Unsung Canadian Heroes: Doctors
We’re delving right back into our series on Unsung Heroes with an obvious choice – doctors. These are people who study for years to obtain a degree that will allow them to spend their days helping other people. Some of them even specialize in disease, striving to treat and hopefully eradicate the things that kill us. And some doctors do this under less than ideal conditions.
So, without further ado, I give you 5 films about doctors.
Doctors with Heart
AIDS, while still scary, is not necessarily the death sentence it was 25 years ago. Now, with treatment, life expectancy can reach near-normal levels. But back then, the disease was new and enveloped in rumour and prejudice. It’s during this time in history that Tahani Rached takes us inside the doors of one of Montreal’s AIDS clinics, and introduces us to the amazing doctors fighting to care for their patients.
Doctors Without Residency
My optometrist was an ophthalmologist in his native country but was unable to practice as one when he immigrated to Canada. Rather than cut through the red tape and re-train, he now works at a lower position and for less pay than he should. But his dedication to his field is such that he would never just walk away and do something else. I’m sure everyone has a similar story about someone they know, and this film explores the problem by looking at how foreign-trained doctors are discriminated against.
Dr. Mark is a hero. In a world where you spend 2 hours in the waiting room to spend 15 minutes with your doctor, he’s almost too good to be true. Filmed in 2004, this documentary follows the good doctor on his round of house calls, yes, house calls. House calls where he not only checks on his elderly, less mobile patients, but also has taken on the initiative of photographing them to raise awareness about the lack of home care for seniors. Like I said, a hero.
Democracy on Trial: The Morgentaler Affair
Dr. Henry Morgentaler was certainly a controversial figure for some, but a hero to many. After surviving the concentration camps of WWII, he went on to study and practice medicine, with a heavy focus on family planning. His fight for abortion rights took place in both the provincial and federal courts of this country and this film traces the trajectory of those legal battles.
I love this film. There something about the late 1950s re-enactment films that really does it for me, and this one is no exception. It takes you into the life and lab of Dr. Frederick Banting, and his assistant, Charles Best. Some heroes don’t wear capes and perform death-defying acts of bravery. Some heroes spend day in and day out in their lab, repeatedly trying experiments until they find something that can help humankind. Dr. Banting is one of those heroes.