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Doctor shares his 'typical day' in a COVID ward, taking a jab at medical conspiracy theories

By now, we've all seen the many conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic floating around (Plandemic, anyone?), but medical conspiracy theories are nothing new. In fact, most of the anti-vaccine movement is predicated on a couple of them, which are getting a lot of attention right now:

1) Pharmaceutical companies are big, money-grabbing corporations (which is arguably true) and therefore doctors and medical associations recommend people get vaccinated are all part of the Big Pharma conspiracy to fool the masses into paying them big money (arguably not true).



2) There's a bigger, more nefarious plot organized by some evil player (ahem, Bill Gates) to vaccinate people in an attempt to depopulate the world or control the masses somehow, and the pandemic is just a planned rouse to give the medical "establishment" an excuse to carry out the dastardly plan.

I'm sure there are other somewhat related ones, but one thing they all seem to have in common is an underlying assumption that most doctors are willing to go against their "do no harm" oath in order to stash some cash. That seems like a terribly negative view of doctors and humanity in general, but that's how conspiracy theories work—they play on people's fears and amplify skepticism to outrageous proportions.

Dr. David Young, a hospital care specialist in the Chicago area, shared a breakdown of his daily schedule in a COVID ward to illustrate what these conspiracy theories sound like when you take them out of the chatroom/YouTube information bubble in which they fester. And you have to admit, the absurdity really does come through.

Young wrote:

A lot of people have been asking me what it's like being on the COVID wards in the hospital, so I figured I'd share what a typical day looks like for me:

6 a.m. Wake up. Roll off of my pile of money that Big Pharma gave me. Softly weep as it doesn't put a dent in my medical school loans

6:30 a.m. Make breakfast, using only foods from the diet that gives me everlasting life by avoiding all fats, sugars, carbs, and proteins. For details buy my book and check out my shop.

7 a.m. Get to work, load up my syringes with coronavirus before rounds.

8 a.m. See my patients for the day. Administer the medications that the government tells me to. Covertly rub essential oils on the ones I want to get better.

9:30 a.m. Call Bill Gates to check how 5G tower construction is going, hoping for more coronavirus soon. He tells me they're delayed due to repairs on the towers used to spread the Black Plague. Curse the fact that this is the most efficient way to spread infectious diseases.

10 a.m. One patient tells me he knows "the truth" about coronavirus. I give him a Tdap booster. He becomes autistic in front of my eyes. He'll never conspire against me again.

11 a.m. Tend to the secret hospital garden of St. John's wort and ginkgo leaves that we save for rich patients and donors.

12:30 p.m. Pick up my briefcase of money from payroll, my gift from Pfizer for the incomprehensible profits we make off of the free influenza vaccine given every year.

1 p.m. Conference call with Dr. Fauci and the lab in Wuhan responsible for manufacturing viruses. Tell them my idea about how an apocalypse-style zombie virus would be a cool one to try for the next batch.

2 p.m. A patient starts asking me about getting rid of toxins. I ask her if she has a liver and kidneys. She tells me she knows "the truth" about Big Anatomy and that the only way to detoxify herself is to eat nothing but lemon wedges and mayonnaise for weeks. I give her a Tdap booster.

2:45 p.m. Help the FBI, CIA, and CDC silence the masses. Lament the fact that I can only infringe on one or two of their rights. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

4pm - One of my rich patients begins to crash. Laugh as I realize I've mismatched her spirit animal and zodiac moon sign. I switch out the Purple Amethyst above her bed for a Tiger's Eye geode. She stabilizes. I throw some ginkgo leaves on her for good measure

6pm - Go onto YouTube and see coronavirus conspiracy videos everywhere. Curse my all powerful government for how inept they are at keeping people from spreading "the truth"

6:10pm - Go onto Amazon and see that a book about "the truth" is the #1 seller this week. Question the power of my all powerful government. Make a reminder to myself to get more Tdap boosters from the Surgeon General next time we talk.

7pm - Time to go home. Before I leave, sacrifice a goat to Dr. Fauci and say three Hippocratic Oaths.

9pm - Take a contented sigh as I snuggle under the covers made of the tinfoil hats of my enemies, realizing that my 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency training have been put to good use today.

Snort. Even as someone who uses essential oils and herbal treatments for some things, I found this hilarious. That really does seem to be close to what some conspiracy-minded folks think doctors do all day.

The reality is that the vast majority of doctors really do go into medicine to help people and would not tacitly go along with any evil plots to harm even one person, much less mass numbers of people. While there are legitimate discussions and debates to be had about pharmaceutical medicine vs. alternative medicine vs. natural medicine for various ailments, as soon as we get into evil plots and conspiracy territory, those legitimate discussions lose all credibility.

Doctors on the front line are dealing with enough right now. They really shouldn't have to be fending off absurd ideas about them lying and scheming en masse to fill their own pockets or bring the world to ruin.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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