National Doctors’ Day 2020- battling the COVID-19 pandemic

Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the biggest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic

National Doctors’ Day

Did you know there is a national day to honor physicians? In 1990, the U.S. Congress established a National Doctors’ Day, first celebrated on March 30, 1991.

The first Doctors’ Day observance was March 30, 1933, in Winder, Georgia. The idea came from a doctor’s wife, Eudora Brown Almond,  and the date was the anniversary of the first use of general anesthetic in surgery.

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Doctors’ Day 2020

But Doctors’ Day 2020 will be somber for not only U.S. doctors, but for physicians all over the world. This year we are all working together against the toughest medical foe any of us have ever faced- the novel coronavirus pandemic.

March 30 is Doctors' Day

You may not have a chance to honor your doctor in person, but you can commit to doing your part to establish a trusting, respectful relationship with your doctors. It will be good for both of you.

a medical person holding a stethoscope

how to improve communication with your doctors-

Be open and honest about your medical history,lifestyle, and concerns. 

Sometimes patients leave out important information due to forgetting, thinking it’s not important, embarrassment, or fear. But that may be the very piece of data I need to pinpoint what’s wrong.

So tell the doctor

  1. If you can’t do something you’re asked to do
  2. If you can’t afford medication, tests, or treatment
  3. If you are afraid of a test or treatment
  4. If other doctors are caring for you
  5. Your social habits-alcohol use, smoking, sexual behavior

Learn more tips on talking with your doctor here-

How to talk to your doctor to improve your medical care a male doctor holding a tablet

Give details about your problem, explain what you feel

I find that patients often have difficulty describing how they feel. They may say they hurt, cough, itch or get short of breath, but give few details. Maybe because we use  text messaging with its brevity, abbreviations and emoticons. We have forgotten how to use descriptive words.

I don’t think we doctors expect our patients to always recite a rehearsed narrative  about “why I came to the doctor today.” But it does help if you come prepared to answer questions as specifically as possible.

You might try thinking about your problem using the PQRST mnemonic. It will help your doctor identify possible causes for your symptoms, and may also help you understand your problem and even suggest ways you can help yourself.

Find out what PQRST means at this post-

How to tell your doctor what’s wrong with you.

Female doctor looking at an xray
Recognize your doctors are people first

As physicians, our patients’ “social histories” help us understand factors in your life that impact your health -where you live, your job, your family, your hobbies . Besides that, we enjoy getting to know you, especially the things that make you and your life unique and interesting. That feeling can go both ways.

a woman in white coat with mask over mouth

Exchanging a few social words can make the encounter more satisfying for you and your doctor. Some of us will be more open about sharing our personal lives, and some subjects may be off limits. But I don’t think any of us will object to polite,  caring interest in our lives outside of medicine.  

You may cry when you read about a unique doctor-patient relationship in this post-

A simple way to help your doctor beat burnout

Finally, in honor of Doctors’ Day, meet some physicians with unique experiences to share, just a few of the many doctors who work tirelessly to share the HEART of health.

INTERNATIONAL HEALTHCARE

Dr. Kent Brantly awoke feeling ill- muscle aches, fever, sore throat, headache and nausea. As his condition progressively worsened to include difficulty breathing, he learned the cause of his illness- the Ebola virus. Having spent the past few weeks caring for patients caught up in the Ebola epidemic that swept Liberia in the spring of 2014, Dr. Brantly had contracted the disease himself, and would likely die, as almost all victims do.

Continue this story at-

Surviving Ebola, “Called for Life”- Dr. Kent Brantly

affiliate link

 DISASTER HEALTHCARE

When she applied for a position in New York City at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), Dr. Judy Melinek never imagined that decision would plunge her into the nightmare of September 11, 2001. She was at the ME office that day when the Twin Towers were attacked and fell, killing thousands of people.

She and the other staff collaborated with the team of investigators who worked night and day identifying remains of the victims, a task she vividly describes in the book. This was basically their only job, since the cause of death was for the most part irrelevant, and impossible to determine. Sometimes they had only a small body part, as little as a finger, to extract DNA to identity a victim. Such identification was critical to bring closure to the families who lost loved ones, people who left for work that day, and never came home.

Read more about Dr. Melinek at this review of her book-

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and The Making of a Medical Examiner- a review of words worth sharing

Meet the 91 year old still practicing physician, whose grandfather was a slave- Melissa Freeman, M.D.

Photos in this post are from the LIGHTSTOCK.COM collection, an affiliate link. Consider Lightstock for your photo and graphic needs. You will get quality media and help support the mission of this blog-to inform and inspire us all to discover the HEART of health.

exploring the HEART of dedicated physicians

Join me on Facebook March 30 through April 3 where I share stories about physicians past and present who share the HEART of health every day.

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

                              Dr. Aletha 

New York City: music, museums, monuments, and medicine

“For generations, we cooperated to live in this small space. Now cooperation has helped us keep living. “

One of my favorite vacations ever was to New York City. I was curious about it but not sure I wanted to go there. But when my son’s work took him there for a year, I decided it was time to visit him and the city. And I am so glad I went. It was magical.

lady, 2 men posing together in a restaurant
good food, great company, grand city


Safest big city: After its horrors, New York City is (for now) a coronavirus success story

Deaths are rare now. Some days there are none, as the hospital ICUs scale down. And a network of scaled-up clinics and hospitals administer tens of thousands of daily tests,… Credit the collective discipline of staying apart and wearing masks, and leadership decisions holding off on opening bars and indoor dining. For generations, we cooperated to live in this small space. Now cooperation has helped us keep living. 

New York Daily News

A Natural Woman

I reviewed Carole King’s memoir, A Natural Woman. Carole was born in Manhattan, attended school in New York City, and started her musical career there. A musical about her life, Beautiful, plays on Broadway. (I saw Beautiful in Tulsa.)

couple in front of THE LION KING sign
We saw THE LION KING in New York

Working Stiff -a book review to remember 9/11

Another memoir, Working Stiff, happened in New York City. Dr. Judy Melinek and her husband T.J. Mitchell chronicled her work as a medical examiner with the NYC Medical Examiner’s office following the Trade Center attacks on 9/11.

New York City at night
New York City by night from the Empire State Building


NEW YORK CITY: MUSIC, MUSEUMS, MONUMENTS, AD MEDICINE-watercresswords.com

Sometimes Amazing Things Happen:Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward by Elizabeth Ford, M.D. 

I read this book in which  Dr. Elizabeth Ford reviewed her career as a psychiatrist at Bellevue Hospital, where she cared for  mentally ill patients in the criminal justice system of New York City.

When the hospital flooded and lost power during Hurricane Sandy she and the dedicated staff fought to get permission to  evacuate the prisoner patients who languished for days in a ward without running water or hot food.

What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear– a book review

Dr. Danielle Ofri has a special interest in and writes about the patient- physician relationship . She is an attending physician at Bellevue Hospital,  Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, and writes for The New York Times.

She has written several books; I reviewed this one.

Pandemic– a book review

Medical writer Sonia Shah reviews the history of the cholera epidemic of NYC among others in her book Pandemic.

MUSEUM-BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
100 DRESSES
Our Tuneful Heritage


jewelry and ceramic figurines in a store window
window shopping


I hope you enjoyed this post.

exploring New York City and the HEART of health

Thanks for following this blog. If you’re visiting, I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me. I also want you to find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest , Instagram, and LinkedIn .

Dr. Aletha