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Dr. Brain Goldman: "Red Eyes" and bone dry cappuccino

nov022010 002.jpgMost of us know Dr. Brian Goldman's voice from his former role as house doctor on Homerun. He's also the host of "White Coat Black Art" on CBC Radio.

We finally got a chance to meet him in person when he stopped by our studio as part of his tour to promote his new book "The Night Shift: Real Life in the Heart of the ER".

Our Web journalist Tanya Birkbeck chatted with him in our hallway lounge about how to stay awake through 24-hour shifts, his Montreal favourites, and his take on U.S. politics.


We always hear about interns and residents working 24 hour shifts. But is that changing?

There are proposals that limit the number of consecutive hours worked. But it's one thing to have time off, another thing to use it.

Interns and residents don't want to miss the great cases. Doctors are among the worst offenders of presenteeism.

When I was interning, it was one night in three. And before that it was one night in two. And you know what people said? "You know what's wrong with one night in two? You miss half the great cases."

Of course the flip side of this is that sleep deprivation plays a role in medical errors.

So how do you stay awake through those all night shifts? Do you grab a coffee on the way to work?

Yes, but there is something that works better. Modafinil. It was originally approved for uncontrollable sleeping. It keeps me awake but not in the same way as coffee. I think better.

But do you have a favourite coffee?

Italian Roast, French Roast at Starbucks. But I don't like the Pike Place Roast. I like Second Cup. But I don't like Tim Horton's, it's too weak.

How do you like it? Black? A latté?

I don't like lattés. Too much milk. If I have a cappuccino, it's a bone dry cappuccino. Or I like the Red Eye. Bold with an extra shot of espresso.

How many times have you been to Montreal?

About 50 times.

Where do you like to go when you are here?


I love Hudson. I have a dear friend who owns a house by the lake.

I like the old city, Mont Royal, Schwartz's.

What are you reading right now?

Harperland (by Lawrence Martin) I'm fascinated by this guy [Stephen Harper] and want to know what makes him tick.

You really follow politics?

Yeah, I'm a real junkie.

What do you think of the mid-term elections in the U.S?

It's good for Obama. He hasn't had an enemy. He'll be in clover if both the senate and the house go to the Republicans. If he can have some battles, some people will like him more. That's what some people liked about Bill Clinton; he was wounded.  


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