Shelagh McRae

Shelagh McRae is a family physician in a teaching practice in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island. An assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, she also acts as local coroner and occasionally presides over inquests.


Articles and Opinion Pieces by this author

OxyNEO: pain relief or advertising addiction?

The patent on OxyContin has run out, the expected profit gone. Is it a coincidence that Purdue has stopped making it and replaced it with the new and improved OxyNEO? If Purdue can get Canadian doctors to prescribe it, their profits will continue. In a recent edition of the Medical Post, an industry-funded newspaper which goes…

Costs and consequences of unnecessary tests

I applaud Helen Walsh for her recent post about walking away from yet more invasive testing. Her post made me reflect on recent cases of medical expense from my own practice.  Patient details have been altered to protect their identities.  One patient has an annoying condition that gives him pain with some activities, related to…

Ontario’s new diabetes registry – the end of patient privacy?

More and more doctors across Canada are using electronic medical records to keep track of their patients' health information.  Finding a patient's information record in most electronic medical databases involves entering the first few letters of each name, hitting <Enter> and choosing the appropriate person from the resulting drop-down list.  Recently while looking up one…

The trouble with guidelines

A friend of mine took her 98 year old, 98 lb mother to the doctor recently. Additional diabetic medication was prescribed because her A1c (also known as glycated hemoglobin -a proxy measure of average blood sugar levels over the previous months) was "not at target". When my friend questioned the safety of yet more pills…

A historical perspective on health and health care

Living on an island where most of the locals are descendants of people who have lived here for generations has given me an interest in local history and genealogy.  Many of my older patients' parents and grandparents lived to a fine old age without the modern conveniences and medical care we take for granted today…

Screening mammography

As a rural family doctor I have to factor in travel costs when referring my patients for specialized services. Costs of travel include not only transportation expenses but time from work and home. Increasingly patients are being forced to travel again and again after having tests. A good example is breast screening which causes many…