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Society-changing infections - parallels to the polio epidemic of 1927
Public

Poliomyelitis – a.k.a. “The Crippler” or “infantile paralysis” - is a viral disease that primarily, and quite harmlessly, infects the gastrointestinal system. But if the poliovirus survives and is able to enter the bloodstream and nervous system it can cause damage to motor neurons in the spinal cord that connect the brain to muscles. Such damage interferes with muscle control, causing weakness or paralysis.

Sign up to see the BC College of Physicians hearing on Dr. Charles Hoffe
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Dr. Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC – February 11, 2024.

Dr Charles Hoffe imageIf you are a doctor or a patient who is concerned about health care in BC, there are only a few days left to sign up to see the BC College of Physicians hearing on Dr. Charles Hoffe. This will be an opportunity to see how the College of Physicians disciplinary hearing works. Is the College sincere about seeking the truth and ensuring doctors provide proper medical care for the benefit of patients? Or is the College focused on control of doctors and to endorse government policies?

If you are interested in the online Zoom meeting, you may have to register by the end of this week, February 16, to ensure your opportunity to view the hearing from March 4 to 15, 2024. Instructions on how to register are provided below.

Are medical errors the third leading cause of death or disability and what can we do to protect ourselves?
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TEDx Stanley ParkDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - March 4, 2018

The TEDx Stanley Park event at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver on Saturday March 3, 2018 was incredible with 13 (a bakers dozen) memorable and inspiring speakers and 4 brief, fun energerizer programs to keep the audience engaged. Two of the presentations addressed medical errors.

With cancer as the leading cause of death and heart disease as the second leading cause, medical errors are referred to by some as the third leading cause of death and disability.

Whether errors are third or not, it makes sense that anything that helps to reduce or prevent medical errors is worth pursuing. Every error that can be prevented has direct benefit to individuals and their families.

Three Reasons for a Chat with Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and BC Premier David Eby
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - April 5, 2023

Trojan horse imageHaving worked for 40 years as a family physician in BC, when I heard the media announcements recently: that on April 3 vaccine mandates will be lifted on BC public service government workers but not on health care workers until it can become a permanent condition of work in health care, and that we may see only combined vaccines in the fall; it struck me that it’s time we had a real chat. This can’t wait.

Politics is often seen as a glamorous, shiny and sometimes slimy affair. But, seriously, politics is about how we make collective decisions and manage the affairs of our society in our democracy.

There are three things I believe we need to talk about now:

Has the BC Medical Association been stolen from the members?
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Doctors and members of the BC Medical Association (Doctors Of BC) are asking what is happening at the helm of the BCMA? Some are saying they think the new CEO Allan Seckel is not good for the Association and a sign that bad things are happening to the Association.

Who is Allan Seckel? How did he get to be the BCMA CEO? What is he doing as the CEO? And what is the BCMA Board doing?

Mistakes were made (but not by me): Cognitive dissonance
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Mistakes were made (but not by me): Why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions, and hurtful acts... a book co-authored by Elliot Aronson.

Psychiatrists specialize in the ails of individuals. Social psychologists specialize in the ails of groups. The eminent social psychologist Elliot Aronson was interviewed in a CBC audio "podcast" available from the following site:

http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/ideas_20080428_5430.mp3

It is an interesting program from the CBC radio “Ideas” on the subject of cognitive dissonance. It offers some insight into how people can so badly misinterpret things to fit their preconceived notions and prejudices and become incapable of accepting any other view.

The program runs about 50 minutes and I suspect if people even listen to just the first 12 minutes they might find it sufficiently compelling to listen to the rest. (The MP3 file can be imported into iTunes or other music manager or burned to CD.)

The Patient-Physician Covenant: An Affirmation of Asklepios from Annals of Internal Medicine
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Medicine is, at its center, a moral enterprise grounded in a covenant of trust. This covenant obliges physicians to be competent and to use their competence in the patient's best interests. Physicians, therefore, are both intellectually and morally obliged to act as advocates for the sick wherever their welfare is threatened and for their health at all times.

Today, this covenant of trust is significantly threatened.

Time to Re-invent the Canadian Medical Association
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Dr Chris Sedergreen - 29 April 2022

The humiliating defeat of the Canadian Medical Association in the Supreme Court of BC is about as clear a statement as it is possible to make that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is a failed entity, and that it’s present form should be dismantled forthwith.

