Replace the ‘cold steel’ of hospital-bed shackles with the warmth of compassion

Dr. Jessica Zitter Published in STAT “Why do they have that cold steel on my son’s ankle?” The father of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was newly paralyzed from the waist down, wanted to know why his son was shackled to his hospital bed. Jacob Blake had been shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wis., [...]

2020-12-04T17:51:04+00:00December 4th, 2020|

The Evolution of the Robot Doctor

Dr. Jessica Zitter Published in The New York Times In March 2019, a robot entered a patient’s room in California and a doctor on its screen told him and his granddaughter that he was dying. This experience, posted to the granddaughter’s Facebook page, was treated as a scandal. Newscasters questioned the humanity of a health care system that would do [...]

2020-12-04T17:52:07+00:00December 1st, 2020|

Coronavirus Experience Shows The Limits of Hospital Care

My friend Jim called me with urgency in his voice; his elderly father, living alone in New York City during the peak of the pandemic, had a multiday fever and was losing weight. He wanted to know, should he take him to the hospital? My typical response in this case — sudden illness in an otherwise healthy person — would [...]

2020-06-10T19:24:08+00:00June 10th, 2020|

Covid or No Covid, It’s Important to Plan

By Jessica Nutik Zitter, M.D. April 16, 2020 My phone rang with a FaceTime video, and my cousin’s face popped into view. We spent the first few minutes expressing our mutual disbelief and shock over Covid-19, acknowledging the insanity and underlying terror of these unprecedented circumstances. We joked about how our anxious mothers, with their endless reminders of dressing warm and [...]

2020-12-04T17:53:01+00:00April 16th, 2020|

The Never-Ending Mistreatment of Black Patients

My patient would never breathe on his own again, but he didn’t know it yet. Years of smoking landed him in our emergency room several times a month. Now the only thing lying between him and the grave was a breathing machine. As his I.C.U. doctor, I had done everything possible to liberate him from the ventilator. Nothing had worked. Whenever [...]

2020-10-13T16:32:57+00:00June 29th, 2019|

How Storytelling Can Help Young Doctors Become More Resilient

Jessica Zitter, MD, MPH Harvard Business Review I recently stood in front of a group of emergency room residents at my hospital and asked an unusual question. “Has any of you ever judged your attending physician for not trying hard enough to save a patient’s life?” Then I looked around the room. But like every time I’d given [...]

2018-10-17T02:13:37+00:00October 17th, 2018|

What’s ignored in the debate over aid in dying

This undated photo provided by the Maynard family shows Brittany Maynard. The terminally ill California woman moved to Portland, Ore., to take advantage of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, which was established in the 1990s. Maynard wants to pass a similar law in California and has turned to advocacy in her final days. (AP Photo/Maynard Family) Photo: Courtesy Maynard [...]

2018-09-13T00:07:06+00:00June 18th, 2018|

Hard Cases: Autonomy Run Amok

Dr. Jessica Zitter LinkedIn Healthcare Channel – Hard Cases The patient in ICU bed 13 had been receiving progressively invasive treatments for an incurable disease. She was in her early 30s, and the medics found her in septic shock in a crack house in Newark, New Jersey. The dirty needles lying next to her had transmitted bacteria from her skin [...]

2018-02-28T20:25:35+00:00February 28th, 2018|

Hard Cases: Locked-In & Shut Out

Dr. Jessica Zitter LinkedIn Healthcare Channel - Hard Cases The woman was 47 years old and had suffered a devastating stroke three and a half weeks prior. It was the type of stroke which hit the nether regions of the brain, deep in the white matter, where the mysteries of consciousness, speech, and movement lie intertwined. Through a [...]

2018-02-21T19:28:06+00:00February 21st, 2018|

5 Things I’ve Learned from Caring for the Dying

Dr. Jessica Zitter LinkedIn Healthcare Channel I have been a critical care physician for over twenty years. Over that time, I have cared for thousands of patients.  Some I have saved, and celebrated as they left the hospital to resume their lives. Others have died, as one would expect with patients suffering from serious illness. But too many [...]

2018-01-11T21:35:08+00:00January 11th, 2018|
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