By Steven Kamajian, DO, FACOFP

I should have seen my friends last week in New Orleans. We should have caught up, keeping our collective eye on the baton we were handed upon licensure and making sure it is in good shape to hand off to whomever steps up to keep our profession in the race.

But I am here; you are there. If we were to see each other we couldn’t shake hands or hug. We couldn’t even high five.

My annual pilgrimage to see my friends was called off by a pandemic. Who would have thought?

Every morning when I go to the office, to the hospital, to nursing homes, I ask myself now, “am I doing my patients a favor?” 

Maybe I will make them sick. Or maybe they will make me sick.

After very visit to the homeless shelter, I wonder, should I immediately go into a two-week self-isolation period?

How do we do what we love professionally in the time of plague?

For my entire professional life, I have heard the stories of how the osteopathic profession had the best success rates during the 1918-1921 Spanish flu epidemic. For the first time in my life, (I honestly don’t know why this is true. I question everything always.) I am asking, “How many osteopathic physicians treating patients with manipulation during that epidemic died from prolonged exposure to the disease while they were doing manipulation?”

It is personal that I didn’t get to see my osteopathic friends this week. But it also personal that at my age this can kill me. Unfortunately, if that happens, it is likely that I would have also passed it on not only to my patients, but to my family.

If today’s new nomenclature SARS-CoV-2 is accurate, then this is the new normal for osteopathic physicians. The virus is like the common cold, perpetually mutating.

What a difference a year makes. Let’s hope by next year, we have vaccines and meds. Whatever it takes.

1 Comment »

  1. I agree, choosing to help people right now is a whole new paradigm. For the first time in my career I had to treat a rib lesion on a patient wearing a mask. Should he have tested first, I wasn’t sure. Thank you for sharing your insights with us.

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