WCMS Bulletin: Winter 2021 Edition

Access the digital 4th quarter issue of the 2021 WCMS Bulletin:

What to Look for in this Edition of the WCMS Bulletin from Editor Richard Burney, MD: 

The theme of this issue of the Bulletin is COVID-19, two years into the pandemic. When I began planning the issue two months ago, it looked like the epidemic was on the wane, which was of course before the Delta variant started to sweep across the state, laying the unvaccinated low and affecting the vaccinated as well. The number of cases and the stresses upon the hospital systems across the state are as bad if not worse than ever before. This time, the spread is more uniform geographically, affecting the whole state.

My chief goal in this issue is to highlight the work of the Washtenaw County Medical Society’s COVID Work Group, which has been active since March 2020 helping to coordinate care across the county. This group is, I believe, unique in the state in what it is doing. When I began to write the story, what I didn’t realize was that this group was first activated over 10 years ago for a different epidemic. That story is told in a variety of forms: narrative, interviews, and a graphic depiction. The COVID Work Group serves as an example of what organized medicine can do if it’s willing to take a leading role.

In this issue, you will also find a letter chastising the Michigan State Medical Society for not being more visible and outspoken in advocating for the kinds of preventive measures needed to stem the tide of COVID infections. This letter was written before the current Delta wave hit us.

An additional perspective on epidemic management is presented by the interesting story of the Swine Flu Affair of 1976, which was responsible, perhaps, for beginning to sow the seeds of distrust in mass vaccination by the federal government.

Also in this issue are Reflections by M1, Vanessa Elliott. As I read her essay, it made me wish I were starting med school all over again. She explains much better than any of the associate deans what the new curriculum is all about!

Two stories are shared. One was written by the late Rick Swartz (with Erica Perry) and published in the Summer 2019 issue of the Bulletin. I have chosen to reprint his affecting story of humanity in medicine in his memory. It is worth rereading as an example of compassionate health care we would do well to emulate.

Finally, for diversion, I share the continuing story of our family "cottage" in the Upper Peninsula in the 1950s, a depression-era structure on an island that had no electricity or running water but was beloved by all.

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