Episode 67: Fever on the Frontier

In the early 19th century, a strange new illness, seemingly unknown to medicine, ravaged settler communities in the American Middle West. As fierce debates about this new disease, now called milk sickness, raged – was it from toxic swamp gasses? arsenic in the soil? infectious microorganisms? from the poor constitutions […]


Episode 66: Burnout

Burnout seems to stalk healthcare workers; between a third and a half of doctors and nurses had symptoms of burnout BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic. Major medical associations have recognized burnout as a serious problem and the condition is being added to ICD-11 as an “occupational phenomenon.” How did we get […]


Episode 65: The Last Breath

How can we medically tell whether or not someone is alive or dead? The answer is much more complicated than you’d think. In this episode, which is a live podcast I gave with Tony Breu at the Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians annual meeting on October 16, […]


Episode 64: A Vicious Circle

During World War II, the US Army launched a seemingly routine experiment to find the ideal way to screen soldiers for tuberculosis. Jacob Yerushalmy, the statistician in charge of this project, would succeed at this task — and end up fundamentally changing our conception of medical diagnosis in the process. […]