Alastair McAlpine is a fellow in paediatric infectious diseases at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver
People sometimes ask me, "What’s the difference between medicine in Vancouver and medicine in Cape Town?" The answer is, quite simply, Everything.
But let’s rewind a bit. In July of this year, I flew the 20 or so hours it takes to get from South Africa to Vancouver. I arrived in the city by myself with 2 suitcases, knowing hardly a soul, and feeling completely overwhelmed. A few months earlier, I had been accepted into a 2 year paediatric (even the spelling is different) infectious diseases program at BC Children’s Hospital. Before coming I had filled out endless paperwork, done a million online courses ...continue reading →
Denis Daneman is Professor and Chair Emeritus in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and Paediatrician-in-Chief Emeritus at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto
Here’s a strong recommendation for all paediatricians and paediatricians-in-training: if you are going to read only one book in 2018, seriously consider Ghost Boy: The miraculous escape of a misdiagnosed boy trapped inside his own body, the autobiography of Martin Pistorius, co-written with Megan Lloyd Davies. The book was given to me by a colleague aware of my bibliophilia, my South African roots and my advocacy for child health: “Read this!” she said, simply and forcefully. I obeyed, picking it up a couple of days later. I could not put it down until I’d read it cover to cover.
The story is pretty simple: a 12 year old, previously well boy in South Africa, develops an undiagnosed neurological illness, which leaves him mute and quadriplegic ...continue reading →
Justin Lam graduated from University of Toronto Medical School in 2017 and is now a first year resident in Paediatrics at UofT and SickKids
Denis Daneman is Chair Emeritus, UofT Dept of Paediatrics, and Paediatrician-in-Chief Emeritus, SickKids
The Mentee: JL
I sat in front of my laptop, staring at an email draft to a potential mentor. I knew it was pointless trying to perfect it, but I felt I needed to read it just one more time. He was, after all, a legend in my medical world, a well-respected clinician and expert in the field, with a prolific academic career and an illustrious research career. Also, I had only interacted with him a handful of times before. I was reaching out to him because of what I perceived to be his ability to balance his career with a family. How had he done it? I hit send. His reply came not 10 minutes later. Our first meeting was set.
Before I knew it, we were meeting for the third time. It was during this meeting that I was given an article written by a psychiatrist about how he had chosen not only his specialty, but also between a “quiet life” and a “calling” , a process that I myself was going through at the time and had begun to explore with the help of this mentor. ...continue reading →
On the first day of my Social Paediatrics elective, I accompanied a nurse on a visit to a family shelter. I entered the single room and noticed a healthy newborn girl, sleeping peacefully in an old crib. The room consisted of a bed, a table, two chairs, a fridge, and a microwave. There was no stove, no kitchen sink. Clothes, toiletries, dishes and bottles were strewn everywhere. The floor was dirty and there was graffiti on the wall. One of the parents was present, but the other was out looking for work. It was my first time in a shelter, and I was stunned that a family with a newborn was living in such conditions.
Laura Stymiest is a paediatrics resident at Dalhousie University. She previously trained at the Coady International Institute and has researched in the area of Social Paediatrics. She writes with...
Elizabeth Lee-Ford Jones, an expert adviser with EvidenceNetwork.ca, and Prof of Paediatrics at SickKids in Toronto.
I remember being a second year medical student working in a paediatric clinic.
I see a young girl who has been referred for inability to pay attention in the classroom. The child’s teacher is concerned she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and possibly, a learning disability.
I am just beginning to establish my approach to patient problems and complex medical illness.
As I make my way through the medical history, the child’s parents tell me they are struggling to make ends meet. Despite their best efforts combined with collections from a nearby food bank, the little girl often goes to school hungry. ...continue reading →