When journalist Paul Adam’s wife, Suzanne, was dealing with advanced cancer, they found themselves caught in a well-intentioned system that fell short of providing not only person-centred care, but also basic answers to fundamental questions about how Suzanne’s life might end. Of the countless healthcare professionals they met, one found the right balance of both candour and compassion. In the middle of their ordeal, that single, 30-minute encounter brought them comfort that lasted long after that day.
This talk will reunite Paul with that physician, neurosurgeon Dr. John Sinclair, illuminating the long and lasting impact of moments of compassion in clinical care, debunking the notion that compassion fatigue is an inevitable consequence of a life in medicine, and helping to chart a path forward for patients and healthcare providers looking for more humanity in medicine.
JILLIAN HORTON, M.D., is an award-winning medical educator, writer, musician and podcaster. A former Associate Dean at the University of Manitoba, she has cared for thousands of patients in an inner-city hospital, and now works to provide care to people living with addiction. She is the winner of the prestigious 2020 AFMC–Gold Foundation Humanism award, recognizing her as a national thought leader in medical education and the delivery of compassionate and humane care. As a teacher of mindfulness, she is sought after by doctors at all stages of their careers, and she leads the development of national programming in physician health for Joule, a subsidiary of the Canadian Medical Association. Her writing about medicine has appeared frequently in the LA Times, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star, and her first book, We Are All Perfectly Fine, will be released by HarperCollins Canada in Feb 2021.
PAUL ADAMS was the primary family caregiver to his wife, Suzanne Szukits (pronounced sue-kits), a Canadian diplomat, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 at the age of 52. She died of the complications of metastatic breast cancer in September 2016. Since Suzanne’s death, Adams has written about palliative care in publications such as The Walrus, The Ottawa Citizen, Policy Options and Healthy Debate. He has served as a family representative on palliative and end-of-life advisory bodies with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Ottawa Hospital. He is a former professor of journalism at Carleton University and a veteran of CBC Television, CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail, where he worked as mostly as a political reporter. He is the author of several books. His first was Summer of the Heart: Saving Alexandre, the story of his son’s struggle with heart disease, which was short-listed for the Writers’ Trust biography prize. He also served for several years on the Journalism Oversight Committee of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
DR. JOHN SINCLAIR is the Director of Cerebrovascular Surgery and the Director of Neurosurgical Oncology at The Ottawa Hospital. He is Co-Director of the CNS Stereotactic Radiosurgery Fellowship and Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Fellowship Program. Currently his primary focus is the development a brain tumour centre at The Ottawa Hospital which will provide a multidisciplinary approach to treatment of brain tumours that will significantly improve patient care as well as foster education and research.