Reflections

Raafia Siddiqui is second year medical student at McMaster University.

 

 

 

 

The surgeon asked me for the second time, “So are you here alone?” “Yes”, I answered, this time a bit impatiently. I was a 20-year-old with other things than this appointment but my family doctor had noticed a lump on my throat and insisted I see a specialist. We were supposed to discuss the results of the biopsy today.

After my response, the surgeon placed his hand on my shoulder and let out a long sigh. I asked him, “What is it?” His reply was very short and urgent, “There’s a lump - and we have to take it out”.

Immediately, I understood what he meant and began pressing him with questions, “Is it malignant? Has it metastasized? What type of cancer is it?” Although I felt I had to pry answers out of him, the specialist finally told me I had a thyroid tumour, which he believed had begun to spread.

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Meghan Kerr is a medical student at University of Toronto.

 

 

I was swept into this world,

Feet taken out from under me

My trickling stream no match

For the roaring torrent, and

Their confluence, ...continue reading

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Mark Speechley is a Professor of Epidemiology at Western University

 

The age-old debate over who should be addressed as ‘doctor’ lives again in recent letters to CMAJ. Of course, it is important not to confuse the public. Since more people get sick than get university educated, members of the public are more likely to have met a physician-doctor than a professor-doctor. As a PhD epidemiologist, ‘the population is my patient’. Consequently, when I meet my medical colleagues in the hospital, I do not expect to be addressed as ‘Doctor’, but should the whole population be in the hospital, and the crowding in the corridors be so acute that I would have the statistical power to practice my profession by expertly assembling the massed throngs of gurneys into long rows of cases and controls, or exposed and unexposed, as appropriate, I would most certainly expect to be addressed as such.  ...continue reading

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Vivian Gu is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of British Columbia

 


Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Held every year, it’s a gathering of more than 9000 government officials and representatives from advocacy groups and NGOs worldwide. They come together in throes, dressed in everything from stiff suits to colourful swaths of cultural garb, and for two weeks, assemble to advocate for women and the challenges they face back home. By the end, a collection of recommendations is aggregated to shape the global agenda on gender equality and the empowerment of women worldwide for the year to come. ...continue reading

Philippe Barrette is a psychotherapist, workplace facilitator and former Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University, Department of Psychiatry.

David Streiner is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, and the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University; and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

 

 

Halfway through, Roma, the 2018 award-winning film set in the early 1970’s, the audience is suddenly confronted with witnessing a stillbirth. The scene elicited audible gasps from some viewers in a screening we attended, when the perfectly formed, dead baby was removed from its mother’s womb.

In the film, Cleo, the nanny and domestic worker for a middle-class family living in Mexico is rushed to hospital following an emotionally draining 9 months. Cleo’s boyfriend abandoned her shortly after learning of her pregnancy, and the family have endured marital tensions and a separation.

After an initial examination the assisting physician at the birth says, “I can’t hear a heartbeat," ...continue reading

Kacper Niburski is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at McGill University. He is also the CMAJ student humanities blog editor. Follow his writing instagram: @_kenkan.

 


 

ventricular septal defect

you would not understand

what it means to fall in love

with the blue

to come to pour it

to read it in the cracks of light under heavy spines

to see it in green marseille waters ...continue reading

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Ally Istl is a senior General Surgery resident at Western University

 


 

The concept of Wellness in the professional medical arena has become a contemporary Gargantua that we are perpetually seeking to satisfy, but never able to sate. As other disciplines seek to make their trainees ‘Well’, wellness has also become a growing subject of exploration in surgical disciplines.

Wellness means different things to different people and formal definitions provide no clarity in the context of the medical profession: ‘the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal’ only provokes more ...continue reading

Tharshika Thangaraa is a fourth year medical student at the University of Ottawa.

 

 


The sound of her alarm pulsated through her room. Startled, she awoke. It was just another day. As the fog of nighttime cleared, she felt the weight of everyday resurface. Gradually, they claimed their spot, perched atop her shoulders. She sunk deeper into her bed.

What would she wear?

How would it flatter her figure?

What would they think?

She managed to pry off the covers and make her way downstairs for breakfast. She poured herself a bowel of cereal and set the coffee to brew. She barely noticed the happy chirps of the morning songbirds or the vibrant petals of the summer flowers starting to bloom.

...continue reading

Arnav Agarwal is an Internal Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto. Check back the last Thursday of each month for a new featured piece as part of his series (Doc Talks: Reflections to Reality)!

 


 

No S1Q3T3

on the waveforms of her ECG,

but nobody turned to check

for signs of right heart strain in me.

 

Alarm beeping cuts through cold silence

only to leave the same void behind on cue;

my mother, ‘the patient’, is fading away,

and I, ‘the bystander’, am too.

...continue reading

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Iris Gorfinkel is a General Practitioner, and Founder and Principal Investigator at PrimeHealth Clinical Research in Toronto, Ontario.

 

On July 10, 2018 Health Canada issued a recall of several products containing the blood pressure lowering drug, valsartan. This came in response to a disclosure from its Chinese manufacturer that the drug had been contaminated with a known carcinogen. A massive effort to contact patients to stop the affected drug lots, and to replace it with an alternative, ensued. Few clinicians had been even remotely aware that ...continue reading