Michael Seres – The Man With Olympic Sized Guts

The morning after my first bowel resection over 21 years ago, I was lying in bed still woozy from anesthetic. A troop of white coated doctors entered the room and surrounded my bed. It was my surgical team.

The lead resident was filling me in on how successful the operation was, how much bowel was removed, when he added, “Oh, by the way, while we were in there we removed your appendix too.”

He was much too casual about taking one of my body parts. I panicked momentarily, groping myself between my legs to make sure the surgeons hadn’t got carried away “while they were in there”!

I’ve learned to live with the consequences of those missing lengths for a couple of decades. I know I’ve been lucky. There are people in far worse condition than me. Then 5 days ago I came across Michael Seres online.

Michael didn’t just have a bowel resection. After years of chronic Crohn’s disease his bowel completely collapsed. A resection wasn’t going to do the trick. He needed a whole new bowel and was slated to be one of the very first people in the UK to undergo a bowel transplant.

The transplant took place in October, 2011. It [...] continue the story

“The Market” Broadcasts Across Canada

Hot Docs 2011 Don Haig Award Winner

Twelve years ago, when I was still living in India, I had maids who had scars. When they used to casually tell us they had sold their kidneys, I did not see it as a symptom of a larger evil. -Rama Rau, Director

Every 3 days a Canadian dies waiting for a new kidney; in the US it’s a person a day. Where do patients go to fill the gap?

Filmmaker Rama Rau’s revealing documentary “The Market” follows individual stories that explore the larger issues surrounding the organ trade – and looks at these issues from both a Western point of view as well as from the point of view of people selling their organs. What are the ethics of organ buying and selling? And, what would we ourselves do if we were forced into a similar dilemma?

In a slum in Chennai, India most of the fishermen are in post-trauma conditions, having witnessed or been in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. They simply refuse to go back to the sea for their livelihood, and to survive, their wives have taken to selling their kidneys to feed the children. The tsunami has accelerated what is [...] continue the story

What GPs can learn by listening to patients | The Gaurdian

I was nervous at first and wasn’t sure what to expect. I write this having just come back from our first patient participation group (PPG) meeting. After this inaugural face-to-face, I came home feeling that the disparate group of our patients who made an effort to give up their time were generally pleased that they had attended.

I was really glad to meet them all outside the consulting room yet still on practice turf, managing to listen to their views. And in return I gave them some insight into the workings of their local surgery as well as a whistlestop tour.

Every patient who attended had two things in common – health needs and being registered at our practice. It’s only right that they get to voice their opinions, and that we as a practice can adapt to their needs and provide them with an even better service.

The government has encouraged practices to form such groups as part of a DES, or directed enhanced service. These are – in theory – optional initiatives which reward practices in return for work that improves the quality of patient care.

The themes which came up were no surprise. Access featured heavily. What is the best way [...] continue the story

On a New Frontier of Patient Engagement | Preface

Closing the Door on Cycle 4 2011

Last time, the Cycle 4 Team and I were continuing our journey across Canada –remaining kilometers: 1500, Toronto to Digby. We had already completed roughly 5500 from British Columbia. So no sweat, right?

Well, no. There was sweat. Plenty of it. Half of the reason cyclists always wear glasses is to avoid rain, bugs or dirt in their eyes. The other half is to avoid sweat splashing from the rider in front of them.

No matter the amount of perspiration, the next few hundred kilometers would be extremely special for me. I was fortunate enough to bike through my hometown in Toronto’s east end, and enjoy seeing all the places that have meaning to me; my grandparents’ street, the Tim Horton’s where I usually meet friends, the mall where I had my first job.

My second “hometown” of Kingston, where I spend more than half the year as a student at Queen’s was also one of our stops. To see my friends and family welcoming me home, in both cities, just spurred me on to pedal faster and harder for the last few legs of our ride into Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

I can firmly say that no other region in the [...] continue the story