CAPCH honours the passing in 2012 of Doug Gosling, extraordinary health blogger and extraordinary human being, whose legacy continues to inspire CAPCH members.
CAPCH Tribute for Doug Gosling
CAPCH wishes to honour the passing of one of our own, Advisory Board member Doug Gosling. Courageous, honest, and proactive, Doug lent an incredible voice to people-centred health care.
Formerly a software executive, with the onset of prostate cancer Doug turned his energies to health advocacy. Blogging about his experiences with cancer and health care attalkingaboutcancer.ca, he opened the door to discussions of issues typically left unrevealed or undiscussed, becoming an inspiration and comfort to others fighting the disease as well as to care providers, family members, and friends. When the time came to choose palliative care over further treatment, with characteristic courage and determination Doug began his final blog, dyingdigitally.com. On the evening of May 29th, 2012, Doug posted his last entry – thoughtful, immediate, and insightful, as always. On the morning of May 30th Doug passed away, surrounded by beloved family members. Being Doug, he’d left one more blog as a postscript: saying good-bye, encouraging others, and apologizing for not being able to stay longer with his great love, wife Dianne.
Doug showed us an exemplary level of humanity. He taught us both how to fight for the health care we deserve, and how to advocate for our own needs as people. He modeled to us how to talk about the things that will count most when we or someone we love is living with terminal illness, and he showed us how to face death with loving practicality and open emotion while not necessarily knowing all the answers to the big questions. In doing so, Doug illustrated to us both how to live, and how to die.
On behalf of our Board, Advisory Board, and many in the online health care world, CAPCH salutes you, Doug. Thank you for the tremendous energy and commitment you shared with us so generously.
Doug has been an incredible inspiration and model for living and dying well. His courageous battle will not soon be forgotten and he has truly made a difference. I am going to miss him!
– Dr. Vaughan Glover, CAPCH co-founder & CEO
We are at once deeply saddened by Doug’s death, but also strengthened by his determination to do all that he could to manage his cancer and be so helpful to others. Doug is a true inspiration and will be missed. We will think about some special way to honor him and his leadership: e.g. Doug Gosling People-Centred Health Award.
– Dr. Harvey Skinner, CAPCH Board member, Chair of Dept. of Health York University
I learned a lot more about life and how to live from a dying man in such a short time!
Farewell, my Friend, we shall continue the battle!
- Dr. Kevin Leonard, CAPCH Board member, researcher & lecturer, University Health Network
In Memory of Doug Gosling – Written by Kevin J. Leonard
As you might have heard by now, we lost a great person, Doug Gosling, last Wednesday, May 30th – and I want to take a brief moment to comment on his passing and what his life meant to me and to all of us.
In the Fall of 2008 I had the opportunity to meet Doug for lunch with a mutual friend (David Wiljer – and for this alone I will be grateful, as this single event changed my life so much for the better). It was during this lunch at the University of Toronto Faculty Club that Doug shared with me his life story – and he did so in a way that was not sad or depressing but rather very uplifting. We agreed that we would do some work together (conferences, writings) to help people understand that health care in Canada can be very effective but can also be improved by considering one simple additional change – let patients have a louder voice and “allow them to provide more input on the outputs!” Patient Destiny received a big boost from meeting Doug that day, and became a better organization with Doug’s input and enthusiastic involvement.
Over the last 3 plus years, Doug and I had great conversations and he showed a deep emotional and caring side towards all people – not just to ones that he knew or liked, but to all he would come in contact with. It is this openness that I will try to emulate over the rest of my life. I admire his courage for sharing his personal health journey far and wide so that others may learn and understand. That being said, he was also very much a family man and the hardest issue (I believe) for him to deal with was that of leaving behind his loving wife, Dianne – I know he felt much sorrow about leaving her here to live out the rest of her life without him.
Take care, Doug, and I will think of you and your journey often over the coming years. And hopefully when we meet again, there will be so much more that you can teach us all.
My deepest condolences to Dianne and the family.
