Monday, May 14, 2007

Five Reasons I Blog

In the comments section of my last post Liana, from Med Valley High (an excellent blog!), tagged me and asked me to post the 5 reasons I blog. There are various reasons I started this blog, and other reasons I keep posting; I've given it some thought and come up with the 5 best reasons I can think of.

1) I enjoy writing.
A General Surgeon I know once told me: "When I'm looking at residency candidates I look for someone with, at most, one interest. General Surgeons don't have a lifestyle that's compatible with interests, so I don't want a well rounded person. A well rounded person will be an unhappy general surgeon."
Medical schools insist on taking well rounded candidates. One instrument, two sports, and a summer trip to Europe describe a surprising number of candidates. As you traverse the high wire of medical training you have less and less time for pursuit of any interest other than medicine. The job of medicine taxes the passions of life. Prior to medical school I enjoyed writing, and in particular philosophical writing. In medicine the only writing that is encouraged is scientific reporting, a mode entirely devoid of wit and prose. I blog because I want to take back my right to write...

2) I am easily excited by new things.
I admit that I am the kind of person who could spend an hour looking at moss on a tree because it is interesting. When my wife and I go for a walk in the park it's like she has a two year old, I stop and look at everything. I started this blog at a transition point in my life and career, moving from inner city medicine to remote medicine. Transition points are always where the action is, and I began this blog partly in response to my excitement about this particular new thing.

3) I believe it is important to question the philosophical basis of modern medical practice.
Medicine, and in fact all of science, rests on certain underlying philosophical assumptions. At present one of the main philosophical trends in medicine (and in wider science) is the idea that only that which is objectively (or measurably) true is actually true. Personally I believe that this is a flawed concept, and undermines some fundamental elements of modern western medicine.
The questioning of the philosophical underpinnings of thought is an important exercise, and can lead to debate that surely advances understanding. John Cairns, famed British biochemist, asserted in 1988 that objective data he observed in E. coli favoured Lamarkian rather than Darwinian evolution. He published his findings under the heading of selective mutagenesis. Although he was initially scorned by the scientific community for failing to accept the modus operandi of the day, his questioning eventually lead to breakthroughs in understanding the complexity of modern genetics.
Medicine is full of yes men and as doctors we are susceptible to the lure of the next, best, thing. In my blog I seek, in part, to question those yes's.

4) I blog to remember
It's easy to let the days slip away without really thinking about the events at hand. I hope that by blogging I'll create a record of interesting thoughts and events that I can go back and read in the future, and think about these interesting times.

5) I want to share my interest in some unusual types of medical practice with a wider audience
Both inner city medicine and remote medicine are challenging, fun, and rewarding. However, they're rarely mentioned in medical training. I love the work I do, and hope that someday someone reading this blog stops and says 'Hey, I'd like to try that'. Medicine is a cool job, that requires skill, thought and introspection. Too often medical trainees are exposed to unhappy, burned out doctors who poison them against various parts of medicine. I hope my blog reminds people that medicine is also challenging and fun.

Those are probably the 5 big reasons I blog. There are of course other factors; I take a lot of pictures and I need to subject you all to my endless slide show. Thanks to Liana for the subject of this post, it's forced some introspection, and also inspired me for some future posts on topics I'd gotten away from.


Xavier Emmanuelle said...

I've tagged you for another meme :)

MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

One of my favorite things about your blog are the pics. I find it fascinating how people are living so far from where I'm currently located.

You also have quite interesting views on medicine as well. I thank Couz and Liana for leading me towards you.

Lala said...

Hi, I'm starting med in september, and Ive been reading a lot of medical blogs. Its really nice to find someone who isn't burned out, or complaining about how bad medicine is and how disillusioned they are. So thank you!

Zippy said...

Wow! You have some amazing insights! You are an incredibly smart, kind, compassionate, funny, fun, cute, brilliant person. (And I'm not just saying that because you're my son.)

Love ya,