‘This Is Why God Gave Us Two Arms’: What We Heard This Year

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In place of our usual “What We Heard This Week” feature, and as part of our year-end wrap-ups, we’ve selected some of the best quotes our reporters heard in 2022.

“This is why God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the other one for the COVID shot.” — White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, discussing the fall booster campaign.

“What’s mild about hospitals at or near the breaking point?” — Clyde Yancy, MD, of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, on the framing of Omicron as just “mild” back in January.

“They’re probably lying through their teeth much of the time.” — David Hyman, MD, JD, of Georgetown University Law Center, on insurers’ contract negotiations with in-network providers.

“This is probably the most obviously fake data I have seen.” — Kyle Sheldrick, MBBS, PhD, candidate at the University of New South Wales, on the potentially fraudulent data underpinning an infamous study of vitamin C for sepsis.

“It was like someone suddenly blew a dog whistle in my ear.” — Gregory Poland, MD, of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, describing how he developed tinnitus while driving back from the hospital after receiving his second COVID-19 vaccine in March.

“We don’t just flip ’em a scalpel and say, ‘Hey, good luck, I’m going to be down the street drinking a beer.'” — Christopher R. Porta, MD, of Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, commenting in April about the rigorous oversight of surgical trainees.

“Fentanyl is like the boogeyman, it’s ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. It’ll creep in your mask, and there’s nothing you can do.” — Jon Zibbell, PhD, of RTI International in North Carolina, on a CDC video used to warn of fentanyl threat to police that may mislead officers about their risk of exposure and overdose.

“It’s, ‘Oh, the nurse can do it’ … There’s only so much one person can do.” — Erika Pacheco, RN, from Michigan, at the National Nurses March in Washington in May where a sea of nurses called for safe staffing ratios, fair pay, and an end to violence against healthcare workers.

“So drink up…but it would be prudent to avoid too many caramel macchiatos while more evidence brews.” — Christina Wee, MD, MPH, deputy editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, on the mortality benefits of drinking coffee everyday, even with a little sugar.

“Arguably a state can’t ban an FDA-approved drug.” — Greer Donley, JD, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, speaking in July on whether state bans on abortions will extend to the abortion pill.

“[It’s] the reverse of the old saying, ‘it’s gone, but not forgotten’: Polio is forgotten, but it’s not gone.” — William Schaffner, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, speaking in August about how eradication of poliovirus isn’t going to be as easy as once thought.

“The significance is we’re not cows.” — Rainey Horwitz, MS, a medical student at St. Louis University School of Medicine, commenting in October on the fact there are actually an average of 10,280 nerve fibers in the clitoris, not the 8,000 previously assumed based on a study of cows.

“Yeah, malpractice is a concern, but I’m really freaking out about hurting someone.” — Linda Isbell, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, talking about her team’s survey that looked at perspectives of emergency clinicians on lawsuits and patient harm in November.

“The average doctor is doing 41 of these a week.” — American Medical Association President Jack Resneck Jr., MD, discussing the large increase in prior authorization requests over the several years.

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