Memorial for Doug Gosling – Written by Vaughan Glover
Doug Gosling was a very special person whom I had the privilege of calling a friend for the past 3 years. I met Doug at a Patient Destiny conference. Kevin Leonard was the leader and had asked us both to speak. Kevin simply said “I have someone you have to meet.”
As Kevin predicted, at the conference Doug delivered one of his classic motivational talks, despite the fact that it was a particularly difficult time and he was on a lot of medication to control pain. At the first break I introduced myself and we shared stories, confided in one another, and we passionately pursued our shared mission of making health care more People-Centred – more responsive to the needs of people.
As I got to know Doug and began to appreciate what he was going through, many adjectives for him came to mind. First and foremost he was a father, husband and family man, and to his last blog, he never let us forget where his priorities lay. However there’s a long list of other ways I remember Doug: brave, courageous, inspirational, visionary, committed, a leader, a connector, humanistic, caring, empathic, moral, ethical, socially aware, unselfish, a realist, emotional and able to convey his emotions in his writing… and many more. Doug was never self centred. Rather, he was always trying to explore ways he might use his time to help others.
About a year after we met, Doug was given a bleak prognosis. He asked to meet with me on my next visit to Toronto, and he told me he was going away for a canoe trip up in Algonquin Park with some friends. As the realist, Doug would frame things. He said, “I can’t do everything I want to, so I have to prioritize. If I come back from the canoe trip [not when but IF], I have to decide how I can best use the time I have left to make a difference.” He then went on to explain more about his plans to write his book and to blog, so that others may learn from his experiences.
Anyway, he did return from a very difficult canoe trip, and he asked to meet again. He said he’d decided he wanted to work with Kevin and I on our mission to create a people-centred health system. Not only was I honoured that he would give us some of his precious time, but to this day, his comments are a reason I never give up. I have always been passionate about our goal of system reform, and I know it is right. However, when a dying man tells you this cause is the best way for him to make a difference with the time he has left, it raises one’s passion, commitment, and the goal itself to a whole new level.
I can’t imagine how many people Doug has helped and will continue to help through his legacy of his book, websites, TV and radio interviews, speeches, Tweets, Facebook page, personal visits, and blogs. The fact that he called his last blog “dying digitally” is classic Doug. He said it like it is and his grasp of reality and willingness to share were, and will continue to be, invaluable. His book Wolf at my Door is a classic account of the reality of going through prostate cancer and all the decisions that need to be made. It is not for the faint of heart, but he believed that people must have the option of knowing what it is like in order to make appropriate decisions with respect to their health.
I am going to miss Doug very much. He was a leader and visionary, but most of all he was an inspiration for the rest of us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and do something worthwhile.
When I speak about wellness I often use Terry Fox as the perfect metaphor; now I will also use Doug Gosling. Both of them would have been seen as health failures by our illness care system: neither could be fixed, and both died far before their time. Yet both decided that they would do it THEIR way. “Wellness” is something I define as being all one is capable of being, while accepting the time, energy, social, financial, and environmental realities in your life at a given point in time. Thus anyone can be well at any time. I truly believe, although his life was shorter than all of us would ever want, that Doug Gosling lived well and he died well; he was an example of wellness in that he became all he was capable of being. That, my friends, is the best any of us can hope to do in the time we have in this life.
Thank you Doug, for being such a special person. We will do all we can to make sure that your message is heard and that others, and the future of health care, will benefit from your immense contribution.
Warm regards and Love to all your friends and family,
Dr. Bruce Squires
CAPCH honours the late Dr. Squires and his contribution as a seminal CAPCH Founder. We remember with gratitude his support & inspiration from the very beginning – when CAPCH was still just an idea, and Vaughan Glover’s book on People-Centred Health Care still a manuscript being drafted.
Bruce Paul Squires - 05/11/2011
Peacefully at home on Wednesday, 11 May, Bruce Paul Squires, MD., Ph.D., age 77. Husband of Patricia (McBane), father of Patti, London ON and Bruce Jr. (Joanne Kennedy), Ottawa. Grandfather of Grady, Ella, and Audrey. Brother of Ted (Doris), Blue Mountains, Wendy (Murray Hall), Burlington, and Larry, Milton. Also survived by nieces, nephews, and friends. Born May 10, 1934, in Toronto, Bruce grew up in Oakville. He received his BA from Huron College in London ON and his MD. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Western Ontario.
