All Posts By

The Soulful Doctor

6

Resilience – Friend or Foe?

This blog was first published on Action for NHS Wellbeing site on 6th September 2015. Resilience is currently very topical so I felt to share it here as well.  ………………………………………………………………………………………………… Resilience is the latest buzz word and emotional resilience training is the new ‘must have’ for those who are trained to kill, fight and go to war as well as those who are trained to save lives, heal and care for sick.  Indeed, based on the fact that the Army…

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4

#ILookLikeASurgeon – Surgery is what I do, not who I am.

Over the last few days the hashtag #ILookLikeASurgeon has been trending on twitter and has sparked interest across the globe. It originated when a female engineer @IsisAnchalee was told she didn’t look like an engineer and started the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. This was followed by a female surgical resident Dr Heather Logghe suggesting that #ILookLikeASurgeon might be next and sure enough the twitter world responded. Female surgeons from America, UK, Australia, Europe and elsewhere posted their photo claiming that they ‘look…

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0

Charities exposed for Cold-calling: what is True Charity?

How charitable is cold-calling? You may say, “what a ridiculous question, it’s obvious there is no charity in cold-calling”, yet we have seen this week how a number of large charities in the UK think it is appropriate to ‘cold-call’ people to raise money for their charities, including Oxfam, Save the Children, the British Red Cross, Macmillan and Cancer Research amongst others. They employ companies to do the dirty work – and dirty work it is indeed. Fundraisers were apparently…

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4

Paul Givan’s ‘Conscience Clause’ – taking N. Ireland back to the Dark Ages

In the past year a furore erupted in N.Ireland over a cake – Ascher’s bakery refused to bake a cake for a gay man in support of gay marriage on the basis it went against their conscience or perhaps more accurately their beliefs. Following on from this, N. Ireland politician Paul Givan has tabled a ‘conscience clause’, which if it was successful would give people the right to refuse admission to gay people in hotels, restaurants or to refuse to…

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12

Ireland says a BIG YES to Equality and Gay Marriage.

Yesterday Ireland became the first country in the world to legislate for same sex marriage based on the popular vote of the people. And the people of Ireland have spoken loud and clear and given a resounding YES to inclusivity, to acceptance, to equality and to love. The people of Ireland have listened to and been guided by the wisdom and love in their own hearts, rightly bypassing the doctrinal religious teachings that in the past would have been the…

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4

The Cake, the Christ and Christians – what’s really going on? A call for equality, freedom of conscience or homophobic religious discrimination?

N. Ireland is currently in the midst of a legal case that is set to be a landmark case between equality rights and religious beliefs. The case centres on a cake, one that Asher’s bakery refused to bake because the purchaser asked for the slogan “support gay marriage” to be on the top of the cake. The bakery initially accepted the order and took the payment, even though the person who took the order knew they would not agree to…

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10

Women in Surgery: Should we kneel down and open our mouths, lie back and close our eyes, or stand up and speak the Truth?

Dr Gabrielle McMullin, a senior vascular surgeon in Australia, has recently caused a stir by stating that women in surgery should stay quiet about sexual abuse, harassment or advances from male superiors if they wish to continue in a surgical career. She was commenting on a case of a female surgical trainee, Caroline Tan, who won her case for sexual harassment but could then not find employment in any public hospital in Australia. Dr McMullin said, “Her career was ruined…

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11

Bad luck causes cancer……and the world is flat!

After a few hours I had just completed an in depth blog post on this topic, replete with references and analysis when the whole thing disappeared from view to be replaced by a clean page!! Alas, I had not saved it along the way…lesson learned! And so I will submit here just a brief entry and perhaps return another day to flesh it out a bit more in another post! There have been many reports in the news this week…

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0

Selling off the NHS

Last night I watched this documentary by Peter Bach about the Sell-off of the NHS. It exposes the extensive corruption in political and government circles that is leading to the dismantling of the NHS step by step. The NHS provides cheaper, more cost-effective healthcare than the US with better results but the government persist with going down the route of the US model. You might ask why? Well it has nothing to do with patient care that’s for sure. But…

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7

Emotions and Feelings – is there a difference?

