What Do We Owe Doctors and Nurses?

The Virus Has Exposed the Weaknesses of American Healthcare; to Build a Stronger System We Need to Care for Caregivers

In late March, a mutual friend of ours called with a grim picture of the situation on the ground at the Queens hospital where he works. New York City had not yet experienced the peak of the outbreak, but the hospital already had 140 COVID-positive patients, 35 of them on ventilators. And there were only five ventilators left.

Our friend, a physician, had just witnessed the death of a 27-year-old man with no chronic conditions. In his hospital, doctors were already making decisions about who to put on ventilators. “It’s …

National Oversight or Not, All Health Care, Like All Politics, Is Local

Leaders of Britain’s NHS and America’s Mayo Clinic Enviously Eye Each Other’s Domains

At first glance, America’s fragmented, private health care delivery system and Britain’s state-run National Health Service have little in common. But both nations’ contrasting approaches to caring for their populations …

Is Universal Health Care an Impossible Fantasy?

It’s Difficult to Imagine a Single-Payer System That’s Both Politically and Practically Viable in America

For more than a century, America has argued about how to share the costs of health care. Drawing from new government-sponsored insurance programs in Germany and England, Progressive reformers made …

In Medicine, Dying Doesn’t Have to Be a Struggle

Options, Not Treatment, May Be What's Most Needed at the End of Life

Grandma’s dying.

She lived a full life, but illness is getting the best of her. Could be days, could be weeks, the doctors say—unless, that is, she tries one particular …

Has Modern Medicine Made Dying Harder Than Ever?

Hospitals Have Gotten Better at Keeping Us Alive, But That Also Means Thornier Questions at the End of Life

In his 2010 New Yorker essay “Letting Go,” surgeon Atul Gawande stops by the intensive care unit at his hospital and describes the sad state of its patients at the …

I Fear the Coldness of Doctors

If We Don't Encourage Them to Have Empathy, Both They and Their Patients Will Suffer

Earlier this year, a doctor I’d never met told me about the death of one of his patients:

I remember so well the morning our medical examiner came into my …