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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.

Lessons from Enron, for our system (and our profession)?
Public

Jim TurleyLast week, Jim Turley, Chief Executive Officer of Ernst & Young, was asked by Charlie Rose:

What are the lessons of Enron, and how did it happen?

His reply:

Well, look, I think that, at the end of the day, you know, the profession wasn't as focused on the delivery of quality as we needed to be, back in the 90s and leading up the the Enron era, and so what happened after was really important.

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.)

Rick Mercer's 2013 Rant - Scientists Muzzled Again
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Rick Mercer Rant Scientists Muzzled Again

This is one of my favorite Rick's Rants. In less than 2 minutes he lays it all out. Beginning with the problem for scientists then in the middle he turns it up a notch, "Get over yourselves. It's not like scientists are the only ones being told to shut up. No, it's everyone." Then after some fine examples he ends with a polite, "Thank you for not talking." A great entertaining and thought provoking rant.

Health Records and Privacy (Humour?)
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If you haven't already seen this, here is a somewhat humorous piece from the American Civil Liberties Union

http://www.aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf

You can also check out their home page for other interesting news stories,

http://www.aclu.org

Celebrating and helping caregivers
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Patti and SherriDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - February 16, 2018

According to Statistics Canada there are eight million caregivers in Canada. Most are unpaid, regular people who are taking care of aging and ailing parents, children with disabilities, and friends who need them. Caregivers get little or no attention, despite their massive numbers.

Some caregivers find inspiration and friendship from those they care for and some find themselves with personal challenges through caring for others. Healthcare providers may experience the same themselves and see this in those they serve.

Sharing caregivers' stories may help others find inspiration or recognize the impact on themselves and what they might be able to do.

What are ethics and why are they important?
Public

PM Justin Trudeau, politics and tech giants.2019-03-12 Dr Z.Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Ethics are a big part of our lives as principles that govern our actions. Doctors take an oath to serve the patient's interest and not their own or that of others.

We expect ethical actions of people involved with our daily lives: teachers, accountants, professionals, merchants and others. It is the basis of the trust we have in them. We depend on them as people with privilege and power over ourselves, children and others.

It's not just ethics in medicine and health: it's ethics in politics, in technology, in corporations and the list goes on. People are growing more concerned about the decline of ethical leadership in politics and also business tech giants like Facebook, Google and others.

What happens when an individual's actions run contrary to ethical principles?

The late Dr Morris VanAndel, a well-respected GP and subsequent Registrar of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, reminded doctors in 2002 this way: "An ethical principle, by nature, is not modified by circumstances, regardless of the validity or justification of the reasons leading to the action."

Media depiction of Flu shot technique
Public

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.

Don’t FIPPA your PIPA without knowing this when it comes to personal health information.
Public

Vancouver, BC – May 3, 2010

Stethoscope and keyboardWhen it comes to the privacy of personal health information everyone in British Columbia needs to know how FIPPA (also known as FOIPPA) is different from PIPA, and the same may apply in other jurisdictions across Canada and elsewhere.

This is of particular importance when information is shared between your doctor's private office and a hospital or clinic operated by the Health Authority which is a public body.

In BC, three different legislative Acts govern the privacy and protection of individual personal health information.  There are some very important differences in how these work and the results they have that should be known to all doctors, health providers and patients/clients.

Will we see changes to copyright laws in Canada?
Public

2019-06-21 Vancouver, BC

Canadian copyright laws were updated in 2012. Now, this year, there have been two Canadian Parliamentary committees reporting and providing recommendations on changes to copyright laws in Canada.

With an election looming for later this year is this an opportunity for individuals and organizations affected to speak to candidates running for federal election? Will we see any changes to the copyright laws in the near future?

Internet search activity as measures of human health trends
Public

With millions of searches done on the Internet every day it is no surprise that search engine giants like Google are exploring many applications of the search activity data.

One interesting application of Internet search activity data is Google Flu Trends that while providing graphs of results from New Zealand, Australia and the United States, says of itself:

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.

Has the BC Medical Association been stolen from the members?
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Doctors and members of the BC Medical Association 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?

Federal Government seeks intervenor status in B.C. health care court case
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Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver - April 26, 2016.

Below is a link to the Globe and Mail article from April 13, 2016.

