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Canadian doctors pitch in to tend to Haiti

Are you a physician who wants to volunteer? Find out more about medical aid volunteer opportunties in Haiti and elsewhere in the "" section on the Doctor's Review magazine website.

In addition to the important, high-profile contributions by Canadian physicians and staff working in Haiti with the Canadian Forces and major aid organizations like Médecins sans frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and the Red Cross, there have been other, less-heralded efforts by Canadian physicians.

Soon after the devastating earthquake hit, Health Partners International of Canada solicited pharmaceutical companies to donate medicine for 100 Physician Travel Packs to help doctors treat patients in Haiti. Many more shipments of drugs have been shipped since, including several sent along with a team of Haitian-Canadian doctors who left Montreal last Thursday to go help.

Dr Tiffany Keenan, an emergency physician from Miramichi, New Brunswick who now lives in Bermuda, arrived in Jacmel, Haiti, last Wednesday to provide medical care and distribute humanitarian aid on behalf of the NGO she founded, Haiti Village Health. Soon after her arrival, she posted an update on her blog.

"The epicenter of the earthquake hit Grand Goave and Petit goave not much more than 20 miles from here. We had a medical team of EMTs out there today and they witnessed devastation. 4 people in need of amputations, one amputation in the field with a saw and no anesthetic, a field of 1500 people awaiting health care. we are trying to arrange flights into there tomorrow. We have told the Canadians about the situation, but their present mandate is to set up the field hospital in jacmel. We are hoping to reach the area tomorrow by private aircraft My new best fried Jonathan is willing to fly just about anywhere with his small cesna. He did a recon mission today but was unable to land. They advised the people to clear the airstrip with machetes to cut down some trees. We are hoping it will be ready in the morning."
For more updates on Dr Keenan's work in Haiti, visit her blog at .

Dr John Yates, from Oakville, Ontario, has lived and practised in Haiti since 1991. Residents know him as "the White Haitian." He was in Canada when the quake struck but returned home to Haiti as soon as he could, with a CTV documentary news crew tagging along. Their piece will air on the program W5 on Saturday. [CTV News]

Do you know any Canadian physicians currently helping in Haiti? Let us know so we can list them here and help draw attention to their work.

Photo: Haiti Village Health

Election shocker throws US health reform into question

US Democrats lost their Senate supermajority in a surprising Massachusetts election result on Tuesday. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate, was heavily favored going into the special election to fill the late Teddy Kennedy's seat. But state Senator Scott Brown, a Republican, managed to pull off an upset. Mr Brown's victory has been cast as a referendum on President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party nationwide -- particularly the sweeping health reform that is on the verge of becoming law.

The party's health reform effort now faces an uncertain future.

There's been talk, however, of the Democrats perhaps still passing a version of one of the health reform bills that have been proposed over the last few months. According to congressional procedure, the House of Representatives (still controlled by a Democratic supermajority) could theoretically pass the bill the Senate passed last month. That may not happen, of course; they may fear that the Massachusetts result indicates that passing the health reform bill as it stands would not go over well with voters in this November's midterm congressional elections.

Ironically, Massachusetts is the only state with near-universal health insurance coverage. And Mr Brown voted in favour of the state's plan under former Governor Mitt Romney, also a Republican.

Photo:

When partnerships go sour

Can group-practice civil wars be prevented?

Start with one small disagreement, add a dash of intransigence, a personality clash or two, mix well and voilà! You’ve got a medical practice civil war on your hands.

Take this true story, for example. A few years back, three specialists in western Canada — two newly certificated and one established physician — decided to create a small group practice together. When the question of how to split office expenses came up, they just figured it would be fair to each pay a third. What they didn’t account for, however, was the fact that the established physician already had a huge patient roster. It soon became apparent that the veteran MD’s work alone was consuming more than 50% of the group practice’s office and staffing resources. Suddenly, that cost-sharing structure didn’t seem so fair. “The new doctors realized they were getting hosed,” says Rick Jamison, the national director of Practice Solutions Consulting, who dealt with this incident. But the veteran refused to renegotiate their deal. The practice fell apart after only a year. “There’s still some animosity against the established physician five or six years later,” says Mr. Jamison.

Many doctors’ partnerships function perfectly amicably. Some, however, do not.

Read the rest of this article, from the January issue of Parkhurst Exchange, .

Photo: Shutterstock