Kieran Quinn

Kieran Quinn is a resident in General Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, and a new Dad.


Articles and Opinion Pieces by this author

Doctors don’t have enough guidance on physician-assisted death

My mother is terrified of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Having watched my grandmother’s dementia progress to the point where she no longer recognized her own daughter, I can understand her fear. She told me recently, “If I ever get dementia, I don’t want to go to a nursing home. I’d rather be dead.” In February of…

Canada needs to develop standards for Goals of Care conversations

I don’t remember much about my Grandma, but I do remember how she died. It was one of those perfectly tranquil winter nights in January of 2009. My family was at our home finishing dinner when Leisureworld, her long-term care (LTC) facility, called to inform us that she had a fever and low oxygen levels.…

The role of call scheduling in resident burnout

Today my son Hunter is 821 days old (2 years, 3 months, 0 days). As a resident, I have spent 129 of those days in the hospital while on call; after-hours care that are over and above my ‘regular’ working day (0 years, 4 months, 3 days). In other words, I have missed 15% of…

Best part of being a doctor? The stories

The best thing about being a doctor and practicing Medicine are the stories – the patient’s stories. Each day, I get to hear someone’s life story, to share in their life’s successes, their failures, and the meaning they derive from their experiences. I have heard of the adventures and the atrocities of The Great Wars,…

Could incentives be the answer to resident burnout?

Within our hospital walls there rages a nightly war in the Emergency Department. The front-line soldiers (a.k.a. ‘residents’ – medical doctors still in the throes of training) work endlessly through the night to admit patients to hospital and provide care to those in need. On occasion, the combination of consistently overburdened teams and overworked residents…

Gaps in health care for the chronically ill

This is a story about Mr. D, a lovely 85-year-old gentleman who I cared for on our General Internal Medicine service. He suffered significant cognitive impairment due to both dementia and the deposition of protein in his brain caused by chronic inflammation (known as cerebral amyloidosis). He also had advance prostate cancer. As a consequence…

Learning to choose wisely

While on call on the internal medicine service at my hospital, I recently admitted a 47-year old woman overnight, who had increased swelling in her ankles and a fluid collection in her abdomen. After taking a thorough clinical history and performing a complete physical examination, I presumed the cause to be alcoholic liver cirrhosis. I…

Is your à la carte DNR order really valid?

Every patient, young and old, who enters the hospital where I work needs to have a discussion with their physician about how far the medical team should go in attempting to revive them in the event that they stop breathing or their heart stops pumping. The results of this discussion are known as their ‘code…

Medicine is an artful science

I recently saw a patient with cancer who came to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath, who was coughing up small amounts of blood, had a racing heart and sharp chest pain that was worse when he took a deep breath. In deciding the likelihood that this patient had suffered a clot in…

Should we embrace a return of the rotating internship?

The rotating internship was abolished in the early 1990s, mainly at the prompting of the College of Family Physicians of Canada to address shortages in Family Medicine. Prior to this, newly graduated medical students completed a one-year internship to obtain a general license to practice medicine and were then free to pursue further specialty training…

Can professionalism be taught?

As medical students, we fall under the scope of ‘future physicians’ and the public expects us to behave as such. A patient needs to be able to trust their physician to exercise good judgment and to act in the best interest of their health. This trust is rooted in the confidence that physicians will put…