Monkeypox and Reader's Digest

May 25, 2022

When the news headlines and even my YouTube feed started blowing up this week about Monkeypox, I had a flashback to my second year of medical school. The memory had nothing to do with microbiology or the pathogenesis of the orthopox virus. It was a story shared by my pathology professor, and though probably fictitious, it is nonetheless amusing and relatable. 

Dr. Thorne was the only doctor in a small rural Maine town for the latter half of the twentieth century. One day, shortly after noon, his wife, Mary, was surprised to hear him enter the house and rush up the stairs to the bathroom.

“Is everything okay, dear? I thought you had a full day at the office,” she inquired.

“Yes, yes. I’m fine. Have you seen the Reader’s Digest?” he shouted down to her.

“It should be there on the shelf,” she offered.

“No, that’s last month’s issue” he grumbled as he moved on to search the bedroom. “Ah, here it is,” he announced as he headed for the front door. “I haven't read it yet, and Mrs. Winslow is coming for her appointment in half an hour!”

“Mrs. Winslow?” Mary asked. “I’m sure she has her own subscription.”

“Precisely,” said Dr. Thorne. “She always comes in with the strangest symptoms, and the only way I have any clue what she is worried about is by knowing what rare disease was featured in the latest issue!”

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Art as an Expression of Medical Practice

May 4, 2022

With last week being school vacation for most of New Hampshire, my wife and I took our 11- and 13-year-old kids down to Washington, D.C., for a few days to see the sights and make the rounds of the monuments, museums, and historic buildings. I was particularly taken by our visit to the Hirshhorn Museum’s outdoor sculpture garden set beside the National Mall. On display were works from Rodin, Jean Arp, Henry Moore and others. It had been many years since I last immersed myself in such works of art, and I found myself engaging neural pathways that had long laid dormant. Connecting shapes, light and texture, considering the artist, the titles, the context – it was a captivating experience to appreciate the beauty and tease out the meaning of these enduring pieces.

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#LornaBreenLaw

March 23, 2022

The second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked retrospectives and tallies of all sorts – in number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and people with long COVID symptoms, as well as the excess mortality from all causes during the pandemic.

One elusive number, however, is the number of healthcare workers and physicians who died by suicide over the last couple years. On average, 300 - 400 physicians die by suicide every year. But we all know that the stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has been unlike anything we have faced in our generation, and that number is likely higher. Following the loss of Dr. Lorna Breen who was medical director of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital to suicide, a grassroots effort to improve physician well-being was amplified by national advocacy efforts, and The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act was signed into law last week by President Biden. 

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On Vaccine Hesitancy: Making A Deposit in the Emotional Bank Account

January 26, 2022

Despite working in solo family practice, I know I’m not alone in my efforts and frustrations with trying to vaccinate the unvaccinated against COVID. If one focuses on the picture painted by the news or social media, it is trench warfare with both sides dug in deeply. But the reality is more nuanced, and many patients find themselves stuck in no man’s land, not knowing who to trust. If we remain open and listen compassionately to the story behind each individual’s hesitation, there are still opportunities to make a difference. I will share one recent story that provided me with a little dose of positive emotional energy to remind me why I love primary care, and why I’ll continue to take on the challenges of this pandemic to keep my patients thriving and out of the hospital, one patient at a time. 

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Affecting Positive Change

January 5, 2022

The turning of the new year usually brings with it a mix of retrospection and hopeful resolution.  2021 was a year that more than a few people would rather wipe off the books. Just watching the Netflix mockumentary "Death to 2021" was causing me to have palpitations.  If you are struggling to be optimistic about 2022, or even considering throwing in the towel yourself, you are not alone, but not without hope.
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It might be just one thing, but it’s up to each of us to decide what we want to see, and how we can affect that positive change this year. Some will think big and take steps towards global issues. Others may try to shape the effects of local politics.  As physicians, our actions and decisions will absolutely impact healthcare. Maybe your goal is to just get through. That’s completely OK. But the way we choose to look at our day-to-day experiences shapes how we feel about all of these things.

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Dr. Eric Kropp Inaugurated as 190th President of the New Hampshire Medical Society

Eric A. Kropp, MD, was inaugurated as the 190th president of the New Hampshire Medical Society during its 2021 Annual Scientific Conference held at the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods, succeeding anesthesiologist Dr. Kenton Allen.

In 2016, Dr. Kropp started his solo practice, Active Choice Healthcare, in Concord as a pioneer in Direct Primary Care and fostered New Hampshire law about this innovative and emerging medical practice model. He is a founding member of both the New England and National Direct Primary Care Alliances.

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Cultivating effective physician leadership across the Granite State

May 11, 2021

This past Monday, the Spring meeting of the Council of New England State Medical Societies was held virtually via Zoom. The meeting is held as a platform to share successes and challenges and to support one another as stakeholders in the public health of our region.

Each Medical Society President prepared a report for the delegation and there were several themes that were shared in response to the events of the last six to twelve months. Advocacy around the future of telehealth, COVID-19 vaccine educational initiatives and social determinants of health were priorities amongst  most of our fellow societies.

However, the theme that was most striking amongst the reports was the importance placed on the need for physician leadership and the efforts being made to provide physicians with the opportunity to more readily gain access to these positions. 

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Third New Hampshire Mass Vaccination Event

April 14, 2021

Last weekend marked the third mass vaccination event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. It was the first that I had the privilege of playing a small role in and I was extremely impressed with the organization from start to finish. I’d like to share some of my experience here.

Two days ahead of the event there was a webinar held for those who would be working at the site. The logistics of parking, checking in, reporting to specific areas and expectations regarding weather conditions and dress code were clearly explained. The webinars were recorded and made available for reference leading up to the vaccination days.

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Three medical transformations during the pandemic

March 24, 2021

It has now been just over one year since the arrival of COVID-19 changed the way that medical care is delivered.  Reflecting back at the time of crossing this milestone, I remain impressed not only by the response, but at the speed of the response. 

Compared to many other industries, the pace of change within medicine can appear slow.  There are certainly exceptions to this, but it is obvious that over the past year the pace of change has been significantly accelerated. 

Within my own field of anesthesiology, there are three transformations that immediately come to mind when thinking about practice-change over the last twelve months.

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The Opportunity to Join in Making a Difference

March 3, 2021

Over the course of the past year, the Medical Society has extended the distribution of the weekly NHMS Pulse publication to both members and non-members, as well as the weekend NH COVID-19 Update.  We felt this important as it carried current communications related to the COVID-19 response, tailored for the New Hampshire medical community, in a time of rapidly evolving state and federal policies and guidelines.

Over the next few weeks, these publications will revert back to being sent to NHMS members only.  And as we make that transition, it is my hope that our colleagues who are not yet members of the Medical Society may have had the opportunity to see that the work being done by our Society is of value and importance in making a difference for the physician community and bettering the health of Granite Staters.

Once you've registered your account in NHMS's new association management system, you'll see a button to either join or renew your membership in your account profile. All NH licensed physicians have an account that can be registered using the email address NHMS has on file for you, via the Sign In link at www.nhms.org. Don't hesitate to call the office at 603-224-1909 if you have any trouble.

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