Reflections

CMAJ’s Holiday Reading is back! CMAJ Blogs will host the popular Holiday Reading series online in December 2019.

We’re seeking witty, offbeat, whimsical stories grounded in medicine. Have ideas? Email blogs@cmaj.ca 

Need inspiration? Check out some popular stories from previous years:

Pooh has an addiction issue: holiday reading

Limitations

Diving into the ice bucket challenge

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.

 

 

The following was written because of this floating into my inbox like ash.

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Dear dear,

You asked me what objects looked like breasts. It was morning and the sun was yawning and you said you needed to write a thing for a thing. What thing, I asked? For a class, you told me. I flopped pancakes onto your plate, watched them deflate like a frown. Your pajamas were hanging loose, threads licked skin. Hair was a brown bush for birds or fingers. Eyes tired, hungry. Coffee beans were roasting. Burning. ...continue reading

10 Comments

Due to the sensitivity of the post, the author wished to publish the following piece anonymously. 

Dear Student,

On behalf of the Admissions Committee, we are pleased to reward you an offer of admission to the Doctor of Medicine Program!

This year our Committee received over 5,000 applications, and extended less than 250 offers of admission. However, medicine is not a meritocracy. Upon meeting peers from diverse backgrounds, you will quickly realize that applicants differed in their advantages throughout the admissions process. “Not every applicant had the same access to opportunities to demonstrate or enhance his or her commendable qualities”. ...continue reading

Sarah Chauvin is a PGY2 Family Medicine resident at McMaster University.

 

Palliative care empowers and comforts individuals with life-limiting illnesses. It may be sought at any point and serves as an adjunct to other treatments provided it falls within someone’s goals of care. It is not just trendy terminology or a “feel-good” concept; it is the cornerstone of a good death.

So why, then, after weeks of advocacy, was it denied from my grandmother. Denial? Arrogance? The belief that despite multi-system organ failure at the age of 88 years old we might still be able to “fix” her? So that rather than allowing her to control her environment and provide us with the opportunity to say goodbye, she passed away alone, minutes after being offered a colonoscopy. In fact, minutes after refusing further intervention stating, “I want to go home”. Perhaps an option she never knew existed to her until that moment. ...continue reading

2 Comments

Eleftherios Diamandis is Professor and Head, Division of Clinical Biochemistry, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

 

In the 1970s, my mentor and Professor at the University of Athens, Greece, Dr. Themistokles Hadjiioannou, asked me periodically to go to the library and check his citation record. I remember grabbing from library shelves printed volumes of the “Science Citation Index”, which were as heavy as 5 kg each, going through the pages and then recording manually as to who cited his work. This task required many days of intellectual and physical work ...continue reading

1 Comment

Mei Wen is a currently a PGY1 in Family Medicine at St. Paul’s Hospital.

 

I walk in,
tired, threw my backpack down and headed to my work desk,
robotically and unconsciously, as if my body is used to this routine,
only to catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of my hallway mirror. ...continue reading

16 Comments

Arundhati Dhara is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University in the Department of Family Medicine

Saroo Sharda is an Anesthesiologist in Oakville and an Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University

 

There are few data available on the racial make-up of Canadian female physicians. What data exist suggests that South Asian and East Asian groups are over-represented relative to their proportion of the general population and Black and Indigenous people remain underrepresented.

There is also evidence that non-white physicians experience discrimination from colleagues and patients ranging from daily microaggressions to more overt acts. While organizational anti-discrimination policies often exist, we are generally ill-prepared to deal with incidents when they occur and in their immediate aftermath. The clinicians experiencing bias are often left to act, and must weigh power dynamics against speaking up. The damaging effects of physician discrimination based on race or gender are clear, and yet we know little about the ways in which gender and race intersect to further marginalize women physicians of colour. ...continue reading

Puneet Seth is a practicing family physician in Toronto, part-time Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University and Chief Medical Officer of InputHealth Systems

 

As someone whose life is deeply entrenched in health care technology, both as a physician tinkering with a variety of digital health tools in my own practice and as an entrepreneur helping to build these tools, I've become acutely aware of the growing trend among health professionals in viewing "virtual care" as some kind of magical endpoint that will solve all of the woes of health care. ...continue reading

Beatrice Preti is an R2 in internal medicine at the Queen's University.

 

It was a childhood dream, one that I loved well,

A fairy-tale story I’d heard someone tell

I replayed it at nights, as I lay in my bed

While visions of stethoscopes danced ins my head ...continue reading

Anser Daud is a medical student at the University of Toronto. He enjoys writing about health advocacy and human rights issues.

 

“We’re dealing with a situation that’s not far from here, this is serious,” said Toronto Raptors sportscaster Matt Devlin as he interrupted the proceedings of the championship ceremony at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square on June 17. Those present—perhaps 2 million people by some estimates—began to wonder if their worst fears were beginning to materialize. Videos on social media show ...continue reading