A medical friend of mine was telling me recently that her son, a first-year medical student, was heading off that day to take his first clinical history. She was a little nervous on his behalf and was doing her best to give him a few tips on how to approach the encounter. “I’ll be grand, …Read the Rest

Stuck for a gift for the microbiologist in your life? Look no further than the ‘Infectious wearables’ website ( Their online store features a selection of very reasonably priced ($35) (€27.5) ties with a twist; each garment features a brightly-coloured photomicrograph of bacteria and infectious agents including anthrax, avian flu, clostridium difficile, hepatitis B and …Read the Rest

I was at a wonderful presentation by a senior colleague recently. Close to retirement, he had been invited to offer some pearls of wisdom to those attending. In doing so he presented a litany of misdiagnoses, delayed diagnoses, mistreatments and treatment failures he had made over the years. We all cringed, squirmed and groaned on …Read the Rest

As my 50th birthday party celebration approaches, my teenage kids grow increasingly anxious about the prospect of watching their dad ‘getting down’ on the dance floor on the big night. I understand completely. It’s not an attractive sight. Spare a thought then for the family of a 50-year-old ‘dad dancer’ who sustained a subdural haemorrhage …Read the Rest

I always get excited about going on holidays. There’s the anticipation of down-time away from work for relaxation, sleeping, eating, reading, and some quality time with my family. Life is just going to be better on holidays. I just know it is. Of course it is. A few days after my arrival, I eventually ‘land’. …Read the Rest

For the last couple of decades, like most of my physician colleagues of my generation, I haven’t had a whole lot to do with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Having passed the MRCP examination in the early 1990s, my only regular dealings with them has been an annual last-minute scramble to enter CPD …Read the Rest

“Daddy, can I have antibiotic for my sore throat?” People think it must be great to have a doctor in the family. They imagine a doctor spouse as a free and infinite source of medical information, a compassionate, calm presence in the face of a family medical crisis or someone with an ‘always-on’ bedside manner. …Read the Rest

I’ve been reading a lot about psychopaths recently. Psychopaths, according to psychologist and author Kevin Dutton, have “a grandiose sense of self-worth, persuasiveness, superficial charm, ruthlessness, lack of remorse and an ability to manipulate others”. Dutton, in his bookThe Wisdom of Psychopaths points out that “unlike their box-office counterparts, not all psychopaths are violent, or even …Read the Rest

When I was approached a few months back ago to volunteer as a dancer at my daughter’s school’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Fundraiser I declined. The excuse I used, to my shame, is that I was too busy. The truth is that I was too afraid. Like many men of my age, I avoid occasions where …Read the Rest

Sheridan’s cheesemongers is one of my favourite places to visit on a Saturday morning. It’s a beautiful shop in the market area of Galway city, with an impressive selection from the best cheese makers from Ireland and Europe. In cheese terms, the possibilities of Sheridan’s are almost boundless. I have been a visitor to the …Read the Rest