Several months ago, I was invited to give a public lecture at the University of Lethbridge. The lecture happened last week.
As outlined in the recordings, the initial trigger that brought me to Lethbridge came from Dan Johnson, a Professor there, whose son, Dexter, one of twin boys that Dan had been looking after as a single parent for over a decade, had killed himself.
Unbeknownst to Dan, Dexter had been put on Prozac, for what sounds like minimal complaints, fueled by stories from his peers claiming SSRI drugs really help you think more clearly.
In Dexter’s case, he felt worse and the dose was put up. This happened two more times – he was worse on higher doses and the dose was put up further – all without Dan being aware what was going on.
Dexter died a little over a year ago. Dan has been trying to establish what went wrong and reached out to the Department of Psychology in Lethbridge, especially Jennifer Williams, in addition to many international experts and to me – which led to the invitation.
Public lectures in the University of Lethbridge happen in a fabulous new building, which has a spectacular Atrium looking out over what I would call a Ravine but is called a Coulee there – the edge of which you can just about see in the distance. In summer, this edge is green but in winter everything dies back leaving a sandstone colored look.
It really felt like a great place to give a lecture. The slides were all set up and I was looking forward to standing at a very elegant podium.
The talk was introduced by Jamal Mansour – with distinction. For years I have been trying to get people introducing talks to not bore everyone with a spiel about Healy – where he came from etc. My hunch is that if the talk is any good, people can google me afterwards, or maybe during the talk these days. But if it doesn’t resonate, building a speaker up beforehand is a waste of time and may even make things worse.
Nobody, before Jamal, has had the nerve to do this. She spectacularly nailed it – saying if anyone in the audience finds the talk interesting you can google the speaker afterwards to find out more.
And then the audio-visuals flickered and died. The Tech guy raced around, changing cables, reprogamming the devices, and finally turning everything off and on again and we were up and running for all of 5 slides.
The system collapsed again. When further efforts to repair it failed, the show was moved into a lecture theater next door. The audience coped with the chaos extraordinarily well.
Thomas Paul was now the man with the greatest problem. He was recording the talk and had spent over half an hour setting up beforehand – adjusting for light and ambient sound and lots more. Everything was fine. I was multiply miked up.
Tom now had about 5 minutes to repeat the show in the new lecture theater. How he managed it is unclear to me.
Given the difficulties getting the talk to happen and getting it recorded, it seemed like a good idea to re-record it afterwards also to make certain there would be a version that could be used.
The day after, therefore, I recorded a version on a Zoom link – or tried to. Half way through the battery on the computer died.
Two days later I managed to get a recorded version.
Tom is also still processing his copy and hoping to be able to make it live soon.
So it looks like the home recorded version of Beware Doctors Bearing Gifts will be able to go live next Monday on Davidhealy.org along with slides and text.
It also look like a proper version of the talk, with audience and Q and A, will also be posted next week on the AmazingDexterJohnson.com site, set up by Dan.
The University of Lethbridge will likely post the talk also.
It would be great if anyone who comes across any of these can spread the word.
Dexter as Standard Bearer
For a long time, I have wondered about Greta Thunberg’s generation. They have done so much to draw our attention to the pollution of our environment, the macrocosmos, with chemicals and yet the same group of people are doing more to pollute their inner environment, their micocosmos, with chemicals, than any prior comparable generation in human history.
See the set of posts in The Politics of Care, many of which make this point.
It has always felt unlikely to me that a Greta-like standard bearer would emerge to draw attention to an arguably even more serious climate crisis in health.
We may need a dead standard bearer, like Dexter, to be a figurehead for a truly alarming problem in need of urgent attention.
If anyone can photoshop an image of Dexter into this picture – or engineer a comparable Dexter image into a Greta like scene, please get in touch, I may be able to get Dan to find a suitable picture of Dexter to fit the Greta Backdrop.