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Putting the emergency brakes on a runaway train

Nearly 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016 alone. Opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 of these deaths, more than any previous year on record. In response, the US government launched an initiative to tackle the crisis. The first part of this involves reducing the demand and over-prescription, including educating Americans about…

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When being a doctor doesn’t make choosing easier

The dotMD conference led me to some personal reflection I missed the first day of dotMD. Instead, I drove two hours in the opposite direction to a funeral. Just 24 hours after a death, hundreds of us were summoned by phone, text and RIP.ie to sympathise with the family by an open coffin. I was…

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Medical conferences can be life-changing experiences

Attending and speaking at this year’s dotMD conference left me walking on air I am aware of ‘imposter syndrome’, where a person feels out of place, under-qualified, unworthy of their position in the world. I have to admit that I had never really suffered from it, blessed as I am with a bulletproof sense of…

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A forgotten revolutionary psychiatrist

The contribution of Prof Franco Basaglia in shifting care away from asylums should be recognised Psychiatry is never short of critics, controversies and debates. The most vocal critics, such as the late Thomas Szasz, author of The Myth of Mental Illness (1961), often come from within the profession itself. Prof Franco Basaglia, the reformist Italian…

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When to take the show off the road

Telling people they are no longer fit to drive is a test in itself “You can put me down for Group 2 as well.” A huge elephant entered the office and sat silently beside us. “Do you drive a lorry or something?” This with a smile to take the sting out of it. He drove…

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An apple a day won’t make doctors stay

It will take more than wellness initiatives to improve consultant morale As I prepare to speak on burnout and the recruitment crisis at the annual IHCA conference, I am reminded of a recent Saturday morning conversation with consultant colleagues on the topic of wellness initiatives for consultant staff. “I don’t need a manager leaving an…

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Why conferences can be important

After the summer break, conference season is back in full swing. The usual line-up of clinical meetings organised by the medical societies has commenced and will continue through the autumn and winter to give doctors the opportunity to learn about the new developments in their specialty. Yet, in an interconnected age such as this, it…

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Separating the scientists from the paranoid

Those who seriously evaluate the merits of vaccination should not be grouped with anti-vaxxers Olshansky and Hayflick noted in AIMS Public Health (2017; 4:127-138) that vaccines derived from the WI-38 cell strain had treated or averted 4.5 billion cases of poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, shingles, adenovirus, rabies and hepatitis A infections worldwide, saving…

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The dawning reality after the referendum

Providing new primary care services for abortion is a challenge, even if you voted ‘yes’ There is nothing new about unwanted pregnancies. The stories of Ireland’s mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries are evidence of the failed attempts to deal with this issue in the past.  More recently, in 2018 alone, over 3,000 Irish…

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Just what does it mean to be a resilient doctor?

Resilience is hard to define and examining the topic can raise more questions than answers Am I the only one who finds the recent emphasis on resilience in doctors a little phoney? Especially those articles expounding how our resilience can be improved, if only we would work on it. It’s almost like some commentators think…

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