The power of volunteers
Medwiser’s greatest force is the community of volunteers from around the globe, whose collective energy, drive and determination cannot be stopped.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” —Margaret Meade
We are a global group of committed individuals that know we can change the world! Medwiser is different from other nonprofits. We develop free content and technology. We are driven by a global community of volunteers, all dedicated to stopping the spread of disease. We are now part of a group of non-profit organizations that develop educational content, conduct research and engage in public health activities related to Addiction, Cancer, Headache, HIV/AIDS, Infectious Disease, Medical Marijuana, Neurology and Sleep disorders. We are helping to match these organizations with volunteers who can make an impact. Now our focus is on Coronavirus.
Get Started to Help Stop Coronavirus – True Grassroots
Thank you for your interest in volunteering to assist. We can use as much help as possible. We are up against the clock.
Our goals is to save millions of lives
How? Get governments around the world to adopt unified policies to preserve equipment for front line workers and educate the public to wear face coverings.
At https://petition.medwiser.org we have a petition intended to provide support but also strongly encourage world health organizations around the world to take steps to curb the spread of coronavirus. Physicians from around the world are needed to organize a critical mass of signatures to achieve this goal but also to educate their citizens about the proper steps to take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Organizations around the world in Asia & lately the CDC in the United States have recommended facemasks be worn in public, however, inconsistent messaging. A unified message from all health organizations will save lives.
Facemasks work? After a deep review of all the science, it is a no-brainer to implement. Even if you think it might stop only 2% of infections, that could translate into saving 1 million lives. Even if you don’t think it will work, it still makes sense because both the risk and cost are low, while the potential reward is great. But I believe there is a good chance that it could change the entire trajectory of the virus if we act fast.
We need grassroots to achieve these objectives. If we achieve this objective in 1 day great, we have accomplished all of our work!
Public Health & Healthcare Research & Education
There is a war. One of the major battles is taking place online. The enemy is a) a lack of information and b) misinformation. Sadly it is everywhere. There is a need for independent fact checking and research to combat intentional and unintentionally misleading and inaccurate information. There is also a need for research and development of strategies and tactics to utilize that can be applied across the globe in this pandemic and also in future ones.
- Do facemasks work?
- What do we really know, think we know and know little about?
- Does COVID-19 spread via aerosol (and what defines aerosol) or via large droplets?
- Should chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine be used to treat patients with COVID-19 in hospitals or recommended for prophylaxis in the public?
- When should patients be brought to the hospital?
- What type of monitoring treatments can take place at home or via telemedicine for COVID-19?
- What type of ventilation should be used in a hospital?
- Is there a role for non-invasive ventilation CPAP, BIPAP, Other (or are we concerned about aerosolization)?
- Are there ways to more efficiently manage patients when staff isn’t available?
- What level of evidence is required to implement “unproven” treatments in a pandemic?
- When & how can we resume getting back to normal?
- What will the new normal look like?
- There are other questions of course.
Structure of a movement. Getting Started.
Part of what we are doing is organizing groups that can work independently around the world in a decentralized manner. Like Wikipedia or Open Source software the needs are defined and then individuals can take upon themselves to get specific tasks done. We help through organization, recruiting, establishing goals, milestones and needs and providing support to local groups around the globe. However, it is the initiative and leadership of volunteers in a decentralized effort that will help us get the most done.
Battle 1: Petition. https://petition.medwiser.org
The petition is a high yield strategy to unify physicians around the world and give a voice to those who know best to influence sound public health strategies. Too often public health policy is strongly influenced by leaders who aren’t trained or knowledgeable about healthcare.
- Petition: Physicians & healthcare workers & other volunteer groups organized across 6 continents are reaching out to local physician groups, hospitals and nonprofit organizations and NGOs to partner with us and distribute our survey to their members so that thousands of physicians from every country will sign https://petition.medwiser.org. Individuals are taking to social media: and joining local groups to partner with us as well as to educate individuals around the world to wear facemasks in public but also to reserve medical equipment for frontline health care workers. Some individuals are working on translating the petition into other languages
Battle 2: The fight against misinformation
We live in a world of fake news cycles and back page retractions. Usually, this doesn’t kill people. However, when any news breaks about a COVID-19 topic that is incorrect, it does (example: facemasks work but it was widely reported that they don’t help). That includes the rush to report on information that is unknown (chloroquine is dangerous). Let’s say for example, chloroquine proves useful in patients with COVID-19. Patients with incomplete or incorrect information about its dangers will refuse treatment. If it proves to be helpful for prophylaxis, a segment of the population will say it’s too dangerous! They will cite “experts” who reported (prematurely) that it was dangerous and won’t use it. They many cite inaccurate sources or even disproven sources, and they may go online and convince others to do the same (example: anti-vaccine advocates). Combating this is difficult. Since, often these sources never conduct due diligence they will often be the first ones reporting their findings. Therefore, the strategy requires the following:
- Doctor, experts and the public quickly confronting these “experts” and requiring them to provide “evidence” for what they are claiming.
- Conducting the research and then reporting the facts and unbiased evidence in every possible medium.
- Researching and educating others on topics related to COVID-19 prevention, management, treatment is of vital importance.
Battle 3: Research and Invention
Invention and innovation usually requires an analysis of things we do and then improving on them to provide something that we need. In healthcare, we often assume what we are doing is based on conclusive evidence and science when in fact it is not. Perhaps, at times it is. However, almost all major advances are met with large amounts of resistance because of complacency. Physicians and healthcare workers need to question everything and through this questioning we can advance innovation. This begins by researching and verifying procedures and practices that are commonplace in health care are actually are proven.
- Analyze and verify common procedures related to prevention, management and treatment.
- Find best practices or techniques from other areas that can be applied to COVID-19
- Identify & innovate new ways of practicing prevention, management and treatment for COVID-19
Here’s an example of trusting but verifying accepted practices. I’m trained as a neurologist. I don’t work in the ICU and I’m very willing to admit I’m not an expert on ventilators that are used in hospitals. I’m also trained in sleep medicine, so I know more than most physicians about BIPAP machines (since they are used in sleep apnea). I also know that they can be used for noninvasive ventilation, so I decided to ask a few ICU physicians online about it online in a Facebook group for physicians. Were they were using these devices to treat COVID-19 patient’s (I saw some news reports of this being done). The first response was: Are you serious? The second: don’t you know that this will spread the virus all over the ICU? No I didn’t I decided to ask another dumb question. “How do you know?” The third answer came from a friend (we did neuro residency together, and then he did a critical care fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic after residency) who was taking pity on me: “It’s physics.” OK, so was he going to cite some of Newton’s laws to me? Nope. It’s physics was the answer. Proven to the same extent as gravity. When I asked for explanation he asked “have you ever been in an ICU and looked at a mask on a patient, its obvious that viral particles are escaping and being spread in the air! In other words, prove Newtons law of gravity yourself–throw an apple up in the air yourself and observe it. I felt a little embarrassed. I guess I should have known this. All the other ICU doctors in that discussion had a collective nod of yup. No other explanations needed. It was physics. I decided to do some quick research. This was obviously a proven fact right? Turns out it didn’t take much more than a minute to learn that the reason was based on “scarce empirical or quantitative evidence” despite the “perceived importance” that all of these ICU physicians, some trained in the most prestigious institutions in the world accepted as proven fact.