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NY Times featured Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist | Physician Leader | Author and Blogger | His latest book is “Code Blue,” a medical thriller.

Now some people are ingesting povodine-iodine, a skin antiseptic that can kill you if ingested. Come on, people.

The extent that some people will go to try and prevent COVID baffles me to no end. Now, there are people advocating gargling with povodine-iodine! Oh. My. God.

Povodine-iodine is a skin antiseptic. It kills bacteria on the skin, and we have used it on the skin to disinfect prior to procedures. FYI, we no longer widely use it because it has been shown to be less effective than other skin antiseptics.

It has NEVER been designed to ingest orally. NEVER. It is quite poisonous, and it can actually kill you. The same goes with drinking chlorine bleach, which can…


Two major implications of this research: (1) Get your vaccine; (2) Wear a mask.

It has happened to me and my colleagues far too often: watching a patient die from complications of COVID-19. While the ultimate cause of death is multiorgan failure — shock, respiratory failure, kidney failure, etc — the question is what caused this multiorgan failure?

Many have postulated that secondary bacterial infections may be one culprit. Indeed, as much as we try to avoid it, many patients suffering from COVID-19 do in fact get bacterial infections in the lungs and other organs. Are these infections — and the sepsis they may cause — the reason why some COVID-19 patients die?


PLEASE get your vaccine. It is literally life and death.

“No, ma’am. That’s all I’m going to say about that.”

That was the response of a young barista at the coffee shop I was in when she asked whether she was going to get vaccinated. I could only shake my head as I left with my iced latte. And shaking my head in sheer exasperation is all I can do with this current surge in Covid cases.

I just came back from a Covid hotspot, helping staff an intensive care unit in the South. It was bad. Really bad. …


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

The Delta variant of SARS CoV-2 has been making national news. It is increasingly becoming the dominant strain in the United States. It is causing “breakthrough infections” in already vaccinated people (I have seen this personally), and it is wreaking havoc in the unvaccinated. In fact, 99.5% of COVID deaths are in the unvaccinated.

The Delta variant first emerged in India, and it is highly, highly contagious. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested that even vaccinated people may want to wear masks indoors to be extra cautious:

If you want to go the extra mile of safety even though…


We need to remain vigilant against this threat to public health, as well.

Understandably, the world has been hyperfocused on the global SARS CoV-2 pandemic. It has wreaked — and continues to wreak — havoc on many parts of our world. At the same time, there are other threats to the global health order to which we must pay attention, and one of these threats come from what we feed Fido.

Researchers tested fifty-five samples of industrial dog food (25 brands; 22 wet, 14 raw frozen, 8 dry, 7 treats and 4 semi-wet) for various bacteria. The results were alarming:

Enterococcus (n = 184; 7 species; >85% E. faecium and E. faecalis) were…


Photo courtesy of Medika Life

Today, the country celebrates its independence from the British Crown. Fireworks shows abound. It is a stark contrast from last year, when celebrations across the country were canceled due to the public health emergency. What a difference a year makes.

For many, it is not only a celebration of our nation’s independence, but it is also a celebration of independence from COVID. All across the country, so many are acting like the pandemic is over. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans think the pandemic is over, according to a recent Gallup poll. During a recent trip to Tennessee, my hotel…


Photo by Hesham A. Hassaballa, author

A collection of haiku.


Sometimes, just drinking water could be dangerous

Image source: Pixabay

It was a very hot summer. A young man showed up to my ICU several years ago after suffering a seizure. His sodium level was dangerously low, which was the cause of his seizure. He was treated and recovered quickly. When he regained consciousness, I asked him his story.

He told me that he rode from Ohio to Illinois on his motorcycle. He had a helmet on, and it was very hot. He sweat profusely. Here’s the key: he drank only water the entire time.

This summer is also turning out to be very hot, especially in the Western United…


We lost our daughter to cancer 12 years ago today, and it still really hurts

Photo by Rinck Content Studio on Unsplash

Twelve years ago today, our eldest daughter died of cancer. It was the most horrific moment of my life.

I knew that, one day, I was going to bury her. She had a genetic condition to which most of those afflicted ultimately succumb. Yet, despite playing the movie of her death in my mind a million times, the day I finally faced it was the absolute worst day through which I have ever lived.

Twelve years later, the pain is still fresh. The grief is still suffocating. The deep-seated ache in my heart has never resolved.

As time goes by…


They are more than just a donor. They are a gift-giver.

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

We had a patient who suffered brain death after cardiac arrest. He had previously signed up to be an organ donor, and so when he was declared brain dead, the organ donation network (called Gift of Hope here in Illinois) came and arranged to have his kidneys donated to two people. His other organs, unfortunately, could not be donated.

Prior to his leaving the ICU to the operating room, we all gathered together to honor him and his gift of life to another person. I was distinctly honored to read a poem, and I then led the group in a…

Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa

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