Many people think that emotions and feelings are just different words for the same thing – that we can use those words interchangeably. But what if emotions and feelings are not the same? What if there is a significant difference between them that has implications for our health and wellbeing? Would it not be helpful to know what the difference was? You bet it would! In order to explain the difference, let me explain a little more about the human…

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3

Does Love Heal?

    It has been written since ancient times ‘that only love heals’. But what does that mean and how does love heal? Some might feel they are just words or platitudes with no real substance or meaning. Certainly when it comes to medical school training there is no mention of love – so is it just some out-dated notion of yester-year or does it still carry relevance in today’s modern scientific medicine? In modern medicine the word healing usually…

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13

Being Gentle with your Body

Many people associate looking after their body with pushing themselves hard in the gym – lifting heavy weights, doing lots of repetitions, running fast or using a cross trainer at full pelt. This is reinforced by the feel good factor that comes with a session in the gym and the adrenaline /endorphin rush. Of course it’s not just in the gym but there are many forms of exercise where we push the body as hard as possible. Not only that…

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5

The Art of Healing through Living

The word ‘medicine’, comes from the Latin ‘ars medicina’ and means the ‘art of the healing’. So what if medicine wasn’t just about pills, potions and surgeries but also included ‘the art of healing’ through living? So how do we heal through living? The Key Principles to Understand are that: every human being has an essence of love/stillness we live as if this essence does not exist or as if we are in separation to it and thus we have…

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6

Stoning of a Pregnant Woman

This article in the Guardian reports on the stoning of a pregnant 25 year old woman in Pakistan because she married a man she loved. She was stoned to death by her father, brothers and other relatives. The stoning murder took place outside a court! Her father described it as an ‘honour killing’ because she married without their consent. He also said he had no regrets.  How twisted and distorted is it to consider such murder as an ‘honour killing’?…

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3

Self-care for Medical Students: Reflection by Hassan Farooq

In only two weeks, having gained much in the way of insight into self-care I have begun a process of adapting and trialing changes to my way of living. Some have already borne fruit whilst others will take more time and discipline. This reflection will outline the ways in which I have adapted my lifestyle to become more caring to myself and hopefully as a result, to others.    Diet The first week focused on diet, sleep, exercise work and…

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2

Self-care for Medical Students: Reflection by Nicola McFarlane

  The module was the top of my list when I made my SSC choices because I always like to try a module that offers a different aspect of the medical course.  I like to have a wide variety of knowledge and am always open to new ideas and I thought this module would offer me an insight into things I had not experienced before.  In terms of my own self care I was interested to see how well I…

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0

Self-care for Medical Students: Reflection by Amy Irvine

Amy Irvine – My Journey in Self-care Throughout this SSC, I have been mentally stimulated and challenged in ways that I have not been accustomed to with other modules in medical school. This has served as a pleasant change from the scientific nature of clinical based modules and I can honestly say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the module and the thought-provoking concepts that have been discussed. I initially ranked this SSC moderately high out of a combination of curiosity,…

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2

Self-care for Medical Students: Reflection by Niamh Kelly

Introduction I choose the self-care module this term as the title stood out among all the ‘usual’ module choices.  While reading the abstract for the module the keywords ‘body awareness’, ‘holistic health’ and emotions/feelings’ struck a chord with me as I have always strived to understand more about myself and feel that self-care is something I could always improve on. During the introduction day I defined self-care as ‘feeling good about oneself’, ‘relieving stress, worries and anxiety’ and ‘having a…

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7

Self-care for Medical Students: Reflection by Patrick Farrell

  Before starting the self-care SSC I had delved a little into the world of Buddhism, under the thinking that learning to meditate would bring me peace and direction as I was finding myself regularly frustrated and at a loss to what I was making of my life. I had only read in fits and starts and hadn’t given any real commitment to the idea. I therefore saw the self-care SSC as a chance to spring-board myself further into the…

