Curious about Everything

Category: Healthcare

About one in five healthcare workers has left medicine since the pandemic started. Why healthcare workers are quitting in droves

It’s not just the US. This is also happening in Canada, Europe, the UK…

Ed Yong / The Atlantic »

Health-care workers, under any circumstances, live in the thick of death, stress, and trauma. “You go in knowing those are the things you’ll see,” Cassandra Werry, an ICU nurse currently working in Idaho, told me. “Not everyone pulls through, but at the end of the day, the point is to get people better. You strive for those wins.” COVID-19 has upset that balance, confronting even experienced people with the worst conditions they have ever faced and turning difficult jobs into unbearable ones.

In the spring of 2020, “I’d walk past an ice truck of dead bodies, and pictures on the wall of cleaning staff and nurses who’d died, into a room with more dead bodies,” Lindsay Fox, a former emergency-medicine doctor from Newark, New Jersey, told me. At the same time, Artec Durham, an ICU nurse from Flagstaff, Arizona, was watching his hospital fill with patients from the Navajo Nation. “Nearly every one of them died, and there was nothing we could do,” he said. “We ran out of body bags.”

Most drugs for COVID-19 are either useless, incrementally beneficial, or—as with the new, promising antivirals—mostly effective in the disease’s early stages. And because people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 tend to be much sicker than average patients, they are also very hard to save—especially when hospitals overflow. Many health-care workers imagined that such traumas were behind them once the vaccines arrived. But plateauing vaccination rates, premature lifts on masking, and the ascendant Delta variant undid those hopes. This summer, many hospitals clogged up again. As patients waited to be admitted into ICUs, they filled emergency rooms, and then waiting rooms and hallways. That unrealized promise of “some sort of normalcy has made the feelings of exhaustion and frustration worse,” Bettencourt told me.

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The discovery of insulin

 

At the beginning of the 20th century, a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. Starvation diets were employed to delay the life-threatening symptoms of diabetes, but patient death was inevitable.

Beginning on May 17, 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles Best, under the direction of J. J. R. Macleod, isolated what would later be known as insulin in a lab at the University of Toronto. Their extract was further purified and made safe for human injection by James Collip.

Thirteen-year-old Leonard Thompson was selected to receive their first human trial, the results of which would go on to save the lives of millions around the world.

More information about the Discovery of Insulin at the The Canadian Encyclopedia »

Dr. Jillian Horton » I’m tired of kindness gaslighting

Dr. Jillian Horton

Dr. Jillian Horton

Dr. Jillian Horton, Globe and Mail »

I had some pretty toxic feelings on Sept. 1. Hundreds of anti-vaxxers were gathered in all their lack of glory on the street outside the hospital where I work, repeating this stunt on Sept. 13 at hospitals across Canada. My co-workers and I were incredulous. Their presence outside our facilities was too callous to be real.

How arrogant, how tone deaf would it have been of me if I’d urged my exhausted colleagues to meet them with “kindness?” And who believes that people intent on screaming outside a children’s hospital would receive directions from Jesus himself if he happened to be in the neighbourhood?

University of Oxford is working on a cancer vaccine

University of Oxford »

Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research are building on the success of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 to develop a vaccine to treat cancer. Researchers have designed a two-dose therapeutic cancer vaccine using Oxford’s viral vector vaccine technology.

When tested in mouse tumour models, the cancer vaccine increased the levels of anti-tumour T cells infiltrating the tumours and improved the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. Compared to immunotherapy alone, the combination with the vaccine showed a greater reduction in tumour size and improved the survival of the mice.

Human trials will begin this year.

Dying in the name of vaccine freedom

NY Times via YouTube »

In the video above, Alexander Stockton, a producer on the Opinion Video team, explores two of the main reasons the number of Covid cases is soaring once again in the United States: vaccine hesitancy and refusal.

“It’s hard to watch the pandemic drag on as Americans refuse the vaccine in the name of freedom,” he says.

Seeking understanding, Mr. Stockton travels to Mountain Home, Ark., in the Ozarks, a region with galloping contagion and — not unrelated — abysmal vaccination rates.

He finds that a range of feelings and beliefs underpins the low rates — including fear, skepticism and a libertarian strain of defiance.

This doubt even extends to the staff at a regional hospital, where about half of the medical personnel are not vaccinated — even while the intensive care unit is crowded with unvaccinated Covid patients fighting for their lives.

Mountain Home — like the United States as a whole — is caught in a tug of war between private liberty and public health. But Mr. Stockton suggests that unless government upholds its duty to protect Americans, keeping the common good in mind, this may be a battle with no end.

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