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Lauren Vogel | CMAJ | Dec. 23, 2016

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  • In British Columbia, 128 people died from illicit drug overdoses in November, the highest recorded number in more than 30 years. BC has recorded a total 755 overdose deaths since the beginning of 2016, a 70% increase over last year.
  • Quebec launched a public inquiry into systemic racism against Indigenous people in government services ranging from health care to corrections. There has been growing call for an inquiry since the fall, when an investigation into allegations that provincial police abused Indigenous women in Val-d’Or concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to lay charges.
  • Nova Scotia reported a record number of emergency room closures between April 2015 and March 2016. Hospitals in the province were forced to close emergency rooms the equivalent of 938 days, the highest number since 2009.
  • Doctors warned that a 1000% increase in the cost of some medical isotopes could limit patient access to tests for cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. They attributed the rapid price increase to the shutdown of isotope production at the National Research Universal reactor at Chalk River this fall.
  • The Quebec College of Physicians will review abortion guidelines after a Montreal clinic denied a woman’s request to terminate her pregnancy at 30 weeks when she learned the fetus had abnormalities. The hospital denied her request based on the college’s guidelines, which discourage abortion after 23 weeks except in cases of severe congenital abnormalities or exceptional circumstances.

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