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7

Self-care for Medical Students

During the first three weeks of January I ran an SSC (student selected component) called “Self-care for Medical Students” for third year students. We are seeing unprecedented rates of burnout in the medical profession and the rates of addiction and suicide are higher than for the general population. Clearly something is amiss when those who are supposed to know about healthcare and wellbeing are in some ways worse off than those they are caring for. The culture of medicine is…

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2

The Fragmentation of Medicine

I have witnessed many changes within medicine over the last 20 years – one of which has been the increasing fragmentation of medicine despite  the introduction of the importance of holistic medicine. This fragmentation is across the board and exists on many levels. Fragmentation by Specialising  As our knowledge of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and the many varieties of illness and disease has expanded, it was recognised that it was not feasible for all doctors to be expert…

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2

The Fat Myth Continues…

This article in the BBC News comments on the pledge by food manufacturers to cut saturated fat levels. A public health expert has rightly called it a ‘drop in the ocean’ in the fight against obesity.  Prof Ashton, President of the faculty of Public Health says the approach lacks credibility and that food manufacturers need to also address the levels of sugar and salt used in foods where they lower the fat content.  Whilst there are healthy and unhealthy types…

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9

Blaming Children for Abuse

This week has seen two reports of children being blamed for the abuse they received. First, in this case, a barrister accused a 13 year old girl of being “predatory” and “sexually experienced.” The man that she was apparently predatory with was 41 years of age.  In the second case we have Eddy Shah claiming that underage girls can be “to blame” for the abuse they experience. He makes a distinction between young girls who go out to have a…

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5

What is Esoteric Healing?

I recently wrote this blog for the Natural Therapies  NI website and felt to share it here too.  The word esoteric just means ‘from within’ or ‘innermost’. Thus esoteric healing is about healing from within, from one’s innermost. It is about coming to know, understand, experience and feel for ourselves what this innermost is and how we can then make daily choices from that place, which are healthy for us. The innermost essence of everyone is pure Love; it is…

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2

Understanding Healing

The word medicine is derived from the Latin ‘ars medicina’ and means the ‘art of healing’. However, science has long since replaced art and the primary focus has shifted from healing the sick to curing the disease. Disease is a term for any condition that impairs the normal functioning of an organism and has specific symptoms and signs. Illness refers to the perceptions and experiences that a person has of his condition and will be his narrative of the condition. This blog…

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2

What’s bad for the heart is bad for the head….

This article in the BBC news health website reports on research published in Stroke by Joosten et al, looking at whether cardiovascular risk factors are associated with cognitive decline in young and middle aged people. They found that those with a worse cardiovascular risk profile were already showing signs of cognitive impairment in young people aged 35 – 44. The main risk factors were diabetes and smoking. They concluded that what is ‘bad for the heart, is also bad for…

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5

Alcohol and Pregnancy – Who needs research?

This article in the Guardian was sent to me by a friend who thought I would be interested in what it had to say. In short it is promoting the use of light alcohol consumption during pregnancy based on the results of a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology by Kelly et al.  It states that those who drink low levels of alcohol during pregnancy are no more likely to have childen with behavioural or cognitive…

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5

The Invisible War

I recently watched the film documentary, The Invisible War, which is about the extent of sexual assault in the US Military and the subsequent cover-ups, punishment of victims instead of perpetrators, the low rate of punishment for perpetrators and the overall difficulty in obtaining any form of justice. It has won awards and been claimed to be the best documentary of 2012.    The extent of sexual assault in the US military is itself shocking and affects both men and…

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4

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Adult Disease.

This paper by Vincent Felitti describes the effect of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) on adult disease. The ACE study is a long-term in-depth analysis of over 17,000 adult Americans looking at their current health status and the relationship to adverse childhood experiences.  There is a long list of publications which have detailed various associations between ACE and adult conditions like alcoholism, depression, headaches, liver disease, autoimmune disease, obesity, lung cancer and COPD. Felitti states that ‘much of what is recognised…

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6

Jimmy Carter: losing his religion or finding true religion?

The former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, has written an opinion piece entitled “Losing my religion for equality”. In it he clearly describes how “women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.” He goes on to say that this “discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries”. Not only that it…

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