Dr. James Maskalyk describes emergencies “as a sign of life taking care of itself” in his most recent memoir, Life on the Ground Floor. Throughout his book, the reader is left to wonder what exactly Maskalyk means by this. It is an ominous phrase that, at first glance, reads more like a repackaged “survival of the fittest” for emergency departments. However, through deft and emotional storytelling, Maskalyk urges us to look beyond this stark message of Darwinism and see that emergencies are the purest form of life helping life, or “life taking care of itself”. ...continue reading →
Jaya Tanwani is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Toronto
An interesting experience I had with cultural safety was when I volunteered at medical camps in rural Pakistan at age sixteen. My parents had taken my brother and me back to Pakistan—a country that we belonged to but had never resonated with—to visit our extended family and “get in touch with our roots.” As part of my parents’ efforts to help us become more aware of the privileged North American lives we lived, they insisted that I work with some doctors in running a medical camp. Having been attracted to medicine since I was a child, I leapt at the opportunity… only to shy away from the idea five minutes later when they told me that the medical camps were in rural Pakistan. I was scared. I didn’t want to desert the comforts of urban Pakistan, where McDonald’s and Pizza Hut were a block away and where I could still wear my Canadian attire. I was certainly not comfortable with the idea of working with a group of people so different from myself and so different from the modern, chic Pakistani society that my relatives lived in. ...continue reading →
Mark Soth is a mid-career academic intensivist in Ontario, Canada. He blogs as the Loonie Doctor about physicians' personal finance
We really have come a long way as a society in that "the talk" is not so much of a big thing anymore. We speak more openly about sex - the benefits, the pitfalls, and the repercussions both within our families and in our public institutions. It is no longer a major taboo. That was not always the case.
Historically, the taboo of sex has contributed to much misery. For example, when syphilis ran rampant around the world in the 16th century, many were denied care because it was considered “the wages of sin”. Of course, they treated syphilis with mercury back then, so that may have been worse. The advent of penicillin as an effective cure for syphilis in the 1940s was revolutionary, but it still did not eradicate the disease. With penicillin, education, and condoms - syphilis is much less common now, except on internal medicine exams.
Did all that talk about sex make you uncomfortable? Probably not. In fact, some medical nerds are probably chomping at the bit to correct me on some fact about syphilis.
Natasha Sarah Crowcroft is Chief of Applied Immunization Research at Public Health Ontario and a Professor at the University of Toronto in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her work aims to maximize the public health benefits of immunization.
It is good to celebrate anniversaries of major achievements in public health. The bicentenary anniversary of the publication of Dr. Edward Jenner’s paper on vaccination against smallpox, published in 1796, was celebrated on the cover of the 1996 edition of the United Kingdom’s (UK)’s immunization guide, marking one of the greatest achievements of humankind. Recently however we reached the anniversary of a publication that we might all rather forget. Twenty years ago in February 1998, two years after the celebration of Jenner’s legacy, The Lancet medical journal published a paper describing a small case series of “ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children”. The story has been described ...continue reading →
Stéphanie Benoît is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa
AiLi Wang is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa
What is medicine? It is much more than learning to diagnose and treat diseases. It has physical and mental components—factual and intuitive aspects. Its definition is complex and multi-factorial. Medicine is an art in all its forms.
Speaking of the arts… The Anatomy Colouring Book was a project first envisioned by Dr. Alireza Jalali as a way for medical students to study anatomy creatively. Stéphanie and AiLi, two medical students known for their interest in bridging science and the arts, were recruited and given an opportunity to re-imagine the human body as an œuvre d'art. They both worked during their first year of clerkship to develop drawings that would accurately capture the anatomical body as well as bring imagination and creativity to paper. Though challenging, the process of creating the illustrations was a way to pursue their passion for art while contributing to their peers’ learning opportunities. ...continue reading →
Yara Abou-Hamde is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University
Dear Mom and Dad,
When you arrived in Canada eleven years ago with four young children, you knew you had given up everything familiar to give us a chance at a more secure life. What you did not know then was that your only daughter would go on to pursue a career in medicine, adding stretches of foreign terrain.
Now, I have made it to clinical clerkship. It has been a dream. You know how much joy I get from learning on the job and being able to provide care to patients. It has been both exciting and relieving to know for certain that I have chosen the right career path for myself. ...continue reading →
This dynamic executive committee will create policies and direction to foster the growth and development of our new national, health humanities organization. A lot has already been accomplished thanks to the diligent work of our colleagues, students and friends. Over 1000 people have attended our annual Creating Space conference since its inception eight years ago. We have funding for three years from Associated Medical Services, which is being used in part for start-up costs, including administrative support. The CAHH website is also operating and a conditional constitution has been posted for members’ review. ...continue reading →
Magbule Doko is a family physician in Windsor, Ontario, and an adjunct professor at The University of Western Ontario
Our decision, firm and dedicated
To become doctors: a noble profession
Long years of heads in our books
Clinical years of emotional turmoil
Oh yes you did not know
Their stories touched us, imprinted on our minds
We wept ...continue reading →
Austin Lam is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at the University of Toronto
I remember the final oral examination for my Phenomenology course at McGill University. I was nearing completion of my undergraduate degree, yet I remained uncertain as to whether I had been accepted to medical school or not. My professor, who knew of my aspirations, presented me with a poignant question after the exam: “What does it mean to care in healthcare?” We had studied Heidegger’sBeing and Time (BT) during the course, in which Heidegger developed a nuanced, intricate, and memorable illustration of Care.
This powerful question has stayed with me through the fledgling stages of my medical training. ...continue reading →
Sunjit Parmar is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of British Columbia
A withering mind:
As this body crawls forth to die
My soul still marches forth and thrives.
With each passing breath
I move further from life;
Yet this soul somehow survives.
None can halt the decay—
No person, no bribe.
And still, ever-growing, ever so alive
I now realize I have lived a lie ...continue reading →