Sunday, September 5, 2010

Welcome to my latest project!

Please see my book "memoirs of a medical maverick" (AKA; a blogger dreams of immortality), published by Liberties Press, Dublin. It was launched by Marie Louise O'Donnell on 21st September in Dublin and is available in the bookshops.

In this biography I write about my childhood and growing up in Dublin before the World War and about Ireland’s isolation from the rest of the world at the time; about my family with its political and military background during the revolutionary years. I describe my years in the university and my graduation as a doctor. I talk about Aileen and my six children, my second wife, Louise, and other personal matters during my early years as a doctor. I describe my four years experience as a doctor in training in London during the immediate post war period of shortages and widespread destruction by earlier German bombing.

I write too about my career in medicine. I played an unusual role in my profession as a physician in a large public teaching hospital and as a medical epidemiologist on the international circuit researching the causes of heart disease. It is the medical epidemiologists who can best identify the causes of the common chronic diseases such as stroke, heart and respiratory disease, and cancer.  Without knowledge of causes it is not possible to control these conditions and it was largely through applying the results of such research that accounts for the dramatic decline in heart disease deaths in the Western world.

I use the word maverick in the title of the book because of my critical approach to modern medicine. Despite my pride in medicine’s contribution to modern treatment successes, I am critical of many aspects of current standards of practice and patient counselling, insufficient evidence to justify many of our interventions, a burgeoning drug culture which is dominated by the drug industry and changes in medical practice which threaten the ethos and vocationalism of our Hippocratic tradition...

I am now in my 89th year, in good health and continue to be active in many areas. A retirement of 22 years has allowed me to continue my writing and to develop a variety of other interests.  These include the history of the  revolutionary  period in Ireland, the Irish health services and problems in  world health economics, in the French and Irish languages, trees and forestry, the environment and population control, and continuing an active participation in aerobic exercise through cycling, walking and golf.  I deal in one of my final chapters with my experience of ageing and my attitude to death, and how to enjoy the older years as well as the years long past.

I will be updating this blog regularly and would be delighted for comments on the book, its contents and any stories you might have to share about these times.

Risteard Mulcahy
22nd September 2010