Hopefully, the debate around the court case, involving Dr. Brian Day's private Cambie Surgery Centre and the BC Provincial Government with a trial scheduled to begin June 6, will not become polarized with views of exclusivity between public and private health care but instead what we could and should do to make public health care more effective so that escape valves, like private care, are less needed without eradicating access to private care by individuals should they need it.

How far do individuals have to go? If the public system delivers the needed service great. If not, is there private care here at home in Canada or do people have to go to other countries?

are you sure you want to drive this car ?
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You are done driving your bicycle, as you have successfully completed your race car driving school.

You decide that it is time to buy a car and put your training to use, driving people around, to feed your family, pay your student loans, mortgage etc …

You go to the only car dealerships available, all state owned dealerships, and you have no choice as they have a state sanctioned monopoly.

News Items

The Future of Psychiatry?
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Dr. Chris Sedergreen.

A highly respected psychiatrist has recently sent a letter to her patients announcing her decision not to return to clinical practice. I've known her professionally for over 15 years and can attest that her departure will leave a gap in her patient's lives that will be almost impossible to fill.

Will we see changes to copyright laws in Canada?
Public

2019-06-21 Vancouver, BC

Canadian copyright laws were updated in 2012. Now, this year, there have been two Canadian Parliamentary committees reporting and providing recommendations on changes to copyright laws in Canada.

With an election looming for later this year is this an opportunity for individuals and organizations affected to speak to candidates running for federal election? Will we see any changes to the copyright laws in the near future?

What are ethics and why are they important?
Public

PM Justin Trudeau, politics and tech giants.2019-03-12 Dr Z.Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC

Ethics are a big part of our lives as principles that govern our actions. Doctors take an oath to serve the patient's interest and not their own or that of others.

We expect ethical actions of people involved with our daily lives: teachers, accountants, professionals, merchants and others. It is the basis of the trust we have in them. We depend on them as people with privilege and power over ourselves, children and others.

It's not just ethics in medicine and health: it's ethics in politics, in technology, in corporations and the list goes on. People are growing more concerned about the decline of ethical leadership in politics and also business tech giants like Facebook, Google and others.

What happens when an individual's actions run contrary to ethical principles?

The late Dr Morris VanAndel, a well-respected GP and subsequent Registrar of the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons, reminded doctors in 2002 this way: "An ethical principle, by nature, is not modified by circumstances, regardless of the validity or justification of the reasons leading to the action."

Media depiction of Flu shot technique
Public

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.

"Cracked Science" light-hearted in-depth science for everyone
Public

The youtube channel "Cracked Science" with Jonathan Jerry provides some good humour and scientific knowledge in ten minute episodes to bring you up to speed and get you thinking.

Take a look at CRISPR is a Puppy and learn how gene therapy may be applied to human diseases.

Another episode helps to debunk the media hype on the discovery of a new human organ - "the Interstitium, the largest organ we never knew we had", Does a New Organ Explain Acupuncture? While some of this is opinionated to the reporter's own views on acupuncture, the evidence of the Interstitium is a good reminder of what we already know.

Are medical errors the third leading cause of death or disability and what can we do to protect ourselves?
Public

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.

Celebrating and helping caregivers
Public

Patti and SherriDr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver BC - February 16, 2018

According to Statistics Canada there are eight million caregivers in Canada. Most are unpaid, regular people who are taking care of aging and ailing parents, children with disabilities, and friends who need them. Caregivers get little or no attention, despite their massive numbers.

Some caregivers find inspiration and friendship from those they care for and some find themselves with personal challenges through caring for others. Healthcare providers may experience the same themselves and see this in those they serve.

Sharing caregivers' stories may help others find inspiration or recognize the impact on themselves and what they might be able to do.

Will the new BC Societies Act transition be a train wreck?
Public

Dr Z. Essak, MD - Vancouver, BC - February 13, 2017.

Train wreckNo one can deny the importance of BC societies to communities large and small throughout the province, assisting all kinds of people as charitable and not for profit societies, including associations that represent occupations and professions.

What can we learn from the early example of transition by the Doctors of BC, the BC Medical Association, formerly a Reporting Society, declaring themselves to be a member-funded society and escaping public disclosure. Do they even meet the required criteria?

When we ask, it may come as a shock to learn the BC Registry is not confirming compliance requirements are met. Is the BC Government failing to provide proper leadership and oversight to the tasks of government?

Is the public trust being neglected? Will there be havoc on public interest and individual rights? Are we going to see a train wreck?

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