Conquering Creativity in Medicine and Stem Cells at Ottawa’s UOHS

After speaking at CUCOH at Queen’s University, I got invited to UOCH at the University of Ottawa, my old stomping ground, about creativity in medicine. You can find all my slides on my appearances page, where I’m adding a video testimonial from Esther, who came to see me for the second time, on her birthday. Thanks, Esther!

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Esther!

 

Then they asked me tough questions like, “What’s your own favourite book?

Real answer: all of them. But I told them Terminally Ill was the most critically acclaimed and The Most Unfeeling Doctor in the World made the most money.

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“What makes you happiest, medicine, your family, or writing?”

Real answer: all of them. Medicine challenges my brain, gives me human interaction, and gets my hands dirty. I’m cheerfully married and my kids are the greatest joy of my existence. Writing is me at my creative best. And they all complement each other. I write about medicine; medicine feeds my family; writing keeps me from screaming at my kids, and so on. Why choose just one? Stop asking me such tough questions!

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IMG_4281“What’s the best advice you ever received?”

Pay attention.

It’s one of the precepts of Buddhism and applies to all spheres in my life. My writing got richer when I started immersing myself in  how things smell and taste and feel. My family is happier when I shut down the computer and focus on them. And, of course, you’re not a good doctor if you’re not searching for clues in what people say or sound like and how they appear.

They did the wave.

We took selfies. And if you’re one of a group of guys and one girl I took an usie with, please send a copy!

They bought books. I was amazed. I thought students might not be able to afford them. But they did!

Head over to Dior’s blog to see what one of the organizers has to say.

Plus I know a lot more now about stem cell research, thanks to Dr. William (Bill) Stanford. Some pearls:

“Stem cells are the new snake oil.”

Clinical trials are free. So don’t pay to get “stem cells” that’s actually normal saline injected into your knee. That’s if you’re lucky. One poor autistic boy developed a brain tumour after a stem cell injection.

He said that miscarriages are often due to placental problems, so they’re researching that. (Usually, they just tell women they’re too old. Yes, I know that might contribute to placental abnormalities, but I was intrigued to hear that it may be a placental rather than fetal abnormality, and we’re figuring out how to fix it.)

And in Japan, macular degeneration now being treated with the patient’s own stem cells!

Cool beans. Thanks for inviting me.

 

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