Author: David C



What is your why? Following a recent conference on academic hospitalist medicine, I have spent a lot of time these past few weeks with learners – medical students, residents, pre-med college students – as well as community researchers who have survived various forms of gun violence. It’s no secret to...


A Letter to My Children

To my children,

I don’t remember much of being your age and so now I am wondering what your earliest memories of me will be. You have already begun to divide time into a world before and after the virus; will you remember your father the same way?

What do you wish I had told you that was both simple and important enough to overcome the sharp smell of hand sanitizer, the fear of masks you had from Halloweens long before the long nightmare, the forgotten names of friends you had just learned to make?


Two years

I was recently shopping in the local grocery store and overheard:

“Look on the bright side, we don’t have to wear masks any more!”

I was wearing one and almost stopped walking to mull over that comment. Two years prior, I stood in the exact same grocery store and overheard a different sort of conversation:

“This virus is all about the hype and a way for the media and drug companies to make money. Remember H1N1, SARS, Zika, bird flu? Ain’t nothing going to come of it.”

Two years. My oh my how grocery store small talk has changed.



“Is THIS a crisis?” I find myself asking this question everyday, ever since the hospital said it was so. Was it a crisis when she died last week? Or was it last month? We thought we brought her back but it didn’t work, not for long, and I can still...


Action at a Distance

By an unfortunate artifact of scheduling, I worked 18 shifts in the last 22 days. Not all my patients had Covid but quite a few did. And in trying to think about what to write here, I am realizing that there is simply nothing left to say. It is like...



I went to pick up a disposable blue gown today as I have countless times this week, month, year, decade. In doing such a mindless and ordinary task, this time for “ordinary” diseases, I was suddenly hit by a series of flashbacks: delicately laying masks on a single paper towel, triple checking my gown ties and face shield before entering a room, standing watch outside patient rooms to coach staff in donning and doffing…

I froze in place for a few seconds and felt my pulse race. A few seconds of deep breathing and of anticipating the chest tightness… and the feeling of being overwhelmed slowly faded away, leaving only the usual alarms and beeping and dinging that characterize any typical hospital floor. It was brief and silent and I went on with my work day.


Compassion Fatigue

What does compassion fatigue feel like?

“I am just getting through the day,” I tell myself. “I will do my job and do it well and go home to my family. On time.”…


God Only Knows

I grew up steeped in a very specific religious tradition, namely a Chinese-American-contemporary-evangelical-Christian-neo-Calvinism, and so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the algorithms of Netflix and Facebook led me to watch “A Week Away”, a fairly superficial teen drama musical about (of all things) a summer Christian camp. While many...