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Our health and healthcare have fallen off a cliff, it seems. The current global pandemic highlights the importance of sustaining good relationships in our healthcare system and in our daily lives.

This pandemic will forever change the way we relate to our doctors, and the way health care gets delivered to us. Our social network has crossed a tipping point; just as water seems perfectly serene until the moment it begins to change into steam, new processes will now rapidly and relentlessly emerge in the American health care system.

In the midst of this crisis we have learned the value of good relationships between doctors and their patients. It is much easier to share in uncertain decisions about treatments with unclear evidence when we trust the way our doctors share our medical decisions with us.

If we follow the simple rule of fully examining the benefits, risks, alternatives and unknowns of any medical decision, and fully understating our own goals and values, we can come to a decision that makes sense even in the midst of its stark uncertainty and powerful exigency.

For now, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin seem to be the simplest and safest alternative for preventing the novel coronavirus from becoming a devastating infection. But even if that turns out to be true, it doesn’t mean it’s the right treatment for everyone. It will take a long time to learn whether or not its safety and efficacy outweigh its risk in widespread use for this disease with such diverse manifestations – from asymptomatic to overwhelmingly lethal. Although one of the most widely used medications in the world as treatment for malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis treatment, hydtoxyurea’s use in those settings is so radically different than its use for COVID 19 that we cannot easily use its long safety record to guide its wider application.

Currently, the decision to use it can only be guided by individual goals and values. We must each decide how comfortable we are with unknown risks and unclear benefits when our lives are on the line. We’ve witnessed decisions go both ways. We simply encourage our readers and members to fully explore theirs, and we hope for the best outcomes for all.

If you would like to explore more about how to make good shared decisions with your doctors, or to learn more about the details of various treatments for COVID 19, email or call 203-692-4422 for a consultation.