Proust questionnaire: William J. McLaren, MD

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 52, No. 10, December 2010, Page 546 Proust for Physicians

What profession might you have pursued, if not for medicine?

Which talent would you most like to have?
Ability to play the piano.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Marrying my beautiful wife. 

Who are your heroes?
My teacher Lord Russell Brock and tennis player Roger Federer.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Ruminating in starlight at our Shuswap Lake cottage.

What is your greatest fear?
Dying before my handicapped wife. 

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My inability to catch up.

What characteristic do your favorite patients share?
A sense of trust that I was doing my best.

Which living physician do you most admire?
Michael S. Wilson, my GP.

What is your favorite activity?
Reading the New Yorker in bed when not at tennis or skiing.

What medical advance do you most anticipate?
Voluntary euthanasia.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Sans froid.

On what occasion do you lie?
Hopefully never now in retirement, but at times to soften the blow of telling bad news.

What do you most value in your colleagues?
Their friendship.

Who are your favorite writers?
Malcolm Gladwell and David Remnick.

What is your greatest regret?
That I did not recognize precursors to my wife’s stroke.

How would you like to die?
Suddenly from whatever.

What is your motto?
In virtue are riches.


The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an indivi­dual reveals his or her true nature. To submit a Proust Questionnaire visit

William J. McLaren, MBChB,. Proust questionnaire: William J. McLaren, MD. BCMJ, Vol. 52, No. 10, December, 2010, Page(s) 546 - Proust for Physicians.

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.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply