Over 500 attend medical festival to re-inspire doctors

Galway Daily news People in Galway urged to know their healthcare options for Bank Holiday

Over 500 doctors and health care professionals attended a medical festival at NUIG this week aimed at reawakening their passion for medicine.

The old-out dotMD Festival of Medical Curiosity took place in the Bailey Allen Hall over two days on Friday and Saturday.

Organised by Galway-based doctors Dr Ronan Kavanagh, Dr Muris Houston and Dr Alan Cross, the award winning festival for doctors aims to “Reawaken a passion and wonder for medicine that some might have lost along the way”, according to dotMD Director Dr Ronan Kavanagh.

This year’s festival placed a strong emphasis on seeing medicine through the lens of stories and storytelling.

Irish writer Colum McCann will delivered the keynote presentation entitled ‘I Sat, I Listened, I Cured – Medicine and the Fine Art of Storytelling’, and there was also a story-telling event featuring doctors.

Fields crossed over in the strangest ways as doctors learned about improvisation from jazz musicians and how they can improve their skills of observation by looking at art.

An exhibition of graphic medicine was also held, a new discipline looking at the value of cartoons in healthcare.

It featured the work of 38 cartoonists from around the world and was sponsored by The Galway Clinic.

The festival also put the focus on the lives of doctors, and how they can impact the patient experience.

Doctors received advice from experts on how best to maintain compassion and kindness in medicine, despite the stresses and challenges involved.

There was also a session on having better conversations around death with writer Dr Kathryn Mannix.

Dr Kavanagh added “Although this might be considered the Golden Age of medicine, with so many positive developments in how healthcare is provided, doctors are suffering.”

“Rates of depression, burnout and other stress related illnesses are high in medicine at the moment, resulting in some leaving the profession or even retiring early.”

“Although the reasons for this are complex, the challenges of delivering medicine in a modern environment have taken their toll on doctors, thereby impairing their ability to deliver quality healthcare.”

Co-organiser Dr Muiris Houston said “Although we don’t claim to have all the solutions to medicine’s problems, we wanted to create an experience that would help doctors reconnect with what matters in medicine, to reinvigorate and to re-inspire them, and to help them find meaning in their working lives.”

The event was supported by local businesses, with Galway’s West End functioning as a social hub for delegates, and with support from McCambridges and from Sheridan’s Cheesemongers.