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Remembrance of times past

Brushing my hand against the intricate embroidery of a tablecloth, purchased years ago, brought back a flood of memories But when from a long distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the…

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Too much of a good thing?

During the current crisis, online education has been invaluable, but it has also brought extra pressures Last Tuesday evening, I had a choice between joining our local CME group online for a business meeting, followed by an educational session on adolescent mental health, or a menopause webinar resourced by the informative Dr Deirdre Lundy. I…

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Maternity and Infant Care Scheme under threat

A HSE decision to withhold payments to GPs poses a serious threat to the delivery of antenatal care. The history of the Mother and Child Scheme dates back to the health reforms of 1943, and includes a series of titanic battles between bishops, doctors, and politicians before finally being implemented in 1953. The scheme has…

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A Grimm Tale for the times we live in

Here is a story about a king, a queen, a beautiful garden, and an evil virus Once upon a time, there was a king and queen who lived in a castle surrounded by a beautiful garden. When they were not sitting on their thrones, the royal couple liked to plant flowers and shrubs and harvest…

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Challenging formula companies

For too many years, formula companies formed strong alliances with healthcare professionals and institutions May marked the 40th anniversary of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. This Code was developed by the WHO/UNICEF to address unethical advertising practices by large formula companies that adversely affect breastfeeding rates globally. The Code…

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A recognition that we are not going through this alone

The experience of the pandemic for many of us is something close to grief I said that I didn’t think I could stick much more of this, and you answered, Tony Soprano-style, “what are you going to do?” I was paying €50 to hear that. I might as well have been talking to the postman.…

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Christmas past, present, and future

A seasonal consultation for the strange times we live in Esther looked sad as she settled herself at her kitchen table. “You caught me with my baking apron on, doctor,” she said. Behind her, a red enamel kettle stood atop the range. It looked like one that could whistle as it boiled. Fairy lights winked…

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The art of vaccination persuasion

Many anti-vaxxers are not set in their beliefs and are open to having their minds changed “Iam the second to last of 13 siblings, five of whom died of vaccine-preventable diseases in infancy. Born to poor immigrant parents, I remember well my mother’s account of the causes of their deaths. Three from pertussis and two…

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Taking a breath from the heart

Learning to re-set our physiology when we become aware of depleting emotions is a powerful life-enhancing skill Since March of this year, general practitioners have surfed the Covid-19 wave, hoping for a soft, secure landing before being overcome by the rough seas of winter. Six months later, some of us are still surfing; some are…

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Lessons from a full house

Here are 24 things I learned from my adult children during the lockdown On Friday, 27 March, the day that the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar placed the country under lockdown, our previously empty nest became a hive of activity. The prohibition on non-essential travel, the closure of pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and restaurants, and the…

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