A doctor deciphers the jargon so you can navigate the age of open notes

My edition of a popular meme. Whether or not I am wise is up for debate; the quality of my handwriting is not.

On April 5th, 2021 a federal law titled the 21st Century Cures Act took effect mandating that clinical notes be made available to patients free of charge. While many medical facilities were already in the practice of releasing laboratory and imaging results to patients electronically, these results were often reviewed…


A doctor warns about the impact of overprescribing

Photo: Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Seven percent of individuals in the United States are prescribed levothyroxine, a synthetic version of the hormone, thyroxine, which is the main chemical produced by the body’s thyroid gland. The supplemental hormone consistently ranks among the top three prescriptions in the U.S. each year. In the past few days working…


Image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay

A pediatrician and internal medicine physician weighs in on a recently identified vaccine side-effect.

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 15 other medical organizations** who form the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued a statement supporting Covid vaccination despite new data suggesting an association of myocarditis and pericarditis with vaccine…


A mural in Copenhagen signed by fans in support of Eriksen, Image courtesy of the Associated Press

A physician demystifies the event of a cardiac arrest and explains how it can be treated and even prevented.

“Damn it, I’m only 29 years old!” declared Christian Eriksen shortly after returning to consciousness. He awoke to find himself sprawled on a football pitch surrounded by concerned teammates and medical staff.

Seconds earlier the limp body of Denmark’s star midfielder had been subject to chest compressions, rescue breaths, and…


In addition to the fact that it makes me feel like a magician

Photo: Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels

Right now, I’m just speaking into my phone and making sure the words show up correctly on the screen. They usually do. My phone’s voice recognition is definitely more accurate than it was when I first tried talk-to-text about six years ago.

This story isn’t about finding the most advanced…


Throw out the tedious calculus. It’s not that complicated. The simple answer to the question on everyone’s mind:

Photo: Andrea Lightfoot/Unsplash

Herd immunity to Covid-19 is an enigma. It’s universally sought after regardless of party affiliation, religious creed, or level of vaccine acceptance. Think about it. Are you pro-herd immunity or anti-? Pro, of course! At the same time, it’s so poorly understood. How many people does it require? Is it…


A new study shows just how bad long Covid can be

Photo: Jonathan Rados/Unsplash

A surprisingly large portion of patients who have suffered from Covid-19 continue to experience concerning symptoms and complications months after their initial infection. Increasingly, this prolonged battle is becoming known as long Covid, and those who suffer from it have been dubbed long haulers. …


Hospitals across the country are seeing fewer sick kids; a pediatrician explores why

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

It’s a Friday in April, and after a week on service, I’m down to one pediatric patient in the hospital. Not that I’m wishing for sick children, but as a pediatric and adult hospitalist physician, this isn’t what I’m used to. …


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When it comes to migraines, could the heart of the matter be a matter of the heart?

Migraines headaches affect up to 12% of the US population. Identifying effective therapeutics for those who suffer from migraines can be challenging, and no one medication has proven to be a cure-all. …


A physician looks at how our immune systems respond to the Covid vaccine

Photo: RF._.studio/Pexels

I received my second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 4th of this year. I donated blood on March 19th. The donation center routinely checks for antibodies to Covid-19 in their donors. To my surprise, I was antibody negative. Does that mean my vaccine didn’t work?

The short…

Bo Stapler, MD

Health & science writer on Elemental & other pubs. Hospitalist physician in internal medicine & pediatrics. Interpreter of medical jargon. bostapler.medium.com

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