English Posts

Continuing to build on our CIUSSS’s strong foundation

A little over three years ago, when CIUSSS West-Central Montreal had just come into existence, I expressed the hope that our staff would best serve the public by learning to work as a cohesive group with a real sense of collective identity. This could be done, I felt, by inspiring staff to build something together. Now that my initial three-year term has concluded, I can see how far we have come as true builders. I am also gratified that the Minister of Health and Social Services has re‑appointed me for a second term, because this means I can be actively …

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English Posts

A cyber-security monster may be lurking in the shadows

For those of us in health care, there’s something grimly appropriate about the fact that this year marks the 200th anniversary since Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published. Along with other enthralled readers over the past two centuries, we in the medical field are especially taken with the notion of harnessing audacious, new forms of technology to push the boundaries of the healing sciences. But now, more than ever, we are also becoming increasingly aware of the terrifying outcome if those marvelous creations are turned against us. This realization crossed my mind during a recent trip to Israel and Germany, where …

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English Posts

Why I criss-crossed the corridors of the JGH at night

When I play an active role in the affairs of CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, it often involves, among other things, conferring with Ministry officials, meeting with the senior directors of our network, or examining the budgetary needs of our various facilities. However, experience has taught me how essential it sometimes can be to bid a brief good-bye to offices and meeting rooms, and instead, to actually get out there and see the way care is delivered. That’s why, not long ago, I spent several overnight shifts—and quite a few daylight hours—strolling through various departments of the Jewish General Hospital. For nearly …

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English Posts

Think you’re special? Then be a purple cow!

If you want a great example of an author who practices what he preaches, look no further than Seth Godin. In his book, The Purple Cow, which I found intriguing and engrossing, he argues that in order for one’s product to stand out, it needs to be perceived as being something special. In other words, it needs to be portrayed as an eye-popping purple cow in a field of brown, black and white cows. So what did Godin do? He marketed the first, self-published edition of The Purple Cow—which eventually became a best seller—by packaging it in a milk carton …

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English Posts

Today’s fanciful speculation could well be tomorrow’s breakthrough

Try, if you can, to imagine a miraculous future where the heart of a recently deceased patient is implanted into the ailing body of another person. Where doctors use a robot to perform surgery that might otherwise be impossible. Where a patient’s medical data can be instantly viewed on the screen of a light-weight, portable computer. No, I’m not stuck in a time warp. I’m trying to illustrate the truth behind the cliché—overworked, but nonetheless valid—that yesterday’s science fiction often manages to enter our daily lives more quickly than we’re willing to believe. For example, a recent article in The …

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English Posts

Standing strong despite overwhelming odds

No matter how successful we may be in achieving many of our goals, there are times when we just can’t shake the feeling that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against us. Perhaps life has taken an unexpected turn (personally or professionally), or a new project is limping along, or the latest obstacles seem dismayingly high. That’s why I recently found O Jerusalem to be such a gripping read. Published in 1972, this book by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins is widely regarded as one of the best accounts of the creation of the State of Israel. At well over 600 …

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English Posts

Why I’m so happy about accomplishing “nothing”

Usually, when someone asks you to scale something from zero to 10, the higher the number, the greater the level of satisfaction. However, last week our CIUSSS achieved something so truly outstanding that we got a zero—and I’m thrilled! On May 15, we launched a week-long pilot project entitled “Zero Emergency Department (ED) patients over 24 hours”, the culmination of almost a year of planning. The mission that we embarked on was to ensure that no patient stayed in the JGH Emergency Department for more than 24 hours. Patients were either admitted to the hospital, or seen and discharged. The …

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English Posts

Grappling with the ever-increasing needs of the elderly

One day last week, while reading the morning’s top news stories, I was fascinated to discover that we’d arrived at a turning point that’s been anticipated for years. There, in black and white, were some key figures from Statistics Canada’s 2016 census: The number of seniors in our country (5.9 million) has officially exceeded the number of people 14 years old and younger (5.8 million). Statistics Canada also projected—as gerontologists and demographers have been telling us for two or three decades—that this lop-sided situation will become even more glaring as more of the baby boom generation hits retirement age. As …

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Better health care through collaboration

Last Monday, along with our partners at Polytechnique Montréal, Université de Montréal, Sainte Justine Hospital and the CHUM, we unveiled the TransMedTech Institute. This collaborative project will see us develop superior designs and methods to treat three areas that pose major health risks for Canadians: cancer, cardiovascular illnesses and musculoskeletal disorders. The Jewish General Hospital, a key facility in CIUSSS West-Central Montreal, is proud to play a crucial role in the area that focuses on cancer. This marks not only the first time that all of these organizations have come together on a project, but the first project of its …

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English Posts

The art of the huddle

Ask someone what they associate with the word “huddle”, and nine times out of ten, they’ll say “football”. However, in the last few years, that has begun to change. On my recent trip to Yale New Haven Health, when I received an invitation to the morning huddle, I wasn’t being asked to suit up for a friendly game. Rather, I was welcomed to participate in the daily patient safety report. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived the next morning at 8:00 a.m. As I sat there, senior leaders, nursing directors, middle managers and department chairs came in, …

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