A Sunny Saturday

Today is Saturday Sep 16, 2017 around noon.  It is a beautiful sunny day with temperatures around 24 C ( 75 F).  Great day to be out, and to make most of it.  I would like to send a quick thank you to all the hard working Respiratory Therapists, Nurses, Healthcare Professionals, Police Officers, Firefighters and other essential personnel who are at work right now.


Farzad Raffi Refahi


Larry King and Lung Health

Larry King is an ex-smoker who had an early detection because of his routine check up.
H was “diagnosed with stage 1 Adenocarcinoma, the most common type of lung cancer, through a routine chest examination.” – Reported byCNN (Lisa R France Sep14, 2017)

This is a good reminder to motivate your patients to attend their annual checks ups and appointments.  

Let’s aim :To monitor, to have an early detection, to offer more treatment options, and to provided have a better patient care.

For more details check out CNN’s article at https://hubs.ly/H08FhrS0

Farzad ‘Raffi’ Refahi

Sep 15, 2017


Independent PFT lab

Lessons learned from Universal Pulmonary Function Lab.

I began working at Universal Pulmonary Function Lab slightly more than 2 years ago.  The lab was without a technician or RT for weeks before I was hired (to work as once a week [sole] operator.  The learning came from the challenges of working without having a prior training to their equipment, protocols and patient flow.  Here are my top learnings from that experience:

1.    Becoming resourceful.
Regardless of the amount of training you receive at the beginning of your job, the RT/Technician/Operator has no option than to quickly seek and utilize resources.  I stayed in touch with the amazing lead respirologists, Dr. A. Born.  I sought the advice of my PFT mentor Mr. Bernie Ho.  I discussed my issues with colleagues at the other PFT lab I was working at the time (Ms. Sylvia).  I accessed printed manual for the equipment and the online guidelines at ATS/CTC/ERS websites.   When put in situations like this, we have our school notes, textbook, previous instructors/preceptors, online guidelines, conferences and forums.   I am proud to say that under the supervision of Dr. A. Born, this lab holds and operates at a very high standard.

2.    The power of Body Language
Toronto is a great city painted with multiculturalism.  On regular basis, I would have elder individuals who could not understand English.  The ability to simplify and summarize instructions and to deliver it verbally, vocally and through body language is a useful skill I had to develop.   While PFT involves many small steps with many technical aspects, learn to simplify it for your patients.  It will require more attention and care but your patients will notice your effort and will appreciate it! It is all about patient-focused care after all.

3.    Independence
As a sole operator of a lab, there is only the RT/Tech, the patient and the secretary.  Doing PFTs in hospitals includes a variety of healthcare providers who you rely on or call on, if needed.   Monitor your patients throughout the test.  Some patient are not good evaluators of their symptoms.  Identify early signs of fatigue, dyspnea and vertigo.  Be aware and be prepared.

I leave this independent lab knowing that my replacement is also a dedicated and driven individual who will look at the lab and the patients.

Farzad Raffi Refahi RRT


Marijuana sale in Ontario

“The Ontario government has announced a framework to manage the sale and use of marijuana…”- CBC News

I am posting this not to support nor to oppose this topic but to simply share the latest developments. Soon, it may be easier or more acceptaple to ask about patients’ cannabis use along with the [tobacco] smoking history.  

For the full news article please visit: http://www.cbc.ca/1.4280484



Presenting At CSRT

In 2016, I gave a talk at the annual Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, CSRT, Conference.   At that time I was working six days a week, running a blog, and was trying my best to prepare for the presentation.  I was excited, nervous and driven.  My presentation was far from perfect, however, I learned a lot in the process and from the self-reflection after it was completed.

Here are my top three pieces of advice for first time presenters at CSRT:

  1. Quality.
    Know more about the topic than most people in the room. Do your research but don’t invest all your time on the research component.  There will always be individuals who would know more about the topic than you would, however gather enough information so your talk would be beneficial to most people in the room.  Presenting at CSRT requires quality and professionalism.  Do your research, deliver the quality, but don’t spend the whole time sharing your research.
  2. Keep It Simple.
    Collect all the relevant information, process it and present it in few key points.  A 45 minutes long talk is a short time to discuss all your findings.  It is best to summarize or select only 3 to 5 key ideas/points, and then focus on the delivery of those points.  Keep it simple.  Present the key points without relying too much on technology.  There seems to be always some technical issue during talks (happened during mine).
  3. Practice… Practice… Practice.
    Get to know your material. I would encourage practicing enough to memorize. Practice in front of friends and individuals in the field.   Use the feedback from the practice runs and modify your presentation until it is smooth and simple while delivering the main ideas.  I videotaped my practice runs so I would identify areas that required more attention.  Don’t be afraid to connect with your audience. Get to the room that your will be presenting early or during breaks. Stand where you will be presenting, look around and get to know the room.  During your presentation don’t forget to breathe.

  Here is the link to CSRT’s  Call For Presenter’s page: 


Good luck!

Farzad ‘Raffi’ Refahi HBSc RRT CRE