‘Humiliating defeat’ you ask? Well, you could certainly be forgiven for not knowing about it, since the CMA, the CMA Journal, and the CMA web site have been deathly silent about it.

Don't get swept away by the spin on health care
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medical spin2016-08-22 Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

We better be careful not to get swept away by the spin of BC Liberals pre-election buzz.

And when it comes to the spin on health care they're not alone.

The same spin seems to be coming from the leaders of the medical association DoctorsOfBC. Is this the result of being co-managers of BC healthcare for almost a decade through the GPSC and other initiatives?

Is it any surprise they are all so complimenting of each other?

What are we to believe? That they have a plan? That it's going to work, someday, soon?

Yes, the plan to spend tax payer dollars is happening. Billions of dollars and hundreds of millions over budget. So where are the results?

Times-Colonist OpEd: Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers
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Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers, The Times Colonist.Please read the OpEd by a BC family doctor that while Health Minister Adrian Dix uses findings of the Cayton report to defend the rapid introduction of Bill 36, the HPOA, he refuses to comment on the contradictory content in the report and snubs the issues raised by the Doctors of BC.

Media depiction of Flu shot technique
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David Naismith (retired physician), Vernon BC, January 15, 2019.

On January 11th I was so disturbed by the portrayal of health professionals on TV, both in adverts and on the National, that I fired off an email to some colleagues. As usual, I learnt something as the thread progressed, so here is a distillate of that exchange.

The I Ching or Book Of Changes
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I Ching Wilhelm Baynes translation title page imageThe I Ching, or Book Of Changes, is an ancient Chinese book. While there are many translations, the German translation by Richard Wilhelm rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes (1950) has become a well respected classic. The book includes a foreword by CG Jung, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who has elsewhere described using the I Ching in his psychiatric practice from time to time. An electronic version of the text related to the hexagrams (the oracle), from the first part of the translation, can be viewed online or downloaded using the link below.

Rethinking the Internet: How We Lost Control and How To Take It Back
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Rethinking the Internet, scene of the debate.This is an interesting and thought provoking 1 hour video interview and debate. It begins with a 5 minute overview and then proceeds with an interview by moderator Bill Blakemore with Jaron Lanier, a long-time computer scientist and developer and the father of virtual reality, who is concerned about the use of behaviour modification "to engage and addict you to algorithmic exploration until we find whatever it is that will get you".

Following the interview there is a debate with four speakers; Tim Hwang, Meredith Whittaker, Aviv Ovadya, and Brett Frischmann. They touch on many aspects of not only the Internet but also power in organizations, how it's lost and who has it.

Understanding Generations X, Y, Z and more
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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the growing list of names for different generations; boomers, gen-X, millenials, zoomers and what follows? Here are a couple of links that may help.

Health issues for adults born with cerebral palsy
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What happens to children born with cerebral palsy when they become adults?

In one case an individual born with cerebral palsy when they were an adult in their early 30’s had progressive deterioration of function involving their affected upper limb.

The individual was reviewed by their orthopedic surgeon who suggested botox injections for spasms and possibly some cosmetic improvement to the upper extremity although not optimistic for functional improvement.

News Items

Sign up to see the BC College of Physicians hearing on Dr. Charles Hoffe
Public

Dr. Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC – February 11, 2024.

Dr Charles Hoffe imageIf you are a doctor or a patient who is concerned about health care in BC, there are only a few days left to sign up to see the BC College of Physicians hearing on Dr. Charles Hoffe. This will be an opportunity to see how the College of Physicians disciplinary hearing works. Is the College sincere about seeking the truth and ensuring doctors provide proper medical care for the benefit of patients? Or is the College focused on control of doctors and to endorse government policies?

If you are interested in the online Zoom meeting, you may have to register by the end of this week, February 16, to ensure your opportunity to view the hearing from March 4 to 15, 2024. Instructions on how to register are provided below.

Judicial Review of Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Orders begins in BC Supreme Court on Monday, November 20, 2023.
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Dr. Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 19, 2023.

Vancouver Law CourtsFinally, an opportunity for everyone to hear a BC Judicial Review of the ongoing orders of Dr. Bonnie Henry, Public Health Officer, and the BC Government that, since November 2021, have impacted the livelihood of thousands of health care workers in BC who are unvaccinated, prohibiting them from working in health care. BC and Nova Scotia are the only jurisdictions in the world that have not allowed unvaccinated health care workers to return to work. Orders and actions that have caused severe division even among health professionals and workers; where nurses, doctors, paramedics, porters and others are not sure who is safe to talk to if they disagree or think consent for vaccination is paramount.

