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 by providers prior to becoming available to patients. Now results must be released immediately.

Not surprisingly, I have already encountered a number of displeased patients who would have preferred hearing about, for example, a new lung nodule found on a CT scan, from their doctor rather than seeing it pop…

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 at the hospital, I noted that one-sixth of the patients I saw were taking levothyroxine. This finding wasn’t terribly surprising to me and seemed like a fairly average sampling based on prior experience.

What has been surprising to me, however, is the mounting evidence indicating that most levothyroxine prescriptions, as…

Image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay

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 administration. Here’s what they had to say, and here’s why I’m glad they said it:

The ACIP did not hide or inappropriately minimize the fact that vaccine reporting systems like VAERS and v-safe have revealed an association of myocarditis and pericarditis with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid vaccines — two…

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

“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 the electrical shock of a defibrillator in a desperate attempt to bring him back. Thousands at Parken stadium in Copenhagen and millions watching on television held their collective breath waiting for Eriksen to regain his.

A few minutes before halftime of Denmark’s Euro 2020 match against Finland on June 12th…

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 dictation software for a computer or promoting a phone that incorporates the best microphone. I’ll leave that to the tech experts. It’s about why, as an author, I like to speak my stories and why you might enjoy speaking yours too if you don’t already.

1. My writing is more relational

Right now, I am literally…

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 permanent or temporary? Will it actually change anything? When can I take this frickin mask off?!?

NFL quarterback Cam Newton once said, “Hindsight is always 50–50.” I don’t bring that up to disparage Mr. Newton. In fact, he was quick to correct his mixed metaphor just seconds later. …

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. Covid-19 differs from most other respiratory viruses in the sense that a lingering version exists, and scientists are working to better understand this emerging condition.

A manuscript from a recent study accepted for publication in the journal Nature was published online April 22. This report, authored by epidemiologists Ziyad Al-Aly and colleagues, provides unique insight into…

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. This isn’t what the entire country and much of the world are used to either.

Where Have All the Sick Children Gone? That was the title of a recent article by Scott D. Krugman, MD, an editorial board member for the renowned medical journal, Pediatrics. Dr. Krugman isn’t the only medical provider asking this question.

In mid-March of 2020…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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. Medical researchers are investigating an innovative method of non-medical treatment that, rather than targeting the brain directly, focuses on another vital organ — the heart.

A hole new approach


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 answer is, “no.” Here are two reasons why I’m not concerned, and if you find yourself in a similar situation, you need not worry either.

1) Antibody tests aren’t perfect

Not all antibody tests are the same. There are a number of different classes of antibodies or immunoglobulins (Ig). For instance, IgM is made by…

Bo Stapler, MD

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store