private bubbles.
We don’t live in a bubble. Heart-wrenching stories of discrimination and evil are filling our airways, posts, books, and papers: The horrible slaughters in Wilmington, NC and Tulsa Oklahoma — what can we do to stop the destructive and humiliating episodes that seem to be part of African-American daily life? We should each try to do what we can, as we are able. In medicine, we are helping by inviting minority high school students to tour the ED and hospital and see what medicine is like; as mentors and advisors we can encourage minority students that they can thrive in our professional environment; we can work for diversity. We must do better and work together to make Black Lives Matter not just a dream, but a reality.
–Judith Tintinalli, MD, MS
Where do we go from here? We are facing another moment of truth in this country regarding social injustice but will this pass us by like so many before? As a country, we need to find a way to move beyond corporate platitudes and engage in the real and difficult discourse that enacts change. I hope that the Black Lives Matters movement is just the tip of the iceberg to begin confronting social injustice in our society. The biggest tragedy will be if we allow this moment to pass. As physicians and leaders in medicine, we need to ensure healthcare fully engages and the emergency department can be a bastion of quality care for all, free of bias and inequality.
–Drew Kalnow, DO
Unfortunately, bias is alive and well in 2020. In its many forms, none matters more now than #BlackLivesMatters. To say I am appalled by the actions of Officer Chauvin, along with the other recent acts of violence and police overstep against African Americans, would be an understatement. I along with other members of the EP Monthly Editorial Board and EM physicians around the country, I stand with those fighting against racism wherever it is found.
BLM was founded in response to the acquittal of an unarmed black student. This unfortunately was not the first time, nor the last time that a black person was unlawfully killed, with the case not appropriately prosecuted until public outcry. This is wrong, full stop, and cannot be tolerated in a civilized society. It doesn’t happen in isolation. There are structural norms that allow this and many other violent and non-violent forms of racism to be perpetuated. For instance, race and ethnicity data show that African American, Latino, and Native American individuals bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 related outcomes.
As physicians, this is our lane, because this problem has deep roots, and far-reaching implications that affect the health of our patients and the stability of our society.
There are enough struggles in life — being black should not be one of them. We will never effectively address this problem until we each individually step up to the plate and look inside our own hearts. As individuals, we all need to recognize and acknowledge pre-existing implicit bias – that is the first step toward changing it.
— Evie Marcolini, MD, FAAEM, FACEP, FCCM
Fitbit (yes THAT Fitbit) creates low cost emergency ventilator
Fitbit has created a low-cost, easy to use emergency ventilator that uses sensors and alarms to support patients requiring mechanical ventilation with an automated bag valve compression and patient monitoring. This device has already been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA. I wonder if it will buzz when you hit 10,000 breaths for the day?
—– Salim R. Rezaie, MD
Note that this device is not a conventional ventilator, but is instead a mechanism to repeatedly compress an Ambu bag. I would like to learn more about the mechanics. How long until the bag has to be changed? I can’t imagine that it could control settings for PEEP or different ventilation modes. Also, I’m waiting for the inevitable iPhone app that lets a patient’s contacts monitor a FitBit-ventilated patient’s respiratory status and oxygen level.
– William Sullivan, DO, JD
As one who is involved in medical care in underserved areas around the world, I’m always excited to see medical technology at lower cost.
–Mark Plaster, MD, JD