Bio

Blair Bigham is a Toronto-based multimedia journalist, scientist and resident emergency physician. He was a Global Journalism Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs.  His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, amongst others, and he frequently appears on CBC Radio.

He has worked in health care settings on five continents and has responded to emergencies in urban, rural, and remote settings on helicopters, boats, and vehicles that could generously be described as pick-up trucks.

He witnesses the relationship between wealth and health on a daily basis, and reports on the undertold stories of patients, healthcare providers, and the systems that help or fail them.

Why

Stories form the backbone of medicine. Every doctor must be a skilled listener, hearing narratives told by patients, teachers, and colleagues. A skilled doctor, though, can tell a story just as well. Communicating a cancer diagnosis and the painful road ahead, or engaging a sick patient to modify the lifestyle choices that are threatening their health, requires skillful oration, insightful angles, and respectful tones.

As a doctor, I hear stories every day; stories that I want to share. Many start tragically, have roller-coaster arcs, and end on a note of joy. Some end quickly; others drag on mercilessly. Most enrich my life, like the inspiring story of John, who’s impact I’ve written about on this blog. But other stories are heart-wrenching. At home and abroad, I have heard tales of injustice and misery.

I tell these stories, the good and the bad, to my colleagues every day. Some I share in blog posts or magazine articles, or on stage at conferences. Others I withhold, telling no one, afraid of judgment or criticism, hypothetical stones to be thrown at my authentic glass house.

These stories, of medical brilliance, medical hubris, and medical tragedy, need to be shared, not only in the halls of hospitals but with the public.  Some are directly relevant to everyday life. Others require spotlights to bring attention to injustice and misfortune. Some are just plain weird.

I hope you enjoy them.  Thanks for reading, and be well.

Write

Blair has written for several Canadian and International media outlets, including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, CBC News, TVO, VICE.com, STATnews, Quartz, and others.

He has appeared on several CBC Radio – Radio Canada programs as well as community radio and his stories have appeared on CBC’s The National.

He also writes for the paramedic community at Canadian Paramedicine, EMS Magazine and EMSWorld.com

All Clippings

Top Clippings

Audio Clips

Speak

Blair has been described as “one of the best young speakers in the field.”

He has delivered over 100 speeches and educational talks on several topics, including:
<> medicine and the media
<> patient safety and just culture
<> wellness and resiliency for clinicians
<> bloodborne disease transmission
<> compassion and suffering

 

Blog

A note on kindness

The morning did not go as planned. Neither did the evening. And the afternoon? Well, it was better than any other time today, but frustrating none-the-less. So you can imagine that when my friend texted me asking “how’s things?” two hours in to my flight delay, stuck in the Montreal airport lounge, I needed to …

TRUMP&SANTA

Twas the night before Christmas; all through the North Pole Every creature was talking ‘bout Donald’s new role. The President-Elect came out from left field, And in a just a few weeks, great power he’ll wield.   The elves were all anxious, awake in their beds; Fears of being deported bounced ‘round in their heads. …