Tag Archives: medical humanities

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Maggie Keresteci is a caregiver to her sibling who lives with a life altering disease and is committed to advocating for solutions that will improve the lives of Canadian patients and their caregivers.

 

 

"Coming together is a beginning;

keeping together is progress;

working together is success."

These words of Henry Ford, that bastion of business innovation, have been taking up space in my mind for the last few weeks, as I have contemplated the emerging world of patient and caregiver partnership in Canada. ...continue reading

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Ilana Birnbaum is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto.

 

This work represents some of my reflections during my 6 week Surgery rotation as a third year medical student. While I enjoyed this rotation and learned a great deal about surgery, and clinical care more broadly, I largely felt anonymous. I felt hidden away behind my surgical mask, cap, gown, and gloves.

Even when I was not physically wearing this personal protective gear, I felt as though there was a distance of sorts between myself and the patient. This lack of identity seemed reciprocal. As I felt anonymous to my patients, they too had an element of anonymity in my eyes. My consults in the emergency department were focused, follow-up appointments in clinics were concise, and rounding on inpatients in the mornings was reduced to a few yes or no questions. The majority of my time spent with a given patient was when the patient was under anesthetic.

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Imaan Javeed is a medical student at the University of Toronto.

Warming up my dinner in the microwave, I habitually open the YouTube app to see what's going on in the world. Before the microwave can finish whirring, though, it suddenly occurs to me: do I even like this stuff?

I’m talking, of course, about politics.

I must, right? For a pill I take religiously every day, multiple times a day, which occupies an embarrassingly large chunk of my attention, you'd think it would be something I at least enjoy. The thing is, though, for me, it doesn't feel like a choice. It's not voluntary, nor is it just a hobby or a game. It's an obligation.

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Jovana Milenkovic is a PGY2 in Pediatrics at the University of Calgary.

Ready is what I was.

A week of what should have been pure relaxation on the beaches of the Caribbean, was ruined by the torment of my special sixth sense. You see what I refer to as my sixth sense, is this twist deep in my stomach that always comes before something, usually bad, is going to happen. It came before I lost my first patient during clerkship. It came before my grandfather fell and broke his hip. It continues to come as a subconscious warning to brace myself.

We arrived at the airport, ready to head back home. While checking in, a passenger became unwell and was pulled to the side by the medical team. I watched as they took out a simple blood pressure cuff, “I haven’t had to use one of those since medical school, it’s all electronic now,” I commented to my mother. The twist in my stomach tightened.

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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.

 

 

a voice
from mine,
to yours 

a nose
poor plumbing
when frozen

freckles
little her
left holding
onto summer  ...continue reading

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

Dear potential Referee,

My name is Jane Doe, medical student and residency applicant. So nice to meet you. You are the 30th new staff that I have worked with in the past 15 months and among the over 100 physicians and residents who I’ve met and had to prove myself to across many disciplines and hospitals in our fair country.

So excited to be working with you, to learn from you and to incorporate some of the approaches and expertise that you have into my slowly forming future practice. Look at all that I know how to do! Please appreciate all the additional readings I have done. Did you notice that I’m wearing a perfectly professional outfit with properly groomed hair? I’m actually living out of a suitcase and couch surfing in a city I have never been to that I paid hundreds of dollars to come to just so that I could have the opportunity to spend the day with you today. ...continue reading

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Dennis Wesley is an independent educational researcher, whose interests include STEM, the Humanities, and health sciences--especially interdisciplinary practices and methods.

 

 

Written in 1978, Sontag’s long form essay ‘Illness as Metaphor’ is poignant for its historical study of illnesses and the metaphors that are used to describe them. These metaphors, most often, have a punitive and mystified connotation. Sontag takes us through the journey of metaphors attached with tuberculosis and, more recently, cancer. Essentially, she advocates for an explanatory language that is based on medical truths rather than on the disposition of the afflicted.

As a proponent of critical theory, it might seem like Sontag is handing over an illness to the field that it belongs to- the medical. However, she presents the tendency of philosophers and the general populace to shroud an illness, about which very little is known, in colorful and distasteful figurative language. ...continue reading

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Akina Fay is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University.

 

 

 

Days after my fourteenth birthday, I was diagnosed with a rare brain malformation and underwent emergency brain surgery to prevent my spinal cord from dissecting.

Days after my seventeenth birthday, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer.

At the age of twenty, I started medical school and began to piece together the pathophysiological processes that lead to our illnesses.

At the age of twenty-two, my mother died in my arms after a grueling year of hospitalizations, pain and suffering.

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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

Grace Zhao is a third year MD/MSc student in the Systems Leadership and Innovation program at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation.

 

Ontario is undergoing its biggest health system reform in 50 years. Under Premier Doug Ford, 20 health agencies will be merged into a superagency – Ontario Health. The rationale behind this is to eliminate duplicative back office infrastructure and administration in order to streamline work to achieve integrated and coordinated care. The functional unit would be the Ontario Health Teams, which are made up of local health care providers who work together to provide coordinated care through technology.

With much attention being placed on health systems innovation and transformation, I asked two health system leaders on their thoughts about leading system innovation and transformation and the current climate of Ontario’s health care system. ...continue reading