About the Author

 

I grew up in Toronto on Euclid Avenue with my parents, maternal aunt and uncle, and several tenants in my Bubba’s semi-detached home sharing one bathroom. My father who had come from Latvia as a child worked as an apprentice druggist. My Bubba, aunt and uncle peddled and tailored clothes. Fortunately my Jewish family had left Europe before the second war and only later learned about the Holocaust. Uncle Harry, a Canadian army doc, had recently returned from action in Holland and took me as a young child on house calls. My father eventually saved enough money to buy a drugstore on the Queensway and Royal York Road where we lived for several years. 

Surrounded by my druggist-father, two uncles and four cousins who were doctors, the talk was often about medicine and illness so it seemed inevitable I would want to be a physician. One cousin, a surgeon, persuaded me to specialize in surgery. Another uncle suggested I join his family practice. I did neither. After medical school I took off with my girlfriend to study art in France. Arts and humanities fascinated me for their portrayal of the human condition and I struggled through med school with the tension between art and medicine. I wrote for The Queen’s Journal as a medical student, published in Quarry, The Canadian Forum, and The Queen’s Quarterly. After France, my girlfriend and I married and moved to Montreal where I completed my McGill psychiatry residency, worked with chronic patients at the Jewish General Hospital, and wrote The Last Panic, [Bantam Books] about an epidemic of madness which took over the world. Following the birth of our first daughter, we moved to Ontario, where I worked at teaching hospitals in Hamilton and Toronto. I trained as a psychoanalyst and coordinated a Psychiatry Day Hospital at Mount Sinai Hospital, taught medical students, residents, and followed patients. There, joined by a group of exceptionally talented psychiatrists, Allison Crawford, Rex Kay, Allan Peterkin, and Robin Roger, a psychotherapist, we founded a journal of medical humanities, Ars Medica [2004] and edited Body and Soul [University of Toronto Press, 2011] an anthology of work previously published in Ars Medica.

I have written fiction for medical and literary journals, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of the American Medical Association, The Medical Post, American Journal of Psychiatry, The Healing Muse, Psychoanalytic Perspectives, and Parchment. Currently I am in the process of completing a collection of short stories and a novel.

My recent novel Confessions of a Medical Student, was released in September 2018 by Sphinx Books.