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What's in the news: Nov. 4 -- Newfoundland's first H1N1 flu death, and more

H1N1 flu news
Newfoundland and Labrador saw its first H1N1-flu death over the weekend. [St John's Telegram] [Halifax Chronicle-Herald]

Ontario's health minister, Deb Matthews, was surprisingly blunt in blaming municipal planning in Toronto for the city's slow start to the vaccination campaign, calling the work "simply unacceptable." City officials, predictably, were displeased with her assessment. [Toronto Sun]

Several PEI schools are suffering H1N1 flu outbreaks, and nearly half of students are absent from class in one school. [Charlottetown Guardian]

Nova Scotia's government announced it will cover the cost of Tamiflu prescriptions for all residents, regardless of their private pharmaceutical insurance coverage. [Halifax Chronicle-Herald]

An immunization campaign is underway in Ontario prisons, where the H1N1 flu has already appeared, but only inmates are being vaccinated. Guards in an Etobicoke jail staged a brief strike in protest. [Toronto Sun]

The federal agency Public Safety Canada, which has a central role in coordinating the nation's pandemic response, is still not fully functional despite years of planning, Auditor General Sheila Fraser charged. [Canadian Press]

Relying on just one vaccine manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, to make all of the country's H1N1 flu vaccine is a decision that should be studied after this pandemic passes to determine whether it was the best course of action, federal health officials said. [Toronto Star]

Two women got into a fight on a New York City subway car when one accused the other of endangering others by not coughing into her hand. [Business Insider]

Clorox and other companies are making a (figurative) killing on products related to the H1N1 flu pandemic. [Globe and Mail]

The Canadian Medical Protective Association, which is the legal defense fund of the country's physicians, speculated that if the H1N1 flu pandemic worsens "retired physicians, physicians who are in Canada but are unlicensed, or even medical students may be called on in a prolonged and severe disaster." The CMPA noted that licensure matters could become an issue if that were to come to pass. [CMPA]

Canadian astronaut Dr Robert Thirsk, who returns from an extended stint on the International Space Station on December 1, discussed his concern about his vulnerability to the H1N1 flu on his return from space because astronauts are known to have depressed immune responses when they disembark. [Canadian Press]

H1N1-free news
On Tuesday, Quebec's College of Physicians endorsed limited legal euthanasia in some circumstances in a position statement titled "End-of-Life Care: Getting Around the Impasse." The statement said that the question should not be whether euthanasia is right or wrong, but rather whether end-of-life care being delivered is appropriate. "We have to get beyond the logic of current legislation," said College president Dr Yves Lamontagne. "We need to move toward an appropriate care logic and adapt the legislative framework accordingly so that it allows us to reassure patients, physicians and society that the care provided at the end of an individual's life will be as appropriate as possible." [College des médecins news release] "There do exist certain exceptional situations where euthanasia could be considered by the patient and their physician to be an ultimate and necessary step in assuring the patient receives appropriate and quality care to the very end," said Dr Lamontagne. [Toronto Star]

Dr Susan Burlacoff, a Toronto MD who billed $65,000 for treatments she never provided to members of her own family, was cleared of criminal charges of billing fraud by reason of mental illness. Medical experts testified that Dr Burlacoff's psychosis caused her to believe 2,700 insurance claims over a five-year period for visits that never occurred, were valid. She remains in practice. [Toronto Star]

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  1. sharon4 November, 2009 8:48 AM

    A. For those who are actually trying to "do" something

    So much of what is written here profiles the dilemma we face when "we are right about almost everything......but wrong in one point."

    As we all know...that one point can erase much good.

    What will be noticed most in the informative Sun news article about vaccination rights...the overlooked pregnant worker?....or the fact that "officers" were called "guards"( adding insult to injury)?

    In times of fear small offences become gigantic enough to overshadow the good.

    However... if we feel we have no effective alternative...we will forge ahead with whatever we are holding onto as our security.

    In this article we have an example of how a "determined stance" can impact all of humanity over a very long period of time:

    B. For those who just plan..and plan...and do something

    I guess Will Rogers was right when he said :

    " even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there"

  2. sharon4 November, 2009 9:03 AM

    RE: An appropriate "care logic" for euthanasia

    This requires a real life story:

    Mrs.N was an elderly woman drifting in and out of a comatose state in her last days of life.
    She was checked on at intervals and medically supported.
    At one extremely dramatic point she opened her eyes while I was at her bedside, looked somewhat frantic , and pointed to the window.. "there, there, can you see's the light of the world!"

    I apologised for the reality that I could not see Him.

    She remained awestruck for a few more seconds, then quietly left this world.

    I would not have denied her that moment in her life for anything...not by falsely prolonging it...nor by falsely shortening it....

    There are some things about "life" where we must admit.... " we cannot see".....

  3. giay nam21 March, 2012 11:32 PM

    Health officials in central Newfoundland say a woman has died after contracting swine flu. The province’s Central Health authority says the 36-year-old woman died Saturday from “complications of an H1N1 infection.”
    The patient had an underlying medical condition. Officials say further information will not be released out of respect for the woman’s family and patient confidentiality.