Posts tagged #influenza

When you are too sick to fly

Air travel is a great way to get free peanuts, a deep vein thrombosis and the worst cold of your life. Plus: baggage fees!

Ever since Andrew Speaker took to the friendly skies with drug resistant tuberculosis, and brave Ebola outbreak workers returned sick to the United States, avid international attention has focused on the infectious risks of air travel, too.

Could the next pandemic spread on planes? 

We should care more about the people who live in areas where millions of people get sick from infectious scourges without having to invoke international travel. Yet it is reasonable for people who travel in rich countries to want to stay healthy as well. 

Proudly quoted in this brief article by Allison Fox of HuffPo.

Posted on June 8, 2017 .

Protect Thy Neighbor


We are now deep into flu season. Forty states are reporting widespread influenza, and the number of deaths is greater thane expected.

Hospitalized patients are among the most vulnerable people in flu season. Immune systems already weakened by kidney failure or another major illness, hospitalized patients contract influenza from loved ones and - most ironically - from hospital workers. From doctors to nurses and beyond, a coughing caregivers can be the worst kind of medicine for vulnerable hospitalized patients.

Should hospital employees be obligated to get a flu shot to protect vulnerable hospitalized patients? Some hospitals - including mine - require employees to get flu shots or else suffer consequences such as mandatory masks, furlough and firing. Is this an unjustified infringement on personal liberty, or a thoughtful way to protect the health of our most vulnerable? 

Ethicist Bill Nelson and I explore this controversial issue in a recent issue of Healthcare Executive.

Posted on January 17, 2014 .