Friday, August 16, 2013

Best stories told by Canadian family physicians: the AMS-Mimi Divinsky awards

For the past three years the January issue of Canadian Family Physician magazine has contained three prize-winning short stories and a commentary. This year’s commentary by Carol P. Herbert titled The Power of Stories also contains one about her once having written a prescription for a piano and lessons.

Premature by J. P. Caldwell describes his struggle to insert a breathing tube in a very tiny infant that just had been delivered:

“And then, bagging this baby in the early morning, I realize that there is not a lot of difference between terror and joy—the same intensity, the same power to lift you up or to destroy you. Sometimes they are simply different sides of luck.”

43 Minutes by Jody Ching is about being present for the end of a life. And Wisteria, by Patrice Laplante is about how he began making a garden to remember his former patients.

Stories for Life (introduction to narrative medicine) by Mimi Divinsky appeared in the February 2007 issue a week after she died. You can read her obituary, and about the awards.

You also can read hundreds of wonderful Stories in Family Medicine collected in an archive. I found Carol P. Herbert’s article by doing a Google search on the topic of the “fear of failure.”

Rita Charon wrote a whole book published in 2008 on Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness. You can read her brief October 2007 article on What to do with stories: the sciences of narrative medicine.

The image actually is of the president of the Wiki Project Med Foundation, British Columbia ER physician James Heilman.

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