Shadowing physicians – should it be a criterion for acceptance to medical school?

While the competition for admissions to medical schools in North America is on the rise, nonzero attrition rates from these schools are not uncommon. As such, many admissions committees are increasingly favoring students who have shadowed physicians prior to their application. They reason that students are less likely to drop out of medical school if “they know what they are getting themselves into”, and therefore one way to ensure that they are familiar with the demands of medicine is to have job shadowing experience. However, I do not completely believe that there is any significant relationship between medical school attrition rates and job shadowing experience.

How many medical students who go on to become doctors do not pursue a career in medicine? A very small percentage. On the other hand Continue reading

Mental health support in primary care is indispensable

Most Canadians face long wait times in order to see medical specialists (this may be true in other countries as well). Psychiatry is no different. Sometimes, individuals in need of mental health support have to wait for months before they can see a psychiatrist (I am aware of this because I work at a mental health hospital). Most individuals cannot afford other mental health services, including seeking help from psychologists or other therapists, which are not covered by the government. Imagine a very anxious and depressed individual, who is “lost” and has no where to go while they wait for months to see their psychiatrist. Who can they rely on to get relief in a timely manner? Family doctors. Continue reading

Opioid crisis in Canada

Canada has the highest rate of opioid use in the world. Vancouver, one of the most populous cities in Canada, experienced nine deaths from fentanyl overdose in a single night. About 622 unintentional overdose deaths were seen in the first 10 months of 2016 in Vancouver, and 338 deaths from overdose in Alberta. Carfentanil, an opioid that is 10, 000 times more potent than morphine, was recently found on streets in Ontario. There has been 40% increase in street drug use in Canada in 2016 compared to the previous year. These statistics are  concerning. For any wise Prime Minister of Canada, this issue would top the priority list, far surpassing other issues such as climate change, immigration, and childcare benefits.

Do Canadians experience more pain than people elsewhere in the world? If so, is it physical or mental pain, or both? Are they more depressed and lonely than others? Are good drug plans to be blamed for the unprecedented opioid addiction rates? Who are at-risk populations for opioid misuse? Do Canadian doctors receive adequate training in prescribing narcotics? Are Pharmacists well-trained Continue reading

Comparison of the Health Care Systems in Canada and the United States: Collaborator Versus Competitor

Canada and the U.S. are neighboring nations, and as one would expect, they have some great similarities, that include +1 calling code, driving on the right, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Walmart, and the list continues.

However, despite these similarities, the health care systems of these two nations are very different on many levels. The U.S. health care system is criticized for being a multi-tiered, for-profit system that guarantees health care only to those with an insurance (i.e., mostly private insurance). On the other hand, while Canada is a single-payer system that provides publicly funded, universal coverage, it is not without its pitfalls. Continue reading

“Why love [cats]…but eat [chickens]?”: A powerful campaign

This Fall, posters from animal rights activist groups are receiving extensive coverage in the TTC subway system. These posters named, “why love one…but eat the other?” are meticulously designed to send out a powerful message: Treat all animals equally…with kindness…

One particular poster that I came across was comparing cats with chickens (Figure 1). It said that we treat dogs as companion animals, but chickens are also “inquisitive, affectionate, and personable”. Continue reading