From the Editor
A year ago this week, provinces across the country ordered the first lockdown. In the days that followed, I remember driving to the hospital and noting the eerie quiet of the streets with almost no cars or trucks on the morning commute.
Now, a year later, we can ask some questions. How has the pandemic affected our patients? How did it change our practice? How has it changed us?
This week, we have four selections that explore our pandemic reality.
We begin by focusing on patients. In the first selection, we look at a paper from Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Jonathan S. Zipursky (of the University of Toronto) and his co-authors consider alcohol sales and ED visits. They find that there was an increase in alcohol sales of 38% at the start of the pandemic. They write: “Higher alcohol sales during the lockdown are worrisome because alcohol consumption can cause poor judgment, medical complications, and immune suppression.”
In the second selection, we consider an editorial from BMJ. Though some have predicated a significant increase in suicide completions, there is little evidence. Still, the authors write: “We must remain vigilant and responsive, sharing evidence early and internationally… in these evolving uncertain times.”
Then we pivot and look at providers. In the third selection, Dr. Daniel Guinart (of Hofstra/Northwell) and his co-authors report on the findings of a survey on telepsychiatry. “In this study, we report highly favorable attitudes toward telepsychiatry in its diverse forms, across a large and wide array of mental health care professionals.”
In the fourth selection, Andrea Frolic (of McMaster University) talks about the pain of the past year. After breaking a toe, she notes about the psychological injuries of our pandemic life. “As a health care leader, I am supposed to be a cheerleader, a silver-lining finder, an opportunity-seeker – a hero, not a human.”
Some good news: the Reading of the Week was just awarded the Ivan Silver Innovation Award by Continuing Professional Development of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. Many thanks to Drs. Rajeevan Rasasingham and Sanjeev Sockalingam for the nomination.
But I’m committed to developing this program further, not resting on our laurels – in late April, we will be conducting focus groups to better understand what works and what needs improvement. Interested in being involved? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Time commitment: under one hour.