As Alberta faces emergency-room backloads, I have to wonder if we aren’t missing the point.
I have worked in emergency rooms and throughout Alberta’s hospitals for the last two years as a resident physician.
Indeed, resident physicians are so called because we often “reside” in the hospital for long periods of time caring for patients and pursuing further intensive training in a particular medical field.
My reflection from this service is that it is not enough to just focus on patients only after they have been admitted to hospitals; to do so is to focus on treating the symptoms rather than curing, or even altogether avoiding the disease.
The experience of treating patients has encouraged my awareness of just how many illnesses and injuries are preventable.
Whether it be drug-related illness, malnutrition illness in children, injuries resulting from someone texting while driving, or injuries related to preventable falls, these kinds of health issues contribute significantly to emergency room loads.
The good news is that these conditions are all preventable and we can all do our part to improve the health of ourselves and our communities. For health care, a little pre-emptive action can go a long way.
The Professional Association of Resident Physicians of Alberta (PARA) is shifting our focus to health before hospitals.
As a group, we are keen to do our part, not just within our hospital but also within our communities.
We’ve contributed to preventive care initiatives like the Coalition for Cellphone-free Driving and the Finding Balance Campaign, a campaign spearheaded by the Alberta Medical Association and the government of Alberta that educates our senior citizens on how to avoid falls.
We have also organized a charity event - our second annual - that calls on resident physicians to give their medical-school backpacks back.
Over the past three months resident physicians across Alberta have collected over 50 backpacks stuffed with basic-needs items for local homeless shelters.
PARA backpacks will be donated to shelters on February 22, National Resident Physician Awareness Day.
On this day, PARA would like to thank all of Alberta’s health-care providers for the dedicated care that they give.
Dr. Rhett Taylor
PARA President and Alberta Resident Physician