My blog represents my personal experiences and perspectives. This includes many anecdotes from my medical practice. I have been scrupulous to anonymize these anecdotes and to avoid ever belittling or making fun of patients. (I often make fun of and criticize myself, my colleagues, and the institutions where I have worked.)

Using the CRAP test

Submitted by admin on Wed, 04/28/2021 - 06:30
I spend a great deal of time these days keeping up with the tsunami of information about SARS-CoV-2 (the virus) and COVID-19 (the illness), with a goal of sharing valid and useful information with others. I've taken to suggesting that people identify crap with the CRAP test:
 
Currency - the timeliness of the information:
● When was the information published or last updated?
● Have newer articles been published on your topic?

Humility

Submitted by admin on Tue, 03/09/2021 - 19:45
"A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator the smaller the fraction." 
 
~ Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) quote in Howard Eves, Return to Mathematical Circles

Responding to the 'but 99% survive' argument

Submitted by admin on Wed, 02/03/2021 - 06:06
Among the many candidates for arguments against taking action to protect our families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, communities and country from COVID, none make me angrier than the "but 99% survive" gambit. This argument is numerically illiterate (Mark Twain said “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so”), racist, ableist, and inhumane. Let me explain.
 

Feeding Chickadees

Submitted by PeterElias on Wed, 04/15/2020 - 19:49

Feeding chickadees
(February 2020)

 

It’s not that far, really.
Just off my back deck and down the hill
Through what I still remember as pasture for our mare,
To the little wooden foot bridge o’er the stream.
No, it’s not that far in steps, though in full winter
When the snow is newly deep, the going is slow and makes you wish
You’d bothered with your snow shoes.

My proposed treatment for our COVID-19 pandemic

Submitted by PeterElias on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 12:45

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across multiple spheres of American society is a novel event. Some have used the term black swan, Taleb's term for an event that can't be anticipated because it is outside the realm of experience. I prefer to think of it as a gray rhino, Michele Wucker's term for the big and obvious thing coming at you that you don't want to acknowledge. I think of this as a threat to our society writ large, not just as a threat to our economy or even just to public health. I think those narrow framings guarantee inadequate analysis and response.

Stay connected

Submitted by PeterElias on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 10:42

As the severity of the novel coronavirus becomes obvious to more and more people, and as they begin to grasp the depth and duration of the changes in daily life that will be required of all of us, it is worth thinking about the need to protect and strengthen the social fabric on which we all depend. In fact, the changes are likely to be so profound that they provide an opportunity for a 'reboot' into a new 'operating system' better designed for our future than our past.

This snippet nicely expresses what I hope anchors our core values going forward: