Clinical

Alex El Sehamy, MD Alex El Sehamy, MD (1 Posts)

Resident Physician Contributing Writer

Downstate Health Sciences University


Alex is a PGY-2 psychiatry resident at Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, NY. He is an Alpha Omega Alpha member, a Gold Humanism Honor Society member, an APA Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow, and an amateur cover band musician. His writing can be found on Medium (@StillADoctor).




Can Empathy Be Taught, or Is It Innate?

In medical school, I was taught to sit at eye level when speaking to patients, ask how they would prefer to be addressed, and ask open-ended questions to allow them to express themselves. I learned to interject with “That must be really difficult for you,” or “I can only imagine how that makes you feel,” as a way to show empathy and foster better connection with patients.

Facing the Inevitable: A Resident Physician’s Perspective on the COVID-19 Pandemic

As I check in on my patients each morning, I wonder if some will unexpectedly decompensate and die over the coming weeks. I think about myself and my co-residents who are in the hospital all day swabbing patients for COVID-19 without adequate personal protective equipment. Many of my co-residents are on home isolation as a result of this exposure, waiting for their test results and praying that our government will step up and fund more mask production, or civilians will return the N95s they’ve hoarded, or the set of a TV medical drama will donate their props to us.

Connecting Virtually: One Resident Physician’s COVID-19 Week

It was a beautiful late winter Sunday, and my husband and I decided to drive to Plum Island, in the quaint sea town of Newburyport just north of Boston, for some bird-watching and ocean views. I wondered how my sister-in-law was doing — her wedding was scheduled in just seven days, and she and her fiancé had already been faced with tough decisions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A View From the Frontline: COVID-19 and the UK Doctors’ Perspective

Earlier last week, one patient had been referred in from their family physician, and the onsite senior resident, Adam, had been the doctor to assess them. Symptoms were vague — generally unwell, off food, bit of a cough, possible headache. Viral swabs were taken, because pretty much anyone that had lately walked through the hospital door with even a suspicion of sepsis now had samples sent off.

Routine Infection Prevention Will Not Contain COVID-19

As an internal medicine resident working at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, COVID-19 has taken over our workroom conversations as the number of new cases enters exponential growth. As an anthropologist who lived in Wuhan for a year and has regularly kept in touch with physicians there since the city was placed under lockdown on January 23, 2020, COVID-19 has proved to be an unprecedented crisis.

July 1, Take 2: Navigating the Transition from Intern to Senior Resident

You could feel it in the air, in how the nurses double-checked the orders, how the attendings’ notes bloated in size, and even in how the patients, despite their general lack of knowledge towards the inner workings of the hospital, exuded mild apprehension. It was day one of the academic year, the day that the new interns — my new interns — started.

Treat Me If You Can: DNR versus Comfort Measures Only

Caffeine’s effect waned, stomachs rumbled, attention spans faded after rounding on nine acutely ill patients on university wards. It was nearing lunch. I was the senior resident, so I chose the order in which we saw patients. As we arrived at our last patient’s room, I snapped out of my under-caffeinated daze and realized I had made the rookie mistake of leaving our newest and sickest patient for last.

Anna Stecher, MD Anna Stecher, MD (3 Posts)

Resident Editor

University of Wisconsin


Anna is a fellow in Hospice and Palliative Medicine in Madison, WI. She spends a significant amount of time cuddling her three geriatric rat terriers while reading books or watching the next big TV drama.