Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Jan. 27, 2017
- Doctors at Toronto General Hospital saved the life of a woman with cystic fibrosis by removing her lungs and keeping her alive via technology that oxygenated and circulated her blood until donor lungs became available. The procedure is believed to be a world first.
- An internal assessment by Health Canada documented serious deficiencies in almost all aspects of First Nations health care, from primary care, health promotion, and addiction treatment, to infrastructure, health benefits and environmental health. Doctors say little has improved since the report was written in February 2016, and one physician called the document “very powerful indictment of a current state of affairs.”
- A private donor will give Ontario’s Wapekeka First Nation $380 000 to hire youth mental health workers after the federal government did not provide the funds. In July 2016, the community made a plea for funding to deal with a suspected youth suicide pact. In January, two 12-year-old-girls completed suicide.
- Health Canada warned that the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics may cause nerve damage, such as peripheral neuropathy, and central nervous system issues, including anxiety, dizziness and confusion. The regulator asked manufacturers to include these side effects on these products’ labels.
- Increasing the private sector’s role in providing medical care and insurance would reduce wait times and improve efficiency, an economist from the United Kingdom testified to British Columbia’s top court. Appearing as an expert on behalf of two clinics challenging restrictions on private billing under Medicare, Alistair McGuire of the London School of Economics and Political Science argued that parallel private health care and insurance “complements” the public system.
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- Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette struck last-minute deals with doctors, dental surgeons and pharmacists about which services will be affected under a new ban on user fees for services covered by the province’s public health plan. However, the province’s two main physician federations cautioned that there’s still no overall agreement on compensation for its members.
- Some doctors are getting around Quebec’s new ban on user fees by instructing patients to find a registered company that can pay on their behalf. The third-party billing loophole means patients can use any registered company, even their electrician, plumber or hairdresser, to legally pay the abolished user fees on their behalf.
- A BC inquest into overdose deaths recommended that the province expand access to opioid-replacement therapy suboxone, and to pharmaceutical-grade heroin and hydromorophone for chronic opioid users. The jury also urged BC to develop standards of practice for opioid addiction treatment, and improve outcome measures and standards for treatment centres.
- Alberta Liberals called on the government to conduct an inquiry into drug-related deaths of inmates in jails across the province after a recent spike in drug-related police investigations at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
- Manitoba Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen says residents who live along the US border might want to consider buying private health insurance after several people were left with massive medical bills from accessing emergency health care in the US. Although Manitobans living in certain border communities are covered for emergency care in some US hospitals, the rules of the agreement aren’t clear to many patients and health providers.
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