Author Archives: CMAJ

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Kate Peiyin Zhang is a medical resident at University of Toronto.

 

“I can’t afford to see a dentist or pay for medication,” says the patient sitting across from me. “Can you help me?”

Ten years ago, I was in this patient’s shoes. I immigrated to Canada with my parents when I was 13; we were a family of three living on $12,000 a year. It was tough being poor. I worked multiple jobs to help make ends meet while attending school full-time. Studying medicine never crossed my mind as a possibility. My family experienced multiple barriers to accessing health care, but we also met compassionate physicians who made all the difference in our lives, and they are the ones who inspired me to pursue a career as a doctor.  ...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

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Imagine yourself as a family physician seeing a 68-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and chronic knee pain. While these medical concerns are well-managed, things for your patient are tough socially. She has become increasingly isolated since her husband passed. Her apartment is in an older building with good heating but no air-conditioning and near to no sidewalks, green spaces, or public transit routes in the area. She often requires friends or a cab to drive her around.

How can you assess and mitigate the acute and chronic environment-related health risks faced by this woman, and other patients like her? ...continue reading

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Geraldine Huynh is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Alberta.

 

After “catching the flu” and falling down in his own home, Marion Chomik distinctly remembers in October 1960 the embarrassment of his dad carrying him as a 13-year-old boy into the car to a local hospital in Viking, AB, where he would awake the next day to the shocking realization that he could no longer move his arms or legs.

Marion Chomik was one of the patients I interviewed. ...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

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Meghan Kerr is a medical student at University of Toronto.

 

 

 

I was swept into this world,

Feet taken out from under me

My trickling stream no match

For the roaring torrent, and

Their confluence, ...continue reading

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Vivian Gu is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at the University of British Columbia

 

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Held every year, it’s a gathering of more than 9000 government officials and representatives from advocacy groups and NGOs worldwide. They come together in throes, dressed in everything from stiff suits to colourful swaths of cultural garb, and for two weeks, assemble to advocate for women and the challenges they face back home. By the end, a collection of recommendations is aggregated to shape the global agenda on gender equality and the empowerment of women worldwide for the year to come. ...continue reading

Brianna Cheng is a MSc Epidemiology student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University.

 

 

 

is it possible to mourn the living?

 

time’s grasp on youth seems ever loose

while draining those already

shaking

dithering

moaning

clutching that metal receptacle

you cursed and swore ...continue reading