Following a post-doctoral fellowship in endocrinology at Duke University (Durham, NC), where he met and married Patricia, he returned to UWO in 1965 in the Department of Physiology, rising to full professor. He received the first Douglas Bocking Award for teaching and was elected honorary president of Meds’70. In 1971 he was appointed to head Western’s new Office of Service and Research in Medical Education.
In 1978 he became the first Director of the Office of Health Sciences Educational Development there. He led numerous teaching workshops in North America and abroad. Bruce was appointed Assistant Editor of the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 1984, Scientific Co-Editor in 1986, Scientific Editor in 1987, and Editor in Chief of the CMA’s Publications Department from 1989 until his retirement in 1996.. His editorials included publishing guidelines for medical articles. He was speaker and facilitator at many international conferences and workshops on medical journal editing. He was a member of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (Vancouver Group) and the Council of Biology Editors (now Council of Science Editors). In 1995 he co-founded the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), an on-line organization comprising 1565 members representing 965 journals in 92 countries. He served WAME as Vice-President then Secretary and Membership Chairman.
Bruce participated in the founding meeting of the Forum of African Medical Editors and was an honorary member of the Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors. He was an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, and served on the Advisory Board of the People-Centred Health Institute. He held membership in the Canadian Association of the Club of Rome, Ottawa Branch. Bruce Squires received the Award of Merit of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (1993), an Honorary Fellowship in the American Medical Writers Association (1997), and Honorary Senior Membership in the Canadian Medical Association (1999). In 2006 he rejoined CMAJ as Editor Emeritus during the interim search for an editor-in-chief. That December the Canadian Medical Association established the Dr. Bruce P. Squires Award, presented annually for excellence in medical journalism. At Bruce’s request his body has been donated to the Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of Western Ontario. (Thus he continues to teach medical students.) No visitation.
His funeral will be held on Saturday, 14 May at 10 AM at the Church of St. Barnabas, southwest corner of Kent & James Street, Ottawa, with a reception following the service. Bruce specified that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the St. Barnabas Church Celebration Fund, 70 James St., Ottawa ON, K1R 5M3. Sincere gratitude to the numerous health professionals who cared for him.
Memorial for Dr. Bruce Squires – Written by Vaughan Glover
Dr. Bruce Squires, a loyal personal friend and one of the original supporters of people-centred care – and eventually CAPCH - passed away on May 11th 2012 after a long battle with multiple health issues. His obituary summarizes his remarkable life and some of his accomplishments in medicine, academics and journalism. It pays tribute to a fine life.
I was introduced to Bruce as someone that I “needed to connect with if I wanted to make a difference in health care”. Bruce took the time to meet with me when all I had was an idea that health care needed to evolve to a model that put the needs of people first. We met many times either at his home with Patti, the love of his life, or down the street at the Manx Pub where he enjoyed a draft and shared his wisdom about health care, how the system works, and even more important his vast knowledge about the people in the systems both here and in the USA. Bruce’s encouragement and support helped empower me to stay positive and eventually launch CAPCH.
Bruce had been very ill for several years and unable to travel to meetings. Yet Bruce was one of the first people who supported me when the vision for what is now CAPCH existed only in its infancy. He was particularly supportive during the years I was writing my book and trying to find a way to put together the concept of people-centred care in a format that others might understand. Both Bruce and his Patti edited many of my early documents and even took the time to edit an early version of my book.
Despite his failing health, Bruce continued to serve as a member of the CAPCH Advisory Board. Until recently he was also one of the three members on the Board for the People-Centred Health Institute (PCHI, the CAPCH charity). He will be greatly missed.
As I often say when speaking, the final stage of a ‘Journey to Wellness’ is to Die Well. By all definitions, Bruce lived and died well despite all his physical challenges.
I attended Bruce’s memorial service and a donation to the St Barnabus Church Celebration Fund, Bruce’s named charity, has been made on behalf of CAPCH.
Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to Patti and to all his family.
Vaughan Glover, CAPCH President & CEO