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What's in the news: Oct. 1 -- Gay man takes on blood-donor ban

Gay man takes on blood-donor ban
A gay blood donor has begun a major and potentially majorly consequential legal battle with Canadian Blood Services over their prohibition on male homosexual donations. CBS is suing Kyle Freeman of Thornhill, Ontario, for lying about his status as an eligible donor and for donating blood in violation of its rules, and Mr Freeman is suing CBS, alleging their policy banning gay men from being donors is a violation of his Charter rights.

Unpublished data dictate Canadian flu-vaccine policy
Most provinces are now suspending their seasonal-flu vaccination programs after word circulated of several as-yet-unpublished Canadian studies that reportedly found the seasonal vaccine raises the risk of contracting the pandemic H1N1 strain. Only New Brunswick has committed to distributing seasonal vaccine, reported The Globe and Mail. [Globe and Mail]

Military considers requiring H1N1-flu vaccine
The Canadian Forces is worried about the legality of mandating the H1N1-flu vaccine for its soldiers. [CTV News]

OMA lobbies against pharmacists prescribing
At a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, the Ontario Medical Association issued a salvo in its push back against the Ontario government's proposal to permit pharmacists to prescribe some drugs and renew some scripts. "The number one priority for Ontario's doctors throughout this entire process has been and remains patient safety because the level and quality of care that a doctor can provide should not be substituted for expediency," President-elect Dr Mark MacLeod said in a release. [OMA news release]

Report cards are in
The Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada 10th out of 16 developed countries on its healthcare systems, giving it a 'B' grade. The United States ranked 16th, with a 'D.' [Conference Board of Canada report]

Asklepios hits 3,000 members
The Canadian Medical Association's online social network has 3,000 members a little over one year after its launch.

Drugs bought online kill drug researcher
A Canadian neurobiology post-doc working in Maryland is to face criminal charges after his girlfriend died from a buprenorphine overdose as a result of recreational use of what may have been tainted drugs that were acquired from overseas via the internet.

What's in the news: Sep. 28 -- Who gets treated first in a pandemic?


Who goes first?
Hamilton Health Sciences announces Canada's first priority-treatment plan for the H1N1 flu pandemic. According to The Spectator, the priority list is as follows:

1. Health-care workers and other essential services such as firefighters and police officers because they have the skills to save others once they're better.

2. Those who caught the flu at work, particularly essential service workers, because they put themselves at risk to save others.

3. Caregivers of children, disabled adults or the elderly to minimize societal disruption.

4. Young people because they haven't had a chance to live their lives yet.

5. Those most likely to survive that particular strain of flu.
An HIV vaccine or another dashed hope?
Thai researchers announced encouraging results from a set of HIV-vaccine trials. The combo-vaccine that was being tested proved effective in 31% of patients, and many experts were cautious in expressing optimism about the first-ever positive results in an HIV-vaccine trial. [Globe and Mail]

No flu shots until puzzle resolved
Ontario health officials said they would delay distributing regular flu shots because as-yet-unpublished research has indicated that the regular flu shot may raise the risk of contracting the H1N1 flu. [CTV News]

NB finally fills trauma chief job
The province of New Brunswick has hired Dr Marcel Martin, a surgeon from Sherbrooke, Quebec, to run its trauma-care system, after an interminably long period in which no progress was made on trying to hire someone for the job.

Alberta political shakeup to come?
The right-wing Wildrose Alliance party could pick up as many as 10 Progressive Conservative defectors if leadership candidate Danielle Smith wins the primary election, the Edmonton Journal's Trish Audette reported. That would dramatically alter the provincial political scene, which has been dominated by the Tories since the Mesozoic Era or thereabouts. And as complaints about the size and nature of government spending on healthcare continue to plague the Stelmach government from the left, the right and the centre, it seems fair to say that the province's divisive health reform being ushered in by Health Minister Ron Liepert may be playing a big part in voters' disillusionment with the Conservatives. Then again, maybe it's just that oil and gas tax revenues are down. When the price of oil rises again, voters may forget their complaints about the Tories' management.

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