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What I'm Reading + Inside Medicine Week In Review (February 25, 2023).
Reading recs, quick catch-up, and my appreciation to you!
Welcome back the the weekly “What I’m Reading” and “Inside Medicine Week-In-Review.” In this weekly feature, I share articles I’ve read in the last week in other publications which taught me something important, made me think deeply about something in a new way, covered something I would have liked to have written about (but have not yet had time), or I just thought you’d enjoy or find interesting. Plus, this URL also contains links (a one-stop shop) to everything I’ve covered in Inside Medicine this week, in case you missed it!
What I’m Reading:
These are items written elsewhere that I found important and interesting (note: some may be paywalled or require free registration):
One Year Inside a Radical New Approach to America’s Overdose Crisis. (Jeneen Interlandi, The New York Times).
Commentary: A massive investigative piece looking at safe injection sites and other approaches to the overdose crisis that has gone from bad to worse during this century. We will only turn the tide on substance use disorders (like opioid use) when we fully embrace the reality that the victims of these scourges have treatable diseases, instead of regarding them as bad people and doing no more thinking. This piece goes deep and I need to read it again. But read this excerpt, which describes someone responding to an overdose:
In the few minutes it took emergency services to respond, a small crowd had gathered, half of them cheering Mr. Roman on, the other half shouting obscenities. “Why you even wasting your time on that junkie?” one man yelled. “Stop helping these people and let them get what they deserve,” another said. Mr. Roman kept working the Ambu bag, but his hands were shaking now, and he was crying. “Yo,” Mr. Jones replied, full-throated. “This was somebody’s brother right here. Somebody’s son. Have some decency.” He said a quick, quiet prayer for the man’s soul and then did what he could to comfort his colleague.
‘Sleep as medicine,’ or how to make a hospital stay less unhealthy. (Katherine Ellison, The Washington Post).
Commentary: When patients get hospitalized, they are poked, prodded, and monitored. It’s all meant to be helpful. But at some point, patients need to be left to sleep. In fact, when I was briefly hospitalized for a skin infection seven years ago, I actually banned the nurses and technicians from entering my room the second night (other than for IV antibiotics). No labs. No vital signs. Nada. (I was not in much danger after the first night). The second night I actually got some sleep and felt better enough to go home that morning. Here’s a great story about how sleep needs to be prioritized over low-yield medical checks at 4am.
How Much Did Celebrities Influence Public Opinion on COVID? (Michael DePeau-Wilson, MedPage Today).
Commentary: I spent many hours of my life pushing back against celebrities spreading medical b.s. on social media. Whether it was Elon Musk hawking hydroxychloroquine, Aaron Rodgers sewing doubt about vaccines, or Doctor Oz disgracing himself and all of medicine, my responsible colleagues and I have had our hands full. Now researchers have looked into just how toxic this all was. You’ll wish you’d never heard of so many people you’ve heard of.
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Tweet of the week:
(Yes, I’m still on Twitter, so you don’t have to be):
As some of you know, I’ve gotten interested in OpenAI and ChatGPT. My goal is to see how useful it might be to me in various ways. This tweet rings true to me. When I interact with AI, I find that one of the most important things is how I phrase things. That by itself is a fascinating aspect of this brave new world. Apparently, I am not alone:
Inside Medicine Week In Review:
This is meant to be a convenient way to find what we've covered this week (in case you missed anything or never got around to reading something you’d flagged). Here’s this week’s Inside Medicine entries. Please “like” and share them!
Wednesday: Masking Christopher Hitchens.
My weekly appreciation to you:
Thanks for liking and sharing the newsletter every day! That helps the content here gain further reach. And, as always, a special thanks to the upgraded subscribers who make such great comments. Increasingly, that’s the pulse of this newsletter, and I hope to see the community continue to grow so that the conversations can be even more robust.
Also, let me know if you have topics you’d like me to cover.
Have a great Saturday!