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IN THE NEWS: 20 doctors quit to protest Quebec uranium mine

20 doctors resign en masse over Sept-Îles uranium mine
A long-simmering dispute in Sept-Îles, Quebec, finally came to a head late last week when twenty physicians announced they will leave the region in protest against the provincial government's approval of nearby exploration for uranium mining they fear will pose a health hazard. Several have decided to leave the province altogether, and they warn that more may leave as well. [Presse Canadienne]

In their letter to the minister of health, Dr Yves Bolduc, dated Thursday, Dec. 3, the physicians wrote, "We regret the effect that this mass exodus will have on the population and the remaining medical staff but we believe it to be contrary to our code of ethics to not warn the authorities." Les Affaires published the full letter. [Les Affaires]

Sept-Îles is a city of just 28,000 people, so the loss of at least 20 doctors -- of whom four are psychiatrists, eight are family physicians and the rest are specialists -- is a major, major blow.

Serge Simard, the minister responsible for mines, said the uranium-extracting project would not be given the go-ahead without the permission of the community. [La Presse]

Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir, a Montreal physician, called the government's decision to let the mine development continue at the expense of losing 20 physicians "a pitiable example of the great power of the mining industry." [Québec solidaire news release]

UBC med student awarded Rhodes Scholarship
Jaspreet Khangura, fourth-year med student, will do an MSc in Global Health at Oxford. "Khangura's keen interest in social justice issues has inspired her to remain committed to volunteer work and community development projects both locally and globally." She's done aid work in Asia and in Vancouver's downtown eastside. [UBC news release]

H.M.'s famous brain to be preserved
The brain of H.M., the man whose inability to form new memories made him one of the most important neurology case studies in history, is being dissected and digitally mapped. Important work on H.M.'s case was carried out by researchers around the world, including some at the Montreal Neurological Institute. [New York Times]

Watch your fingers
A New York radiologist invented a safer bagel-cutting device. [Wall Street Journal]

Sound advice on Facebook
British doctors are warned not to chat -- and especially not to flirt -- with their patients via Facebook. [Medical Defence Union news release]

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  1. sharon8 December, 2009 12:17 AM

    RE: the "ethics"

    I wonder how the doctors, the government , the community, the mining companies define that.

    Some might push the economics perspective ( jobs, etc) ,others may profile the medical need for the mining by-products in the face of a ?world ?shortage

    As soon as you stop laughing........

    Check out the plunge in property values in New Brunswick near mining exploration sites....

    ...sometimes it is really hard to find the pulse, isn't it :(

  2. sharon8 December, 2009 12:24 AM

    RE: famous brains to study

    how serendipitous is this?

    I also wonder how many "religious' experiences are really extremely heightened "right brain" activity.
    [ I guess that is why God asks us to look for proof in the " doing".... not just the " talking" ;) ]

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