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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?

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.

Why do Ontario docs rock on a different day?
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I'm always happy to receive wishes to have a good day.

Today, I was surprised by a designated doctor's day on May 1 in Ontario. Complete with kids coloring page, "My doc rocks because ..."

This is new to me. I've never celebrated doctor's day or known anyone who has.

On looking a little further I found that March 30 is touted as a national doctors day,

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

Highlights of the BC OSCAR-EMR Users Group Meeting
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Vancouver, BC - April 27, 2010

Oscar EMRThe two-day meeting held on April 19-20, 2010 in Vancouver was very well attended with over 150 people including physicians, office staff and system providers and integrators.  There was a buzz of excitement throughout the two days of meetings and many “ah-ha” moments amongst those attending.

Here are three highlights from the meeting, not in any particular order: the OSCAR-CAISI integration, the MyDrugRef physician social network for sharing prescribing tips that are also displayed in the new OSCAR prescription module, and the MyOscar personal controlled health record for patients to receive and even provide medical chart information as participants in their own health care with their physician and health team.

Requirements to be Deputy Registrar at College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSBC) – Is something different?
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Z. Essak, MD – Vancouver, BC – 2015 Apr 23

medical regulation shield imageThe College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC is looking to hire a new Deputy Registrar with the deadline for applications of April 30, 2015 fast approaching.

Is there something different about the experience required in this job posting – “a career opportunity in medical regulation”?

The proven experience and qualifications all candidates should have begins with, "minimum 10 years of senior administrative experience in a complex health-related organization (e.g. regulator, health authority, association, etc.)"

Also the requirements, while including "medical degree preferred", are open to others with "master of business/health administration or law degree also accepted".

Is this a sign of changes or a shift underway at the College (CPSBC)?

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.

Dr Karpiak on Bill Good CKNW - Bureaucracy in health care is not sustainable
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Dr Dennis Karpiak, Internist and former BCMA Board Director from the Interior of BC speaking on the Bill Good Show CKNW radio 980 on July 10, 2012.

"It's become increasingly more difficult to sustain a practice in this province."

"The BCMA 20 years ago formed the Regionalization committee that predicted the rise of bureaucracy and a decline in patient care funding."

"Currently you can walk through any hospital and you'll see more administration offices than patient rooms."

Listen to the whole interview.

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

US launches new MyPlate icon as reminder for healthier food choices
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MyPlate IconOn June 2, 2011 US First Lady Michelle Obama and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled the federal government's new food icon, MyPlate.  MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to make healthier food choices and to seek more information by going to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

“This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “It’s tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to take a look at our plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

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?

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.

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.

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

Telehealth, what does it mean?
Public

Telehealth collageWith tongue in cheek some might say it was about time we made more use of the tech we've got and now here we are all using telehealth. What does it mean? What does it look like? How does it work?

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.

Acupressure Eye Exercises Chinese School Children
Public

Acupressure eye exercisesThis is a poster used in chinese schools for students to do acupressure eye exercises. It was received by a Canadian in the early days of the opening of relations between Canada and China who later gave it to me and we posted it in our office. It might be of interest to others.

 

 

The Future of Psychiatry?
Public

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
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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.

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

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