JULY 2008

British Columbia
Hockey helmet protects necks
VANCOUVER — Children's neck injuries from hockey checking may soon be far less common in the nation's EDs, thanks to a new kind of helmet designed by UBC orthopedic surgeons and engineers. The Pro-Neck-Tor is identical to any other helmet except in head-on impacts, in which tests have found the Pro-Neck-Tor's moving inner shell reduces direct force to the neck by 56%.

Hot Spot
Gov't downplays public health exodus
EDMONTON — Why did Alberta's most senior public health physicians suddenly quit? That question was on the tip of everyone's tongue last month after the acting provincial health officer and three others opted not to renew their contracts. Health Minister Ron Liepert downplayed the incident and said the doctors simply wouldn't accept the province's salaries, but some experts suggested the incident is a sign of major discontent in the public health department.

AB belatedly hops HPV bandwagon
EDMONTON — After much lobbying by doctors and other medical professionals, Alberta finally announced a provincially funded human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine program for school-age girls. All nine other provinces had already moved ahead with HPV immunization plans.

MDs denounce acute care merger
SASKATOON — A Saskatoon Health Region plan to consolidate acute-care services in three hospitals into just two has drawn criticism from hundreds of doctors, nurses, lab techs and other healthcare workers. A petition was circulated to urge health officials to keep the half-day emergency room at City Hospital, but the government says the decision is final.

Kopp still a suspect: new book
WINNIPEG — A new nonfiction book, Sniper, provides an intimate picture of James Kopp, the man convicted of killing a Buffalo, NY, abortion doctor. Mr Kopp is also suspected in the shootings of Manitoba abortion doc Dr Jack Fainman and two other Canadian abortion doctors. Hamilton Spectator reporter Jon Wells's interviews, however, failed to elicit an answer about Mr Kopp's involvement in those three attacks. Canadian police haven't had any better luck of late: Mr Kopp refused to be interviewed twice this year.

College welcomes forced change
TORONTO — As part of a new government strategy to improve access to health professionals and remove barriers preventing IMGs from being licensed to practise, Bill 97 was introduced last month. The bill would force mandate changes on all health professional regulatory bodies, including the Ontario College — which supports the new legislation. Opposition parties argue the one-sentence law doesn't go far enough.



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