Alberta Governor's Newsletter December 2020

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Peter G Hamilton, MBBCh, FACP, ACP Governor

Peter G Hamilton, MBBCh, FACP, ACP Governor


COVID-19 – A Plague Year

Time in Quarantine and a Reflection on Suffering

In the very first week of lock down, I was paged by the Occupational Health Nurse. She informed me that I had direct exposure to a person who was COVID-19 positive. A physician colleague had attended the bonspiel that became a super-spreader event. I immediately went home and sat in my basement for 14 days. Every day, I diligently recorded my temperature. It was always the same 36.7°C. My wife threw me an occasional frozen sausage and a glass of COVID wine.

What was I going to do for two weeks in isolation? Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to read stories of others who had experienced real suffering. After all, the essence of empathy is imagination.

I started with the holocaust. “IF THIS IS A WOMAN”, by Sarah Helm, is a masterful thesis on Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. The women in this camp suffered unimaginable hardship at the hands of their captors. Although there were no gas chambers, as this was a labor camp, the women were starved, worked or beaten to death. It was considered a ‘minor camp’ in holocaust history as only 30,000 to 90,000 women and children died.

I also reflected on the fact that Anne Frank spent 761 days in the Secret Annex before being dragged out by the Nazi's and sent to the concentration camps where she died of typhus at the age of sixteen.

During my quarantine, BLM (Black Lives Matter) came into the news. It made me think, ‘How could I, as a privileged white male, relate to the lived experiences of persons of color?’ What better place to start than where it all began; the Transatlantic Slave Trade. “THE SLAVE SHIP – A Human History”, by Marcus Rediker, was as good a place to begin as any. I was shocked and deeply moved by the suffering of these young men, women, and children. The statistics speak for themselves.

By the time the Transatlantic Slave Trade was abolished in 1808, 9,000,000 people had been shipped to the New World, 500,000 died on the journey to the ships, and another 400,000 died onboard the ships. The value for US slave labour is $5.9 to $14.2 trillion in 2009.1

Imagine what it meant to be a piece of property; to be owned by another. How do we in the West reconcile with our collective history? How do we begin to make amends? Should we pay restitution to the offspring of the slaves? Black Lives Matter!

When the President of the USA was infected with COVID-19, I recollected a past President who was also infected by a virus. In November 1918, President Woodrow Wilson, became ill from the Spanish Influenza while attending the Paris Peace Conference. Then, as now, the severity of his illness was not disclosed to the public. He went onto having a disabling stroke, in 1919, that was kept from the public until his term ended in 1921.

After having had time to reflect on times of great suffering, I want to sincerely thank you all for your contributions to the care of many of our patients who have become sick and even have died from this scourge. Keep up your spirits and stay safe. Hopefully this time next year we will have put this all behind us.

Let us heed the words of Buddha:

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Peter G. Hamilton, MD

ACP Governor Alberta Chapter

1. Craemer, Thomas. Estimating Slavery Reparations: Present Value Comparisons of Historical Multigenerational Reparations Policies. “Social Science Quarterly 96.2 (2015) Online




My term as Governor comes to an end in April 2023. We are calling for nominations for the next Alberta Governor. Please contact me if you want to nominate a colleague.




Have you thought of applying for Fellowship? If interested contact me for more information or go directly to the ACP web page.




Our colleagues in Calgary, Dr. Rahim Kachra, Dr. Lee-Ann Hawkins and Ms. Jovena Borisenko did a stellar job of running the meeting online. We had record registrations with 530 registrants from 20 countries, 8 US states and most Canadian provinces. There were registrants from South America, the Caribbean, sub Saharan Africa and Asia.



Emergency Department Visits on Lunar New Year's Eve

Dr. Mitchell Vu, University of British Columbia


Evaluation of Competency Based Education (CBE) Methods Applied to Internal Medicine Resident Handovers

Dr. Alia Teja, University of Saskatchewan


Bilateral non-thrombotic pulmonary embolism secondary to cyanoacrylate embolization of bleeding gastric varices.

Dr. Tania Pannu, University of Calgary


A unique presentation of Guillain-Barre syndrome as a post-infectious complication of COVID-19

Gabrielle Willhelm, University of Alabama


Factors Associated with Antihyperglycemic Medication Adjustment During Hospitalization and Resulting Glycemic Outcomes: A Multi-Centre Cohort Study

Dr. Erin Helson, University of Calgary


Optimization of Laboratory test utilization among medical inpatients

Dr. Simon Taylor, University of Calgary



Congratulations to the Steering Committee!

I extend a big thank you from the Alberta Chapter of the ACP. Well done!

See you next year.



DRUGS and DRUGS 5th Edition

We are happy to announce the launch of our mobile app version of the Drugs and Drugs handbook. Available now on the App Store and Google Play.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic - we will be offering the app FREE for the first 10,000 downloads

The app contains the same great content of the Drugs and Drugs Handbook in an accessible digital format. The printed version will be available in the next six months.


  • Includes over 20 categories of medications with 130 plus individual chapters of different medication classes
  • Clean and intuitive interface that makes navigating each chapter easy
  • Search Function - to find the medication summaries quicker, or even to cross reference side effects
  • Favorites function to bookmark frequently used pages and a Notes page to jot down clinical pearls
  • Customizable settings - including light and dark themes, and different ways of displaying chapter summaries

Please go to:




The Annual ACP Conference will be held 29 April to 1 May 2021.

Early bird registration until 31 January 2021.