New Top Family Doc Opportunity for Change

About 23 years ago I was in a canoe on a Muskoka lake with a young family doctor discussing some of the alternative treatments I was undergoing for my Crohn’s disease. He listened attentively and although not convinced that what I was doing was “evidence-based”, he was  supportive and encouraging. Our families shared a wonderful vacation together and we’ve been friends ever since.

On November 4, The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) installed my fellow canoer as their new president who comes with a particularly important mission and an opportunity that patients need to be aware of. Here’s some of his official bio: Dr. Sandy Buchman practiced family medicine for 22 years. He is currently Education Lead and a Family Physician Practicing in Palliative Care at the Temmy Latner Centre for Palliative Care in Toronto and also serves as the Primary Care Lead for the Toronto Regional Cancer Program at Cancer Care Ontario. Dr. Buchman teaches family medicine at the University of Toronto and McMaster University, and supervises residents at the Mount Sinai Hospital Academic Family Health Team. What his official bio doesn’t include is all the humanitarian work he’s done in remote places in Africa, South America, and the streets [...] continue the story

“How to Live Before You Die.”

In his 2005 address to the Stanford University graduating class he told them that “death is life’s change agent.” Yesterday, the man who was one of the leaders of the information revolution and permanently changed the way our society shares and communicates information, left this world silent of the end-of-life experience.

He gave us tools to help us elevate ourselves beyond our own expectations of what defines us.  Yet at the end of his life, only a simple statement back on August 24 shared little.

It brings up the issue how even the most innovative of us are still trapped by society’s taboos, by topics that we haven’t got the courage, understanding, or education to talk about comfortably.

Whether its end-of-life or chronic illness, the notion of sickness is something we still don’t have an open dialogue about. People whose bodies are suffering are stigmatized by their conditions. And public behaviour ends up marginalizing the individual.

It would have been interesting, no doubt, had Steve Jobs shared with us, even a minute portion of his experience with illness and impending death. How liberating might it have been if among all the billions of accolades that are coming out today, there would be one that [...] continue the story