The Northwest Convention closing keynote is the host of CBC?s renowned medical program White Coat, Black Art as well as the recently published The Night Shift. This short excerpt from the Globe and Mail newspaper on Goldman?s outspoken personality: He admits to briefly dating a patient
before he was married. He once sent a patient home from the ER, only to have her return later, near death, from a heart attack. It wasn?t the first-or last-time he acknowledges feeling he professionally blew it. Brian Goldman wants to take the hypocritical stick out of medicine?s ass. To do a "stickectomy," he writes in his first book, a memoir, The Night Shift: Real Life in the Heart of the ER. It?s a delicate operation, the risks of which Dr. Goldman seems to understand. In peeling back the skin of the medical profession and exposing its human frailties, he makes himself vulnerable.
"Of the things that make me [and other doctors] feel shameful is being caught in a moment of weakness," he says. Not that he?s a stranger to dichotomy. During the day he works on CBC Radio One?s popular series, White Coat, Black Art, which, like his book, lifts the veil of secrecy doctors commonly drape around their profession. Goldman, who has always suffered from insomnia, also works the night shift as an ER doctor at
Toronto?s Mount Sinai Hospital. At the moment, he is working seven night shifts a month, each 8-12 hours in length. "I like to talk about myself," the 54-year-old married father of two begins as explanation for why he feels compelled to balance two demanding careers. "I like to share my feelings and for many years that I practiced medicine it was impossible to do that... We?re supposed to be perfect and perfect means never making a mistake, never being cranky, never having personal issues bleed into the work day, but it?s hypocritical and it?s wrong. We?re human." But doesn?t such candor compromise the authority of doctors? And doesn?t that potentially harm the trust patients want to have in them? "Professionally, we do more harm than good to ourselves and our patients by remaining behind the cloak of secrecy. When my colleagues and I don?t talk about mistakes, we don?t just fail to talk about them with the public, that means we?re not talking about them with one another, debriefing, not learning from each other?s mistakes."