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“Our Roger” – Royal Society Inducts Vice Dean Research

This week I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Roger Deeley is one of nine professors at Queen’s to be named a Royal Society fellow.1 I would like to congratulate Roger on achieving one of the highest honours that can be bestowed upon an academic in Canada; an honour that is well-deserved.

Introducing Queen’s Meds 2018

Thank you to Tony Sanfilippo, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, for his guest blog, below, welcoming the new Meds 2018 class.

With the all-too-soon end of summer comes the beginning of a new academic year. This week we welcome members of Meds 2018, the 160th class to enter the study of Medicine at Queen’s since our school opened its doors in 1854.

A few facts about these new members of our learning community:

They were selected from our largest ever applicant pool – 4366 highly qualified students submitted applications last fall.

Apologies in Medicine

“Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.”

-John Wayne

Saying you’re sorry isn’t always easy. But an article recently published in CMAJ highlights an important cultural shift that is happening in medicine: a shift towards communicating medical errors to patients. Research subsequent to the seminal Institute of Medicine report “ To err is human” suggests that disclosing adverse events is a key element to disclosure practice.1 Many believe that establishing a culture of apologizing will ultimately improve patient safety.

I took the ice-bucket challenge for Bernice

Like many throughout Canada and the U.S., I took the ice bucket challenge today. As we all know, this is for a great cause; people around the world are supporting research efforts directed at finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also know as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

There is, as well, a very personal reason for my taking this challenge. My mother-in-law, Bernice Mackay, is currently suffering from ALS. It is a very difficult time for Bernice, as well as for my father-in-law, Bob, my wife, Cheryl, and her sisters, Susan and Janice.

Is it ethical to use an experimental treatment for patients with the Ebola virus?

Is it ethical to use an experimental treatment for patients with the Ebola virus?

In the wake of one of the most feared epidemics in recent memory, a controversy has been brewing as to whether the administration of untested antivirals is ethical. My vote is an unwavering yes!

How breaking old rules improved patient care at KGH

In 2010, KGH made a bold move: the hospital eliminated visiting hours, allowing patients’ loved ones to be at their bedsides at any hour of the day. Though this trend had taken off in the United States, few hospitals in Canada had taken the leap.

Since then, 20 other Canadian hospitals and healthcare facilities have followed suit, and many other institutions easing restrictions on visiting hours.

The Electronics of Staying Fit

My friends Ron and Edda Laxer were visiting in Kingston this weekend. Ron and Edda are both very fit, and Ron is increasingly finding ways to stay in shape. He introduced me to a product called ‘Fitbit’, which is a small device worn on your wrist to track your activity: your steps, your calories burned and much more. It communicates through Bluetooth with any smart-like device; an iPhone, an iPad or equivalent.

On Vacation

After a long few months, I am on vacation! I am leaving the dean’s office in the capable hands of my Executive Vice Dean, Iain Young, and I’m taking off. Our plans are to chill out and relax in Kingston for a week. Then Cheryl, I and our youngest son Gabe are off to London, England. We are going to attend Gabe’s graduation ceremony from his Master’s degree in political science at the University of Essex. He is planning on attending Queen Mary University of London law school next year, so Cheryl and I will be assisting him in finding a place to live in London.

Physician Assisted Dying

In June the Canadian Medical Association released its preliminary findings on the issue of physician assisted dying.1 The report calls for “creation of a national palliative-care strategy to ensure people across the country have access to a high-quality, dignified end-of-life experience.”2 Recently the Province of Québec passed Bill 52 that affords Québec citizens the right to “die with dignity”. The bill passed in the Québec assembly in June by a vote of 94 to 22.3

You are your bugs

The last few years has seen an explosion of interest in the bugs that live in or on our bodies. It is amazing that the average person has more than a trillion bugs as part of him or her. While medical science has long understood the existence of these bugs, and the symbiosis between man and microbe, it is only recently that the full ramification of this association is being discovered. In a recent article in The Economist, it was said that “a growing band of biologists, … see people not just as individuals, but also as ecosystems”.1

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