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What's in the news: Oct. 30 -- Some MPs decline the H1N1 flu vaccine

Some MPs decline the H1N1 flu vaccine
The Hill Times has compiled a list of Members of Parliament who have stated they will not receive the H1N1 flu vaccine: "NDP MP Denis Bevington, Conservative MP Terence Young [the author of the 2007 book Death by Prescription: A Father Takes on His Daughter's Killer], NDP MP Don Davies, Conservative MP Brian Jean."

Mr Davies told the newspaper, "I've never had a flu shot in my life. I'm 46 and I've never had any difficulties. In my time I've seen five separate pandemic scares that have come from legionnaires' disease in the 1970s, to other swine flues, and I generally think that they tend to be overstated, the fears."

"I'm still thinking about whether or not this is a good thing for me," said NDPer Carol Hughes, a member of the Standing Committee on Health. [The Hill Times]

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has also said he will not be getting the shot. [CBC News: Inside Politics blog]

It's obviously a matter of personal choice, and I don't think anyone would suggest that MPs should be required to receive flu shots, but maybe they should keep quiet about it if they're not going be immunized, especially at a time when public health officials are trying to convince Canadians the shot is safe and important?

More H1N1 flu news
Staff and patients have been infected by an outbreak of the H1N1 flu at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto [CBC News] as well as Bridgepoint Hospital. [Globe and Mail] The flu has also hit McGill University's residences. [CBC News]

The Canadian Medical Association is pleading with business owners to follow the government's lead by not asking employees to get sick notes from their doctors to demonstrate that they're unfit to come in to the office. [CMA news release]

mdBriefCase is offering an online CME course for Canadian doctors on the H1N1 flu. [mdBriefCase news release]

Another new online course for health workers, this one offered by Mount Sinai Hospital psychiatrists and nurses, called the Pandemic Influenza Stress Vaccine, instructs on how to manage the anxiety brought on by this wild and crazy flu season. [Pandemic Influenza Stress Vaccine course] [CBC News]

A Nova Scotia doctor who is obviously taking the H1N1 flu more seriously than some of our esteemed Members of Parliament, told an entire family to quarantine themselves. [Halifax Chronicle-Herald]

Did Quebec receive its fair share of H1N1 flu vaccines? The PQ, despite the Liberal health minister's claims otherwise, says no. [La Presse]

Experts from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommend the seasonal flu shot still be given to at-risk patients. [Canada Communicable Disease Report, Public Health Agency of Canada]

A Maclean's reporter tracked down a teenager who drinks alcohol-based hand sanitizing gel to get drunk. "The best way to drink hand sanitizer is straight, like whisky, and down it 'like a shot,' explains Tyler, a Grade 10 student who lives in Toronto. Undiluted, the alcohol-based liquid tastes a little like 'vodka and bug spray,' he adds." [Maclean's]

PEI's health minister is annoyed that the College of Family Physicians of Canada scheduled its annual conference during the beginning of the H1N1 flu's arrival this fall because 25 Islander doctors have headed off to Alberta to take part, leaving the province severely depleted of physicians. [Charlottetown Guardian]

And now for the portion of this missive reserved for non-H1N1-flu-related news...
The Canadian Paediatric Society is likely to recommend kids under the age of two not watch television at all, mimicking the American recommendations that have been in place for years. [Ottawa Citizen]

A Q&A with BCMA president Dr Brian Brodie appears in the current issue of the BC Medical Journal. The cover of the current issue has a photo of Dr Brodie astride a horse, in front of a bunch of sheep. He describes a typical day, which involves feeding his poultry and livestock before going to the hospital, and he says, "I'm not interested in wealth —- in fact everything I've read says inherited wealth isn’t good. So the goal is not to leave my kids money or to leave that kind of a legacy. I'd like to give the money away to help others who haven’t had opportunities." [BC Medical Journal] Vancouver Sun health reporter Pamela Fayerman notes that Dr Brodie earned a whopping $529,491 from his family practice alone in the last year for which statistics are available -- "perhaps the highest figure I've ever seen for a family doctor," writes Ms Fayerman. And that doesn't include his farming and real-estate ventures. [Vancouver Sun, Medicine Matters blog]

The College of Family Physicians of Canada named its family physicians of the year for 2009. [CFPC news release (PDF)]

Air Canada has applied for judicial review in the case of Henry Coopersmith. Listen to CBC Radio's Dr Brian Goldman discuss the case on the "White Coat, Black Art" episode originally broadcast on October 17. [CBC Radio's "White Coat, Black Art"] Read more about the case on Canadian Medicine.

Six out of ten provinces saw wait times drop over the past year, according to a new Fraser Institute report. [Fraser Institute news release] [Waiting Your Turn report (PDF)]

Toronto sports medicine specialist Dr Tony Galea had his office raided by the RCMP and is now charged with importing and selling illegal drugs. Dr Galea said the charges stem from a misunderstanding about his use of unlicensed homeopathic medications from Germany that he gives to athletes only with their informed permission. [Globe and Mail]

There's talk that outspoken Quebec MNA and ADQ health critic Eric Caire may leave the party after not being offered the position he wanted following his incredibly close loss in the party's leadership race. [La Presse]

Image: McNally Robinson

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  1. sharon31 October, 2009 9:56 AM

    RE: the physician story on the aircraft

    After listening to his own recounting on the White Coat:Black Art key thing became obvious.

    The central person having the panic attack was the "stewardess" who was shaking and demanding the doctor go to attend a patient ....who was already being attended by another physician about to administer a Valium injection ( a ?common practice with panic attacks).

    There should be a second billing for attendance to the stewardess.

  2. Anonymous1 November, 2009 12:45 AM

    NOW THE AMERICA PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ARE GOING TO BE SUED FOR LAYING ABOUT H1N1 flu, swine flu - faulty science busted..the most vulnerable in our society are under attack pregnant women, the elderly and children ( why are Canadian Politicians laying to Canadians.. the truth is out now!
    Help you seem reasonable what is the truth about all this vaccinations are we being duped in broad daylight- after watch this press conference I believe so.. How can we as human beings be so clueless??

  3. jack @ Order Carisoprodol Online3 November, 2009 5:57 AM

    That is an interesting blog .Thanks for sharing such a great information with us.