03 January 2017

The Medical Post: Illness and Imagination

So while I was wrestling with my book monster, I missed the “Loaded Magazines” week on Sleuthsayers. The only outlet I write for regularly is the Medical Post. I love them. http://www.canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca/physicians/magazines/the-medical-post/
You might find some story ideas here. Say, Medicine’s psychedelic renaissance. Or...

After Pearl Harbour, the Canadian government rounded up any Canadian citizen with Japanese ancestry and either imprisoned them in relocation camps or deported them to Japan. (Meanwhile, Canadians of German or Italian ancestry, the Axis forces, did not have their property seized.) The government confined Dr. Masajiro Miyazaki to Lillooet B.C. When the local physician died in 1944, and they suddenly needed a doctor. Dr. Masajiro Miyazaki became their doctor. And their coroner. And their police doctor. And their alderman.

Julie's a single mother of five children. She runs a solo practice in northern Ontario, including labour and delivery, which means she’s up all day and night.  “I was at the hospital for much of the night with a labouring patient….I still have meconium on the cuff of my sleeve.” Read more here.

She was interviewed about having her electricity cut off at home. Two of her five children are deaf and need to recharge their cochlear implants every day. 
And she still wrote two of the top most-clicked articles of 2016.
Let’s all give Julie a standing ovation!
P.S. She appears in my YMCA doctor video https://youtu.be/cKUQvrmYdAc, near the end. I wrote about that here.

Shawn Whatley also had one of the most popular articles of the year. “It’s not burnout, it’s abuse.”
Well said, Shawn. We’re tired of getting trampled. It also helps me because, as I mentioned here, I got sick last year. I called it burnout. But if the system is paying us less, demanding more, and slandering us, yep, it’s abuse. Shawn has proposed solutions as well, and has spearheaded a conference for doctors on careers outside of medicine. I’ll be talking about writing. http://nonclinicalmds.com/ 

Finally, I'm honoured to have one of my own articles chosen for the best of the year.
The sin eater by Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes (April 5 issue)
"Dr. Yuan-Innes reflects on a old Welsh myth of the sin eaters that Margaret Atwood writes about in one of her short stories. “We study to the point of exhaustion and work inhumane hours for the privilege of seeing the worst of human nature,” Dr. Yuan-Innes writes. While she had gotten into medical school believing doctors were heroes, the revelation in Atwood’s story gave her pause: doctors are sin eaters in their own way, often shunned and depraved as a result of their work."

Thank you, Medical Post. Long may you reign.


  1. What great examples! - and I love the idea of doctor as sin eater. (Although, I think that probably morticians would beat out doctors for being shunned as a result of their work...)

  2. It sounds like a fascinating publication, Melissa. Congratulations on having your article named best of the year!

  3. Congratulations Melissa! I'll check out the Medical Post the first chance I get. It sounds fascinating.

    I didn't know the Canadians ever locked up people of Japanese origin in internment camps. I always thought that was a peculiarly American thing to do. Greatest country in the world, my butt.

  4. Wow, Melissa, I liked both the periodical and I loved your video. What a fun way to take on a serious issue (so sayeth a satisfied recipient of Canadian medical care).

  5. @Eve, thanks! That's probably true about morticians, plus it reminds me of a NSFW article on cracked.com that even grossed me out a little, which is tough to do: http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1368-5-horrifying-truths-about-funeral-homes-from-undertaker.html

  6. @B.K., thanks from me and the Medical Post.

  7. @Elizabeth, that's terrific. Yes, I know, it's terrible what injustices humans wreak, and we don't even know about them.

  8. @Leigh, yay! Glad you enjoyed the video and Canadian health care. We're trying to protect it as much as we can.

  9. Melissa, two things: (1) have you read Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death"? 1963, but still fairly accurate - and gruesome.
    (2) My mother's family lived in a small town in Kentucky, and the town undertaker was like the fifth generation of that family to do the job. At my grandmother's funeral, he sat in the back room with me, drinking bourbon and smoking cigarettes, and telling me all about "restoration work". He said he could fix most anything - but pleaded with me to never have an autopsy, because then he couldn't guarantee his work. Always nice to know the man who plans to embalm you...


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