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Female surgeons paid less, a review of tobacco and vaping laws, shortage of flu vaccine nasal spray, in this week’s top health news.

Health News Recap

  • Female surgeons in Ontario earn 24% less per hour than their male peers, found a study published in JAMA Surgery. The study analyzed more than 1.5 million procedures performed by 3275 surgeons from 2014 to 2016.
  • Alberta’s health minister has initiated a review of the province’s tobacco and smoking laws. There will be a focus on regulating vaping, which isn’t addressed directly in existing legislation.
  • Physicians at a Liberal campaign event in Toronto called upon Prime Minster Justin Trudeau to ban handguns. There have been 342 incidents of gun violence in Toronto this year, resulting in 29 deaths.
  • A nasal spray version of the influenza vaccine that is often given to children will not be available in Canada this year, announced the Public Health Agency of Canada. The manufacturer’s production problems have caused a global shortage.
  • Police officers in Ontario need better mental health support and suicide prevention resources, according to a panel assembled by the province’s chief coroner. Nine Ontario officers died by suicide in 2018.
  • The government of New Brunswick announced it is eliminating its physician billing number system, which controls where and how many doctors can practise in the province. Critics of the system say it is too restrictive and impedes physician recruitment.
  • Two men in British Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the maker of the vaping product Juul, claiming they suffered “adverse health condition” after using the product. The claim accuses the company of “misleading and/or deceptive statements” and “downplaying, misrepresenting or under-reporting serious side effects and harmful complications.”
  • Calgary saw 116 deaths linked to fentanyl in the first half of 2019, the highest number of any city in Alberta. There were 80 fentanyl-related deaths in Edmonton in the same period.
  • Saskatchewan opened its first children’s hospital, the 176-bed Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. Planning for the $285.9-million facility began in 2007.
  • The McGill University Health Centre had to cancel all clinical appointments for a day after its computer system failed. The problem appears to have been related to faulty equipment, not an external hack.

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