Sticks and Stones

March 19, 2016 by | 1 comment

sticksstonesOn Tuesday March 15, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), in an attempt to engage in discussion around topics related to medical professionalism, provided Dr. Louis Francescutti a prominent platform in which to share his ideas around physician accountability. They were, rather unfortunately, highly inflammatory. The result was not a respectful and productive debate around physician accountability within our healthcare system, but rather an impromptu discussion of accountability around messaging itself. When someone is given a prominent soapbox on which to stand, and under the banner of professionalism they use it to divide and offend, what is to be done? Who is accountable? If we cannot rely on a national medical organization or one of its past presidents to deliver messaging that promotes positive engagement, and demonstrates respect for the positions and influence that they wield, then what are our options?


We have, somewhat ironically, to only turn to the now infamous (and recently removed) post that appropriately suggested that we must hold ourselves and our colleagues accountable. Ultimately, I thank Dr. Francescutti for his message of accountability, and for the unifying effect it has had on the hundreds of physicians across the country that came together to vocally denounce it. You see, the problem is that words do hurt. They hurt credibility, they damage trust, and they create divisions. They also have the power to motivate, to engage, and to bring people together. So let’s hold ourselves accountable to the power of our words.


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Photo credit: “Sticks and Stones” by Barney Levitt (used with permission)

About the Author

Taylor Lougheed is a physician in Family and Emergency Medicine, and passionate about sustainable public healthcare, quality improvement and patient safety, medical education, and global health.

1 Comment

  1. Sharon

    Thank you for your positive message, Taylor.

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