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The Beatles, Babies and Broken Bodies cover

  • eBook Edition
    • 978-1-03-914388-3
    • epub, pdf files
  • Paperback Edition
    • 978-1-03-914386-9
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 288 pages
  • Hardcover Edition
    • 978-1-03-914387-6
    • 5.5 x 8.5 inches
    • Black & White interior
    • 288 pages
  • Keywords
    • Autobiography of a female doctor,
    • Medical doctor’s memoir,
    • Women in medicine,
    • Healthcare in Canada’s north,
    • Working as an obstetrician gynaecologist,
    • Becoming a woman doctor,
    • Self-care and wellness in medicine

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The Beatles, Babies and Broken Bodies
My Memoir Navigating Canada's Healthcare System
by Pat Zehr

What does it take to be a frontline healthcare worker? Dedication, perseverance, strength, passion: the standard superlatives of a hero. Add being a nurse in Canada’s northern region and practising medicine as a woman, and the backstory gets more dramatic. From vivid descriptions of the far north to dealing with misogyny in medical school and beyond, Pat Zehr’s poignant memoir is especially relevant today. By sharing her story, Zehr touches on pressing socio-economic issues, including disparities in healthcare and the ongoing havoc of COVID-19. Zehr’s medical career, first as a nurse and then as an OB-GYN, is both a compelling journey of self-discovery and a lens on issues within the Canadian healthcare system. She shares the challenges of being a frontline worker, advocate, and patient. After decades of providing care, Zehr became debilitated herself and embarked on a new search for treatment that led to a second calling as a yoga instructor. Compelling vignettes—and a love for The Beatles, whose music serves as a touchstone throughout—celebrate the beauty of remote regions while revealing the toll of providing healthcare and coping with its inherent heartbreak. Zehr doesn’t hold back, whether it’s about mental and physical breakdown (and being a workaholic) or her devotion to The Beatles (and yes, she does have a favourite Beatle).

Pat Zehr, M.D., has dedicated more than four decades to providing healthcare. She’s worked as a registered nurse in Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, an industrial nurse at a lead-zinc mine in the High Arctic, and an OB-GYN in Sault Ste. Marie in northern Ontario. A fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada, Zehr is now retired from practising medicine but remains a health-and-wellness crusader and is a yoga teacher in Sault Ste. Marie, where she lives with her husband.


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