Saturday, March 13, 2010

There is no single 'right way' for most things in life. Although, I'm sure there are exceptions in fields like medicine or Japanese tea ceremony...

Presently, I'm in the Halifax airport waiting for my connecting flight back home from Labrador. I've got about 2 hrs, so I decided to listen to the podcast "You are Pre-diseased" that my preceptor gave me. It's quite interesting and once I get back, I'll try and post it here so you can listen, too.

The podcast talks about whether or not cancer screening is a good idea. They've raised some good points so far (I'm only halfway through listening) that have articulated what I've had rumbling around in the back of my head as vague feelings for awhile. One of the points that I'm interested in discussing here is the idea that cancer is always deadly and that we should be very, very afraid if developing it.

This got me thinking about the recent Guardasil commercials on tv. Perhaps you've seen them? They consist of monologues by young women who describe their safe sex habits or long term relationships followed by an anxious narrator who responds with phrases like, "I wouldn't say that if I were you" along with scary music and blurring of the womens' pelvic regions. This kind of fear monguering by a pharmaceutical company makes me angry. These ads critize responsible choices and further alienate women from their bodies by making their pelvic areas seem like incubators of disease and pestilence. Who knew that a "cure" for cancer could have such a dark side?

In other ads, guardasil advocates that women ought "to do everything (they) can" to protect themselves fro
HPV. The implied message here is that if you don't volunteer to get the vaccine, then it's likely your own fault that you develop cancer.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for vaccines and preventative treatments as thenrxt person (and probably moreso since I'm a med student)- my objection is really how we're framing these preventative measures to the public. I personally don't believe that this Machiavellian approch to advertising and awareness is the way to go- people ought to choose screening and treatment procedures out of informed consent rather than fear or shame.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Let's Get Feralicious!

A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to a wild state.

We sit at desks in heated buildings, swaddled in high tech fabrics. We eat food made in factories, and go weeks without breaking a sweat, or months without seeing a night star. And it doesn't all suck, but perhaps you feel a creeping uneasiness with your domestication.

-- Social Workout may be my new favourite site.

Budgie Smuggler, Banana Hammock, or Skivvy -- this makes for one cold swim.

Health care will go the way of the car manufacturers within the next 30 years...

Unless the beaurocratic waste within the system is addressed. Unfortunately, the direction we've taken health care has become such a juggernaut that the only way to fix the system now is to take it apart, root and limb, and begin anew. In Newfoundland and Labrador, 46% of the overall province's budget is directed to health care. But how much of that money do we see on the ground? In the physio clinic in Goose Bay, NL, there is a mould infestation on the walls. It has been covered with plastic and taped off for a year. In the meantime, they are doing additional renovations to the 2 year old administration building next door. For a hospital with only 28 beds, there are over 200 administrators who have a building of equal square-footage as the hospital itself.

On the front lines, doctors are weighed down by paperwork that prevents them from engaging in patient care. Yesterday, for one carpal tunnel release surgery, we had to fill out over 12 pages of forms. I think that if they just consolidated all that paperwork into 3 pages - not only would the physician be able to see more patients in a day but they would also save on stationary, let alone assist in helping the environment by not cutting down so many trees!

My preceptor is very frank about the matter. He is continually frustrated by the waste of resources, the lack of understanding by administration about what is needed and why, and the fact that the system feels too big to change. He also admits, however, that it's the physicians fault. We don't show up to board meetings. We complain and complain but we rarely walk next door and up to the desk of the administrator and say, "Here's what I think."

Socrates pointed out that the only people fit to be Philosopher Kings were the people who would never want the job. Thus, as much as many of us abhor politics and business and red tape, I truly believe that the only way to make a change is to actively engage in the system. Otherwise, you'll surely be in for a career of frustration and disappointment.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

That's just the way the bunny bounces.

Quack, Ribbit. Squeak....
Cannot wait until we speak;
Check back here often!

No telephones available for my use in Labrador.

A better update of my Northern adventure is coming soon... in fact, you could even say that I'll be posting it quicker than a raccoon can break into a tin can.

The number of dogs I saw this weekend was wild! I could have zitch dogged you into the next century!

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