Austin Lam is a medical student at the University of Toronto
We often hear and use the term “” without having a precise definition in mind. In order to elucidate the meaning of this term, it is important to analyze the concept lying at its centre: the patient. What does it mean to be a patient? What is the core, essential definition of patient?
Some have for patient to be replaced with a different term. As someone who has undergone surgeries myself, I have reflected on the meaning of this word and its associated implications. My hope is that this preliminary analysis can help provide directions for future questions, emphasizing an open exploration rather than closing off areas of discussion. ...continue reading →
is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Alberta
In healthcare, we sometimes hear the saying, “I went home thinking about that patient.” I thought I knew what this meant until I met Winnie.
It was a foggy Tuesday and the humidity hung thick in the air. On my first day as an elective student in Palliative Care, I was apprehensive as I exited the elevator onto the hospital unit where I would be spending the next two weeks. Soon after my orientation, I was asked to go meet my first patient. Winnie came to us with pain and shortness of breath due to an advanced lung cancer. We worried that Winnie’s hospital bed would become her death bed. ...continue reading →
is a CMAJ Associate Editor and a professor of primary care in Northern Ireland, UK
Imagine your work was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Last week, , thrust this relatively unknown Northern Irish artist into the international limelight. A household name locally, is best known for his portraits of Irish writers, poets, musicians, and figures from the media. But, his in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington first attracted the attention of the creative director of Time and led to this commission. In painting his portrait of Merkel, however, it was the first time that he had painted entirely from photographs and film ...continue reading →
is the CEO of , the national organization working to reduce unwanted suffering at end of life
Every year at Dying With Dignity Canada our Personal Support and Advocacy Program receives calls from hundreds of individuals who are grappling with a horrific diagnosis and want to explore an early exit strategy. Only a tiny fraction of these individuals will ultimately hasten their dying.
Yet even though most deaths physically unfold as they would have done if there had been no contact with us, our clients often have a very different experience of dying from other Canadians. Simply by learning about their options, as limited as they are under our current legal constraints, those who reach out to us have much greater peace of mind, whether or not they ultimately take action to control the timing of their deaths.