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Book Review: The Last Plane by Robert Hirzer
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This is a good book, a well written novel. It is the first book by the author, Robert Hirzer, a physician and GP whose practice was in the area served by the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, BC - the hospital where he interned and where he was on staff in the days when doctors not only worked in their offices but also cared for patients in hospital.

The novel, while it is a work of fiction, is a reflection following the death of his father on the lives of his family spanning four generations including his grandparents, his parents, his own generation with brief mention of his children. In one short chapter he describes a day in the life of a GP that rings true for many who practiced in days when full spectrum general practice was the norm. But, most of the novel is about the lives of his parents through their childhood in Austria into youth and young adulthood as the second world war consumed those years.

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?
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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?
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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.

2018 Doctors of BC President-Elect election debate
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2018-05-14 Vancouver, BC Dr Z. Essak, MD2018 DoBC President Elect Debate

A must see. The 2018 Annual Dr Jim Busser Memorial election debate was live video streamed on May 9 and can be viewed anytime through the Vancouver Medical Association website (link below).

Kudos to Dr Charles Webb for keeping alive the memory and spirit of Dr Jim Busser. Kudos also to the moderator Dr Arun Garg encouraging questions and kudos to the participants present and remote for asking questions.

Beyond the opening formalities it gets interesting as questions are asked on what more should we be doing for future physicians, the lack of access, what are the main problems, use of allied professionals and physician extenders.

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.

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.

Dr. McDonnell on the History of Medicine in BC
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This was included as part of another post on Doclounge.net but may be more useful as a separate post, especially for history buffs.

In particular the article attached, [6] McDonnell - Early medical legislation

The full series of 12 articles by Dr. McDonnell on the History of Medicine in BC may be of interest to readers and can be obtained from public library resources and other libraries:

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