Do You Want to be a Consumer or a Patient?

Last week, I was annoyed by a few newspaper articles in which those persons using health care services were called “consumers”. I’ve had enough of that. I want the people using health care services to be called “patients” again. What is a “consumer”? My Canadian Oxford Dictionary defines “consumer” as “a person who purchases goods…

Managing Bullying and Cyberbullying

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak at my hospital’s annual Child Psychiatry Education Day. My topic was Social Media and Your Child’s Mental Health. I was surprised at the number of questions there were. Apart from the public questions, many people came up after the talk to speak with me privately. Among this…

Driving and Marijuana

With the legalization of marijuana fast approaching (The Government of Canada is now saying “sometime this summer”), it was only a matter of time until one of my patients asked this question: “Dr. Beck, how much marijuana will I be able to use and still drive?” “I didn’t think you were driving yet.” “I’m not…

From Bedside to Bench

During all my years of practicing medicine, I have been close to research in the institutions where I worked. I have admired and assisted clinical researchers, but I had never felt inclined to join their ranks. When I became the Clinical Director of the Youth Program two years ago, however, that changed. With this new…

A Raincoat for Grief

Two weeks ago, I took my usual Saturday trip to Halifax to see my sister. I leave my home at 5:30 in the morning. I board a plane. I arrive in a city 1600 kilometres from home. I drive to a nursing home and spend the day with my sister, listening to her talking about…

A Primer on Gender

I am bewildered by the various gender designations currently recognized and described. As a psychiatrist who sees primarily adolescents, I must be able to understand what a person means when they tell me that they are non-binary transgender or two-spirit. Gender and gender roles were so restricted in my adolescence that when I wrote an…

The Pharmacare Monument

The image I have of how universal pharmacare is being added to the resources Canadians have for healthcare is a building, a specific kind of public building that can be found in most Canadian cites: a hospital. Think about a hospital in your city that was originally built sometime in the twentieth century. The original…

Recovering from Child Abuse

The prevalence of child abuse in Canada is approximately 1%. This may seem not to be very high but the impact child abuse has on those affected has far reaching consequences. This is best illustrated by more statistics, so I am going to summarize these over the next few paragraphs. While you review them, I…

When Children Die

Like many other people from Ottawa, I have been very much affected over many years by the courage of Jonathan Pitre, who passed away on Wednesday evening. He was 17 years old and suffered from epidermolysis bullosa. There have been tributes for Jonathan from so many, including hockey players and civic leaders and journalists, as…

Invisible and Unrepresented

In between the celebrating and resting of a long holiday weekend, I have found myself doing research on the Canadian Medical Protective Association(CMPA). On Friday, I found this tweet of the candidates for a position on the CMPA Council and was incredulous at the fact that no women were running: (CMPA Promoted tweet) The Canadian…