What We’re Reading: 07/24/20

Black Children Are More Likely to Die After Surgery Than White Peers, Study Shows

Researchers started with the hypothesis that if you studied a relatively healthy cohort of patients there shouldn’t be a difference in outcomes. But what they found is that black children are more than three times as likely to die within a month after surgery than white children. 

What makes this study particularly significant is the vast amount of data pulled from hospitals enrolled in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a voluntary program used to monitor and improve surgical outcomes. Study after study has proven the ways racism plagues our health systems and harms our patients. The question is how will we make swift, transformative change?  (From nytimes.com

Confusion Spreads Over System to Determine Priority Access to Covid-19 Vaccines

We’re all following the race for a COVID-19 vaccine with hope and cautious optimism for what would be record-breaking vaccine development timelines. But what happens next? Who gets vaccinated first? Vaccinating more than 300 million Americans will not be easy, and right now public health experts still don’t see a plan or clear process for distribution as new task forces and panels pop up, encroaching on systems in place. This article does a great job of breaking down the current confusion and the critical steps ahead. Important stuff.  (From statnews.com

In Astounding Test, Scientists Revive Damaged Lungs for Transplant 

A groundbreaking study at a pivotal moment! Researchers at Columbia have developed a method that recovers damaged lungs outside the body. Cross-circulation regenerates the lungs over a 24-hour period, making them healthy and ready to use in life-saving transplant. 

Every day the number of patients on the waiting list for lung transplant continues to grow. With the ballooning organ donor shortage and the potential long-term effects of COVID-19 on the lungs, this incredible development serves as a beacon of hope at a time when we all sure could use it. (From nytimes.com

Now for some fiction that flits between the pain and hope of this thing called life— 

Jack and Della

By Marilynne Robinson 

If you haven’t read Gilead or the other novels in Robinson’s series, do so! Gilead reads like a journal-turned-memoir as an aging son recounts the lives of his parents and grandfather with his own experiences. It is both momentous in its humanity and singular in its delivery. The short story here is an excerpt from her forthcoming book of this series, “Jack.” Take a few minutes for this one, you won’t be disappointed.  (From newyorker.com)

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