Starting Monday, November 20, 2023, the BC Supreme Court will begin the Judicial Review of Dr Henry’s orders and the October 2023 amendment perpetuating them.

What loud bells will wake BC doctors and the public to the dangers of Bill 36, the HPOA?
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - November 6, 2023.

Image of the great bell ben.There is a sleeping sickness throughout our land. It has found its way into health care and affected all the doctors. It is not some esoteric thing happening in some small political arena or lawyers club. This impacts all of BC and all of us: the ability of doctors to practice medicine the way they were taught and trained, according to their conscience and oath for the benefit of patients.

The significance of Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act, is profound and the association, Doctors of BC, should be ringing alarm bells. Instead, they are subduing the importance of it, convincing all doctors to move on to the regulations, like lemmings over the cliff. Not only is this unhelpful to doctors, it is actually dangerous for doctors with their purpose and professional obligations to deliver health care to patients. Bells need to ring everywhere, and the association should be dissolved.

Documentary: Waiting To Die - Canada's Health Care Crisis
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 Waiting to Die - Canada's Health Care CrisisA new one hour documentary by Aaron Gunn, "Waiting To Die - Canada's Health Care Crisis" was released yesterday (August 14, 2023) and in less than one day had more than 23,000 views and more than 700 comments from people sharing their own experiences and thoughts.

Times-Colonist OpEd: Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers
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Dix needs to listen to healthcare providers, The Times Colonist.Please read the OpEd by a BC family doctor that while Health Minister Adrian Dix uses findings of the Cayton report to defend the rapid introduction of Bill 36, the HPOA, he refuses to comment on the contradictory content in the report and snubs the issues raised by the Doctors of BC.

More than 400 doctors attend Bill 36 HPOA Webinar by Doctors of BC
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - May 3, 2023.

How important is Bill 36, the new Health Professions and Occupations Act, to doctors, nurses, all health care professionals, and patients? Important enough that more than 400 doctors attended the Doctors of BC Townhall Webinar on Tuesday April 25 at 6:30 pm. This, in the middle of the week, while doctors are trying to finish work or balancing family and meal time. When was the last time you saw 400 doctors attend a meeting? We haven’t seen a number like that at the DOBC AGM for decades.

It was a very informative webinar organized by DOBC with over 100 questions from doctors to a panel of three Ministry of Health staff, as architects of Bill 36, followed by a panel of the DOBC: President, Dr. Josh Greggain; new CEO, Anthony Knight; staff lawyer, Deborah Viccars; and moderated by Marisa Adair, Director of Communications.

Three Reasons for a Chat with Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and BC Premier David Eby
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Dr. Zafar Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - April 5, 2023

Trojan horse imageHaving worked for 40 years as a family physician in BC, when I heard the media announcements recently: that on April 3 vaccine mandates will be lifted on BC public service government workers but not on health care workers until it can become a permanent condition of work in health care, and that we may see only combined vaccines in the fall; it struck me that it’s time we had a real chat. This can’t wait.

Politics is often seen as a glamorous, shiny and sometimes slimy affair. But, seriously, politics is about how we make collective decisions and manage the affairs of our society in our democracy.

There are three things I believe we need to talk about now:

BC's new Family Practice LFP model uptake at 45 percent, why are 55 percent still cautious?
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Vancouver, BC - March 7, 2023

According to the DoBC Newsflash:

Doctors of BC says more than 2,000 physicians have signed up for the Longitudinal Family Practice pay scheme in the five weeks since it took effect, representing about 45 per cent of longitudinal family doctors. “That gives me great hope, and I think our entire negotiating team and the Ministry of Health some real optimism that we got the model right, because people are joining,” Doctors of BC president Dr Josh Greggain told Global News on Monday.

"We got the model right." Is that correct? At least enough for bureaucrats to be happy and smiling, it gives "great hope to our entire negotiating team and the Ministry of Health". But, why are 55% of family doctors not so sure and staying with FFS, at least for now?

Provincial Health Ministries disregard for the five principles of the Canada Health Act
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In a farewell editorial published in the March 2023 issue of the BC Medical Journal, Dr Brian Day chronicles how the five principles of the Canada Health Act have been disregarded by provincial governments and health ministries across the country. Does this help us understand the sorry state of our medicare system as we see all the media attention related to the nationwide suffering of patients?

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