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Tell me your story: Michelle Johnston at DFTB18


This talk was recorded live at DFTB18 in Melbourne, Australia. With the theme of ‘Science and Story’ we pushed our speakers to step out of their comfort zones and consider why we do what we do. Caring for children is not just about acquiring the scientific knowhow but also about taking a look beyond a diagnosis or clinical conundrum at the patient and their families. Tickets for DFT19, which will be held in London, UK, are now on sale from

Michelle Johnston is a part-time emergency physician, and full-time observer of life. Having spent many a day as a bit part player in the narrative of her patients lives she took a risk and wrote a book – Dustfall.

Dustfall tells a story of lives laid bare by medical error, of lives ruined and remade amidst the backdrop of the scorched earth of Western Australia. But this talk isn’t about her novel, it is about the importance of stories, the ones we tell and the ones our patients tell us.


You can get a copy of Dustfall in all good book shops or order one from the publishers, here. And if you want to stop for a while and take a closer look at life then subscribe to her blog.

And here is what Grace Leo thought…



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Selected references

Wakefield AJ, Murch ST, Anthony A, Linnell, Casson DR, Malik M, et al. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children [retracted]. Lancet 1998;351:637-41.


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