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Thursday, March 4, 2010

IN THE NEWS: Ottawa takes another stab at Insite

Insite ruling appealed, again
The federal government has -- for the second time -- elected to appeal a British Columbia court's ruling that the supervised injection Insite does not fall under federal jurisdiction because it is a health facility. [CBC News] The news of Ottawa's intention to re-appeal sparked protests in Vancouver during the Olympics. [Globe and Mail] Read our previous coverage of the BC Court of Appeal's January decision that found against Ottawa. [Canadian Medicine]

Isotope shortfall to worsen
A radioisotope shortfall appears imminent, with western Canada likely to suffer to brunt of the damage, as a European reactor gets set to shut off for repairs and the Chalk River plant, in Ontario, remains closed for repairs. [Globe and Mail]

Layton has cancer
NDP leader and federal MP Jack Layton has prostate cancer. His wife, Olivia Chow, who is also an NDP MP from Toronto, overcame thyroid cancer, and Mr Layton's father suffered from prostate cancer as well. [Toronto Star]

New Brunswick's troubled trauma system
After years of work, New Brunswick finally explained how it would reorganize its much-criticized trauma-care system. Unfortunately, problems persist: there has been some confusion about patient transfers recently because the province's planned 1-800 number still has not been set up. Until the number is ready to go live in April, Dr Marcil Martin, the head of the trauma system, has given out his cell phone number to doctors across New Brunswick so that he can personally coordinate transfers -- an arrangement that unsurprisingly hasn't proven entirely successful. [Saint John Telegraph-Journal] "I can't understand it because to set up an 800 number, it shouldn't take four years. A company, for instance, would set up an 800 number in two hours time, right?" said Donald Thomas, the man whose botched transfer after a car accident in 2005 served as the impetus for the province's reforms. [CBC News]

EMR funding frozen
Canada Health Infoway president Richard Alvarez expressed frustration that EMR expansion is being delayed by the federal government's failure to hand over $500 million in funding while program reviews are conducted. [Canadian Medical Association Journal]

Winnipeg NPs start for-profit clinic
The Manitoba Ministry of Health acquiesced to the establishment of a private, for-profit clinic in Winnipeg staffed by nurse practitioners with prescribing authority. [Canadian Press]

C diff still plagues Quebec
Montreal's Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital has been fighting a C diff outbreak for the past year, Radio-Canada has learned, and several patients there have died. Recent signs, though, point to a decrease in the infection rate there. [CBC News]

Canada to test MS surgery idea
A Canadian trial will test an exciting and controversial Italian theory advanced recently that explains multiple sclerosis as a vascular disorder that can be cured with angioplasty. [Globe and Mail]

More pathology errors discovered
Another pathology investigation has been launched in Ontario after Windsor surgeon Barbara Heartwell performed mastectomies on two patients who didn't have breast cancer. [CBC News] [Canadian Press] In response, the Toronto Star asks whether pathologists are overworked -- a question the very asking of which should make anyone with knowledge of the system laugh, given how utterly obvious it is that the answer is a resounding yes. [Toronto Star] The current run of pathology problems began several years ago. You can read my take on the matter from 2008 in the National Review of Medicine for some background. [NRM]

H1N1 vaccine goes mainstream
The H1N1 flu vaccine could be added to the regular vaccine this year. [Associated Press] Hopefully this will help persuade the detractors that the H1N1 flu vaccine is nothing out of the ordinary.

NOSM's economic assist
The Northern Ontario Medical School provided a welcome boost to the local economy, a study found. [Sudbury Star]

No online gambling: QC MDs
Quebec public-health MDs announced their opposition to the provincial government's plans to create a Loto-Québec gambling website. [Montreal Gazette]

DSM-V revisions suggested
Proposed DSM-V revisions have been published online and are now available for public comment. [DSM5.org]

Tut mystery solved
It wasn't murder. King Tut was killed by malaria and avascular bone necrosis. [Journal of the American Medical Association abstract] [New York Times]

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