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Mission Critical: An Intensivist's Take on the Election

November 01, 2020
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

I’m an intensivist. At work, I diagnose life-threatening problems and fix them. You don’t need to tell me the patient is critical. I know that. I need to find out why the blood pressure is low, what’s causing the fever, and why the patient can’t breathe. When I find the cause, I know what to do next.

So, I don’t need to tell you the country is in bad shape. You know that. You also know the cause and you know what to do next.

The planet is warming. Right-wing extremists are standing by with loaded guns . Neighbors are at each other’s throats. Thousands are falling ill and dying from COVID-19. Millions of Americans face the loss of health insurance. Countless brothers and sisters—refugees and asylum seekers, racial minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ community—stand to lose their constitutional rights. Too many Americans are bewildered because of disinformation.

Critical care docs know the most effective treatments start with teamwork. We know the patient’s chances are best when the ICU team shares a common mission, when everyone does their part, and when we work together.

That’s what we have to do on November 3. We have to vote. We have the power to build a country that values health, science, scholarship, honesty, peace, democracy, the environment, human rights, diversity, and the common good. So, if you haven’t voted already, please make a plan to do so. The patient is counting on us.

Have a restful Sunday, everyone.

Take care and stay safe,


PS for further reading:

When Science Is Pushed Aside (The NY Times):

America’s Poor Health Is an Invitation to Tyranny (The Atlantic):

The assault on physicians and science must end (The AMA):

Dying in a Leadership Vacuum (NEJM):


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on November 01, 2020