Transcript: I Am a Doctor | Jul 12, 2021

A man flips rapidly through a deck of cards.
(Rattling noise)

The young man, in his late teens or early twenties, says WE HAD, SORT OF, I GUESS,
BUILT UP EXPECTATIONS
OF WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE
TO COME TO CANADA.
HOPED FOR HIM TO
BE A DOCTOR.
AND IT WAS A
LITTLE DIFFICULT.
AND IT WAS CERTAINLY
DIFFICULT LIKE SEEING HIM
STEP DOWN AS A DOCTOR
AND THINKING TO MYSELF
THAT HE'S MAKING
THAT SACRIFICE FOR US,
THAT KIND OF THING.
THAT HE'S GIVING AWAY ALL
THAT HE BUILT IN VENEZUELA.

(music plays)

A full-screen title caption reads "I Am a Doctor."

A new caption reads "Daniel has practiced medicine since 1985, He has 20 years of
experience as a medical doctor in Venezuela. He and his family arrived in Canada
in 2007."

A narrow dirt road is lined with humble dwellings on either side. A prematurely
gray-haired clean-shaven man in his early fifties sits and speaks for the camera.

Daniel says THINGS WERE GETTING
REALLY TOUGH IN CARACAS.
I WAS WORKING IN AN
EMERGENCY HOSPITAL
WHERE WE WOULD JUST BRING
PEOPLE WITH GUNSHOTS IN.
PROBABLY 8 TO 12,000
KILLINGS PER YEAR.
HAVING THE SAME AMOUNT
OF POPULATION AS CANADA.
ONE OF THE DAYS WE WERE
IN ONE OF THESE KINDS
OF PROTESTS WITH OUR
FLAG AND WE GOT OIL,
VERY HOT OIL
THROWN TOWARDS US.
SO IT STARTED TO GET, YOU
KNOW, REALLY DIFFICULT
AND WE JUST DECIDED TO
LEAVE THE COUNTRY.

He holds up a Venezuelan flag with a burn-hole in it.

(music plays)
A caption reads "Daniel took all the tests required in order to apply for medical
residency in Canada. He was never invited for an interview. he now works in
private medical consulting."

Daniel continues THERE WAS A POINT
WHERE I WAS WORKING
90 HOURS A WEEK.
AT TRILLIUM HOSPITAL
WORKING EVERY DAY MANY
NIGHTS A WEEK IN THE
EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.
SOME NURSES WILL ASK ME, SO,
YOU WERE A DOCTOR IN VENEZUELA?
AND I WILL SAY,
NO, I WASN'T, I AM... I AM A DOCTOR
BACK IN VENEZUELA.
AND JUST BECAUSE I'M HERE,
DOESN'T MEAN I'M NOT.
AND THAT'S THE OTHER DIFFICULT PART,
THAT YOUR ROLE IN AN
EMERGENCY SETTING HERE
IS NOT AS A DOCTOR, AND THEN
YOU HAVE TO FIGHT
WITH YOUR OWN - WITH
YOURSELF NOT TO BEHAVE
LIKE WHAT YOU REALLY ARE.
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE A WOUND
RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU
AND YOU WANT TO SUTURE THAT
WOUND AND YOU WANT TO,
YOU KNOW, JUST MOVE YOUR
HANDS... AND YOU CAN'T.
IT'S LIKE HAVING A COLD POP,
A COLD BEER RIGHT
IN FRONT OF YOU
AND YOU CANNOT EVEN DRINK IT.
IT'S NOT JUST ANOTHER CAREER,
THERE ARE MANY REWARDS
THAT YOU RECEIVE
AS A DOCTOR THAT ARE
NOT MONEY-WISE REWARDS.
IT'S JUST THE EXPRESSION OF A
PATIENT THAT LOOKS AT YOU,
THE GRATITUDE OF A
PATIENT THAT LOOKS AT YOU,
THE WAY THE PATIENT
IMPROVES AFTER YOU
INTERVENE IN HIS DISEASE.

(music plays)

A caption reads "Canadian Medical Graduates (C.M.G.) have an 86 percent
success rate of entering a specialty residency. International Medical Graduates
(I.M.G.) have a 21 percent success rate.
To enter family medicine in Ontario, the chances for an I.M.G. to enter a residency
are less than 2 percent."

Daniel continues WHAT WE WERE TOLD IS THAT
"CANADA NEEDS DOCTORS,
CANADA NEEDS DOCTORS,
CANADA NEEDS DOCTORS."
AND, IN FACT, CANADA
NEEDS DOCTORS BECAUSE
THERE'S MORE THAN
5 MILLION CANADIANS
WITHOUT A FAMILY DOCTOR.
THE WORD THAT I MISSED,
PROBABLY, I THINK...
I NEVER HEARD "CANADA NEEDS
"INTERNATIONAL" DOCTORS."
ALL THE MEDICAL
ASSOCIATIONS TELL YOU,
"WELL, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
TO DO THE RESEARCH
AS THE BEST YOU
CAN BEFORE YOU DECIDE.
THE WAY THE POSITIONS, THE
MEDICAL POSITIONS HERE
FOR INTERNATIONAL
DOCTORS ARE MARKETED,
ARE WAY TOO DIFFERENT
THAN WHAT THE REALITY IS.
WHEN WE ARRIVED, I REMEMBER
A FRIEND OF MINE TELLING ME
IT'S GOING TO TAKE YOU
TWO YEARS AND I SAID,
OH MAN, TWO YEARS.
WELL, IT'S BEEN NINE
YEARS AND HERE WE ARE...
I'M NOT LICENSED.
I'M JUST DOING SOMETHING
THAT I LIKE TO DO NOW
BUT IT'S CONSULTING IN MEDICINE.
IF YOU ARE COMING TO
CANADA, WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?
TO COME AND LIVE IN CANADA?
OR TO COME AND
PRACTICE IN CANADA?
BECAUSE THIS IS
TOTALLY DIFFERENT.
(Dramatic music plays)
SO, IF YOU WANT TO COME
TO LIVE IN CANADA, COME;
THE DOORS ARE OPEN FOR YOU.
BUT IF YOU WANT TO COME
AND PRACTICE TO CANADA?
OKAY, THE DOOR IS
OPEN THIS FAR, OKAY?

He separates the fingers of his two hands, showing a small opening. He appears
at the dinner table with his family.

Daniel continues JUST BECAUSE THE SYSTEM
NEEDS THE DOOR OPEN
TO LET KNOW THE PEOPLE
THAT THE DOOR IS OPEN.
SO THAT'S NOT A VERY GOOD
WELCOME FOR DOCTORS
THAT HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL
IN THEIR COUNTRY.
BEFORE I WAS A LITTLE
ANGRY OR A BIT MAD,
BAD FEELINGS ABOUT WHY
IF HE PASSED THE TEST
AND HE HAVE THE ENGLISH AND...
THEY NEEDED DOCTORS AND
WE HAVE A BIG SPANISH
COMMUNITY, WHY DON'T THEY
GIVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO?

Looking through an album from his student days, Daniel says I BELIEVE IN GOD A
LOT, AND IF I AM WHERE I AM
IT'S BECAUSE I WAS MEANT
TO BE WHERE I AM.

(music plays)

A caption reads "Since his arrival in Canada 9 years ago, Daniel has been
involved in healthcare through volunteer work.
He has not been able to work as a doctor again.

The end credits roll.

Produced by sisu production.

Thanks to Daniel Salas and his family.

Watch: I Am a Doctor