How often do you hear a doctor saying doctors need to be more accountable, Medicare needs more support and family medicine deserves more respect? Dissident Doctor bristles with refreshingly frank criticisms from inside the health sector, and its author is not just any doctor but a distinguished scientific researcher, veteran medical administrator, Professor Emeritus, recipient of the Order of Canada and lifelong gadfly.
In Dissident Doctor, Michael C. Klein intersperses fascinating tales of individual cases with formative elements of his personal life. As the son of American left-wing activists, he grew up singing folk songs about justice and racial equality; as a young doctor his refusal to serve as a military physician during the Vietnam War prompted his immigration to Canada. His early experience working with midwives in Ethiopia—delivering babies using techniques for natural pain relief and without routine episiotomy—were formative, leading him to question many standard but unjustified procedures in Western maternity care. He made many unconventional decisions as a result of his focus on humane medicine, transitioning from a specialization in pediatrics and newborn care to become a family physician, and embracing midwifery before it was approved in Canada. Klein’s determination in the face of great opposition, the strength of his convictions, and his humility and sense of humour drive this powerful story of a life and career dedicated to his patients and his principles.