It required a certain frame of mind to consider working with chronic disease sufferers.
As a young medical student, I was fascinated by the science of genetic diseases. I longed to discover the genes that would help us to better understand the biology of rare and complex neurological diseases. As a neurology resident, I learned to phenotype hundreds of nerve disorders, some of which were treatable and some not. An older colleague taught me the six words that doctors live by: “Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.” It required a certain frame of mind to consider working with chronic disease sufferers. When I did my specialization in Boston, my desire to understand the biology of incurable diseases and my interest in working with patients with chronic diseases came together, crystallizing in a curiosity and an empathy for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. At the ALS clinic at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, we developed a multidisciplinary approach in which everyone works toward to same goal: to support patients with this devastating disease, and especially to give them hope. A number of challenges still lie ahead, but anyone who has ever been around an ALS patient could never again be indifferent to their cause.
Dr. Nicolas Dupré