[15 November 2020]
By the time this editorial is in print, you may be listening to Mariah sing about shunning her millions because all she really wants is you, while you sip mulled wine or eggnog. My scientific mind does wonder how you “nog” an “egg.” After extensive research (a.k.a., Google) I determined it is some combination of grog (rum), nog (strong ale), noggins (wooden mugs), and eggs (oval-shaped things that come from chickens).
All joking aside, I know that most would agree that 2021 has been a difficult year. The first global pandemic of our generation marched on with increased cases and deaths, often affecting the most vulnerable among us. Many families lost loved ones without the opportunity to comfort them in person and say goodbye. Just as the virus seemed to ebb, another wave developed, driven by the Delta variant.
The year started with much hope as the scientific miracle of rapidly developed COVID-19 vaccines became a reality and doses were put into arms. I think many of us in the medical community were taken by surprise by the degree of vaccine hesitancy and resistance encountered as the months rolled on. Conspiracy theorists were having a heyday, often spreading misinformation through social media to all who would listen. Primary care became an often-confrontational place as we did our best to educate our patients on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Despite this, I am proud to say that British Columbia has done better than many jurisdictions, with approximately 80% of the province’s population being vaccinated up to this point.
In 2021 we also experienced continued worsening of the opioid crisis. In the first 9 months of this year, over 1500 individuals died of opioid poisoning in our province. Sadly, this eclipses last year’s record-setting pace. Solutions for this crisis remain elusive and difficult to come by. Despite its human devastation, it currently receives less focus in the news, in part due to the presence of the global pandemic.
It’s been a difficult year on a personal level, too, as my wife became ill and continues to bravely battle what is at best an uphill struggle. Not by choice, I have sampled the health care system from the other side, initially during hospital COVID-19 restrictions, and can attest to how trying it’s been for those who are ill as well as for their concerned loved ones.
So, not the best year on paper, but the optimist in me remains undaunted. The kindness I have experienced on a personal level has been overwhelming and has reinforced my belief in the underlying goodness of people. On a broader level, I have been so impressed with the way in which our profession has handled this difficult pandemic. We have been on the front lines since the beginning and can be proud of our dedication, selflessness, and resilience. As I look ahead to 2022, I am confident that the doctors of BC will face whatever challenges arise with the same compassion and skill.
Happy holidays to you all.
—David R. Richardson, MD
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org