Tag Archives: medical humanities

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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.

...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.

 

 

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

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

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

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.

 

 

plastic plants in the dentist clinic
that you haven’t visited since you were a child
wearing a yellow smile and proud stain of mustard on your shirt
that has followed every laundromat you’ve ever been to ...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.

 

 

 

there used to be tall trees here
that stood alone
that could be seen from space
that were cut into these scrambled stuck papers
where my pencil accidentally touches a thought you had
fifteen years ago
during that first stroking stitch that was meant
to keep the rest together

...continue reading

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.

...continue reading