Life and Death and On Call

Last week, I worked more during the 16 hours I was on call that I had during the preceding day – or the following day for that matter. I was so tired that I almost fell asleep during one particularly contemplative portion of the art therapy session I was conducting. I fell into bed just…

Measuring Up

It is forty years since I graduated from McGill Medical School in 1978. Forty-four years since I first walked into the Pine Avenue entrance of the McIntyre Medical Sciences Building. It was a bright, warm September morning. I remember that the auditorium was already dark when I entered, and steep-pitched. I took a seat on…

The Best Family Doctor

Every weekday at noon, I grab a cup of tea and a pile of charts and cozy up to my speaker phone. Thus prepared, I begin to call the family doctors who have referred patients to me. I speak with about 15 family doctors in the two hours between noon and 2 p.m., reviewing assessment…

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…

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…

#MeToo

Over the past week, the systematic victimization of women in Hollywood by a serial sexual predator has caused many women to look at their own life experience and consider whether they have also been the victims of sexual harassment, or worse, in their workplace. Today I have been watching the intensity of the #MeToo campaign…

The Answer

I have not written much all summer because there is only one medical story on my mind. I have resisted publishing this story until I had something to say that might be helpful for others in a similar situation. Recently, one realization comes back to me again and again and for that reason I write…

Patient Accountability II

In January, I wrote a brief introductory essay on the reasons I feel patients must be included as full partners in health care, having not just the right to good care, but also responsibility for certain facets of the health care system.  There were so many comments and concerns raised by that introduction that I…