Reflections

Paul G. Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba. From 2004 to 2007 he served as the founding board chair for the Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety.

 

My introduction to the complex and emotional world of adverse events in healthcare occurred in 2001 when I chaired a committee to review an inquest report into the tragic deaths of twelve infants in a paediatric surgery program in Manitoba. Justice Murray Sinclair who conducted the inquest had concluded that at least five of the deaths were preventable.

Back then there was no apology law in Manitoba.  Neither the Sinclair report (2000) nor the Thomas report (2001) recommended the adoption of such a law.   ...continue reading

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Lawrence Loh is an Adjunct Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto

 

I took up run-commuting following the birth of my first child because leisure time physical activity just wasn’t going to happen. My office had a shower, and what better way to counter the drudgery of the commute? I soon discovered mental calisthenics were also part of the running deal—not only in planning logistics, like ensuring you have enough toiletries, underwear, and the right accessories at the office—but also in the opportunity to sharpen one’s sense of observation.

The routine of run commuting leads one to notice patterns over time. If you leave at the same time most days, ...continue reading

Adam Kassam  is the chief resident in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Western University

Jeremy Wasserlauf is a fellow in cardiovascular disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

 

The meteoric rise of bitcoin has fueled worldwide interest in cryptocurrencies and, more broadly, blockchain technology. The once obscure brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto has evolved into a speculator’s paradise, rivaling the dot-com bubble of the early 2000s. While bitcoin’s future as a digital currency is a topic of debate, its underlying blockchain software has become the foundation for a technological revolution that began in finance, but is quickly transforming other industries. The application of blockchain to the world of healthcare may prove to be its most humanitarian of functions.

Acclaimed as one of the biggest innovations since the internet itself, blockchain eliminates trusted third parties such as banks from online transactions and replaces them with a decentralized database, or a ledger, of transactions. The ledger is stored across a network of computers that is visible to everybody, and a combination of cryptographic keys is used to create a secure reference of identity. ...continue reading

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Sharon Yeung is a MD/MSc student at Queen’s University

 

I’ll be the first to admit: I’ve never been one for politics.

The garish lawn signs of electoral campaigns, the predatory advertisements and the shiny, charismatic politicians, bred in me a deep political apathy at an early age. It was an apathy fueled by a lack of understanding of how these matters were relevant to my daily life – and for the most part, my political apathy was left unchallenged.

I suspect my experiences are not unlike those of my peers in my generation. After all, weren’t we all once taught that politics is a sacred taboo? The kind you should never talk about at dinner, second only to religion. As it turns out, it’s also the kind you don’t talk about in polished Medical School Classrooms.

The apolitical culture of medical school is, however, not inconsequential. ...continue reading

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Sarah Tulk is an Ontario physician who recently finished her residency training in family medicine at McMaster University

 

“If only he had chosen a higher floor, we wouldn’t have had to come here!”

These were the words that came out of my preceptor’s mouth. I was a wide-eyed medical student, shadowing in orthopedic surgery. The patient was an older man who had sustained multiple fractures after attempting to end his life by jumping from an apartment building balcony. The trauma ward was full, so he was, inconveniently, located on a distant ward which meant his poor choice of departure level was now encroaching on our operating room time. In medical school, I learned that mental illness was shameful before I learned how to use a stethoscope. ...continue reading

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Mehdi Aloosh is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine resident (R1) at McMaster University and a graduate of medicine from Tehran University and master’s in surgical education from McGill University

 

Cal Robinson is a pediatric resident (R1) at McMaster University and completed medical school in the UK

 

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) that match to residency positions in Ontario are required to participate in the Pre-Residency Program (PRP) in order to begin their residency.  We participated in the 2017 PRP program as trainees and benefited from the learning opportunities specific to practicing medicine in Canada that the program provided. However, the PRP program structure does not follow the fundamental principles of Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME). PRP re-design, incorporating a CBME model of outcome-based assessment with identification of residents requiring additional support would optimize ...continue reading

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Hissan Butt is a medical student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario

 

I recently learned that two Canadian medical students died in the past three weeks. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding these deaths.

However, this has not stopped worried Canadian medical students from speculating about the causes of death. The speculation arises not because of a desire to gossip. Rather, I think, it stems partly from a lack of information and partly because of fear. At the time of writing, most believe that the students died by suicide. One university has acknowledged the death of one of the students, although the cause is not identified.

The silence is justified - we are told through unofficial sources – by a request from the families to respect their right to privacy. We are also told that talk might spark copying. Indeed, any decent person should want to respect the wishes of the bereaved families, to help them grieve and lighten their burden in this difficult time. There is no need for naming, but there is a need to talk. ...continue reading

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Meagan Mahoney is a pediatric intensivist at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary

Jennifer Woolfsmith is Mackenzy’s mom

Matthew Weiss is a pediatric intensivist at the Centre Mère-Enfant Soleil du CHU de Québec and medical director of organ donation at Transplant Québec

 

 

Organ donation is a gift. Not just for those who receive, but often for the families of those who give.

When 22-month-old Mackenzy Woolfsmith died suddenly and tragically in 2012, her organs saved the lives of four people. For her parents, this decision has made a lasting, positive impact on their lives, one of the few positive aspects they were able to salvage from this traumatic loss. The story of Mackenzy’s parents’ experience of organ donation as a gift received, as an integral part of end-of-life care and bereavement, is, we believe, a story that is not told often enough. ...continue reading

Mandi Irwin is a family physician at the Nova Scotia Health Authority's Newcomer Health Clinic, in Halifax, NS

Elizabeth Munn is a medical student at Dalhousie University

 

Hamid Abdihalim is a medical student at Dalhousie University

Matthew Ta is a medical student at Dalhousie University

 

 

Human displacement as a consequence of war, natural disaster, civil conflict or political instability is not a new problem. The ongoing war in Syria has brought this issue into mainstream view recently. This and other protracted and escalating conflicts have resulted in the displacement of over 22.5 million refugees globally, as estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2016 alone, almost 190,000 refugees were resettled in new countries around the world. This includes resettlement in Canada, which has welcomed over 25,000 refugees from Syria [1].

We often fail to appreciate that once refugees arrive in their countries of resettlement, they face substantial challenges ...continue reading

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Daniel Miller is a Physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) in Lethbridge, Alberta

 

Income splitting has come under attack by the current Federal Liberal Government as an unfair tax advantage for certain individuals and several proposals put forward to eliminate certain “tax loop holes” may have a further reaching impact that revenue generation and impact our charter rights. We shouldn’t be discussing tax loop holes, but rather the effects of income splitting being a charter right for all Canadians. While I use the term marriage specifically, I would also include civil union and common-law partners to whom the same legal rights apply.

I recently met with my accountant to review the financial details of my medical practice. He told me and my wife that we would no longer be able to income split due to the proposed changes in Federal taxation legislation. ...continue reading