Prior to enrolling in medical school, I had thought of medicine as a noble calling. An honourable profession characterized by scientific certainty, propriety, decency, concern for others, long hours, self-sacrifice, and hard work. The doctors I read about were exemplary human beings. This view was certainly bolstered by being a childhood patient of Dr. Lee Stickles, Fredericton’s iconic and beloved pediatrician. Inspired by his easy-going patience and professionalism, I had medicine on my mind when I started at UNB in the fall of 1975.
It wasn’t that easy. Though capable of making good grades, I had difficulty settling down to work in the new environment. So many interesting people and things to do. I gravitated to the campus radio station, immersing myself in the music and technology of the broadcasting business. I spent too much time doing things that, though fun at the time, were not leading me down the path to medical school acceptance.
It was only years later, having gained some important work experience and perspective on life that I returned to UNB with a new outlook and a plan. I made the marks required to be accepted to medical school, and I never looked back.
We as physicians, tend to support one another. The Hippocratic Oath exhorts us to respect out teachers. We support our colleagues. It comes, I believe, from the common bond we share. The bond of dedication to our patients, the desire to promote health and fight disease, and to try to leave the world, when all is said and done, in better shape than we found it. One of my biology professors told me before I left for Halifax that medical school, in terms of rigidity of discipline, was second only to Marine Corps training. He was right. It was four years of unending study, long hours, intense exposure to human suffering, poor sleep, hasty meals, and exam after exam after exam. It’s the kind of environment where you develop friendships that last a lifetime, with people you know you can trust with your life.
I trust my physician colleagues in the New Brunswick Medical Society.
I know that the President of the NBMS respects the wishes of the membership and will do all that she can to implement the resolutions of September’s Annual General Meeting, including the one that I put forth. My resolution directed that the NBMS not impede non-Velante EMR users in their quest to improve the capabilities of the systems they have implemented at their own expense and used for years.
What ought to be done, what MUST be done, is for the President of the NBMS to make a sincere, written request to the Minister of Health to amend the Data Sharing Agreement of June 2013 to allow for multiple EMR vendors. It must be the President who does this. This task cannot be delegated. It cannot be mumbled or muttered in a half-hearted way, and the request cannot be dropped at the first sign of resistance. To fall short of this – to ignore the wishes of the membership – brings discredit and disrepute to the Society, and shame to the medical profession.