Thursday, May 3, 2007

Taking Ontario's health monopoly to court

Ontario's health care monopoly almost killed Lindsay McCreith. After suffering a seizure in January, 2006, the 66-year-old Newmarket resident was told he had a brain tumour. But he would have to wait four-and-a-half months to obtain an MRI to rule out the possibility that it was cancerous. Unwilling to risk the progression of what might be cancer, Mr. McCreith obtained an MRI in Buffalo, which revealed the tumour was malignant. Even with this diagnosis in hand, the Ontario system still refused to provide timely treatment, so Mr. McCreith had surgery in Buffalo to remove the cancerous brain tumour in March, 2006.

Andy Barrie spoke with Lindsay McCreith. The retired Newmarket man was told he would have to wait for more than four months for an MRI.Listen. (Runs 6:59)

Chaoulli comes to Ontario

Had he trusted Ontario's government healthcare monopoly to treat him, Lindsay McCreith would likely be dead today. At the very least, his health would have been permanently diminished. Unacceptably long waiting lists for simple diagnostic tests and basic treatments forced the 66-year-old retired auto body shop owner from Newmarket to pay more than US$27,600 out of his own pocket for timely cancer treatment in the United States. Now, with the help of the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF), Mr. McCreith is challenging Ontario's ban on private health options. If he wins, Ontarians would finally be allowed to buy insurance that covers their care when the state monopoly fails them, as it too often does.

Why can’t doctors wash their hands?

(Apparently Nurses aren’t much better) Every year, 250,000 Canadians pick up infections while they are in hospitals being treated for something else. That's a staggering one out of every nine Canadians who are admitted to hospital.

Every year, those infections kill more than 8,000 people.

That's more than will die of breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined. Most of those deaths can be prevented — by simple hand washing.

In the wake of the SARS outbreak that hit Toronto in March 2003, hand sanitizers have become common in hospitals and other public buildings across the country. Many people use them — others don't. Read the full report here:

AND IF you want to see the evidence: here is a CBC secret camera report. Chilling. Erica Johnson reports on 'Dirty Doctors'

Monday, April 30, 2007

Are pharmacists content to contribute directly to the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes?

Caroline Apovian, a researcher at Boston University School of Medicine, commented that the study “provides strong, scientifically sound evidence that excess calories from soft drinks are directly contributing to the epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes” and that “reducing sugars sweetened beverage consumption may be the best single opportunity to curb the obesity epidemic.” (Apovian CM. Sugar-sweetened soft drinks, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. JAMA. 2004; 292:978–9.).
For a full analysis read: Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming Americans’ Health by Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D. published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest Washington, D.C.

Suggestions for the consumer & patient. Choosing what and when to eat takes some careful consideration. Here are some healthy tips to help stave off the hunger pangs and keep energy levels up throughout the day. Here are some ideas courtesy of the CBC:

Suggestions for the clinicians. A complete copy of the 2006 Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Management and Prevention of Obesity in Adults and Children can be found at The word pharmacist or pharmacy does not appear once in these guidelines published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. What an opportunity!

Suggestions for pharmacists. From the University of Saskatchewan some enlightening news. For starters: Pharmacy and nutrition are taught in the same program. Their College of Pharmacy and Nutrition recommends that you “don't recommend natural weight loss products to patients. The most dependable way to safely lose weight is still lifestyle modification - reducing caloric intake and increasing exercise.”

So if pharmacists want to make a difference – they might start by clearing their shelves of tarts and treats. Check out these photos