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Madam, – [Re new children’s hospital debate] Dr Finbar Lennon writes “The vast majority of the children who will be served by this new hospital are not yet born” (October 19th).

Furthermore, many of the clinicians who will work in this new facility are yet to qualify. As a lowly student of medicine, I feel that the current debacle does nothing to motivate, encourage or inspire tomorrow’s doctors, nor does it bode well for the future of Ireland’s ailing health service. – Yours, etc,

FRED ENGLISH (Times) >>>

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Eimear Vize writes: “Constantly in pain, leaking urine or faeces, bearing a heavy burden of sadness in discovering their child stillborn, outcasts because of their offensive smell; ashamed, these young women live on the periphery of their former existence, without friends and without hope….

The eradication of obstetric fistulas in Africa is decades away at least. But these doctors and nurses with MSF, and other humanitarian groups, are taking crucial first steps toward that goal.” (Scope) >>>

1,200 patients in ‘outdated’ institutions to be moved >> Minister for State with responsibility for mental health John Moloney says he wants to close the remaining 14 Victorian-era institutions and provide new community-based facilities. >> Irish Times

Top consultant backs hospital protest > The consultant has already resigned from a steering group set up by the HSE to examine the ‘reconfiguration’ of acute hospital services across the south-east and is now backing a protest march due to take place at the end of the month. >> Indo

Group says obstetricians need to ‘regain trust’ over symphysiotomies > WOMEN who underwent symphysiotomies in this country have called upon obstetricians to concede the procedures should not have taken place over the past century. >> Irish Examiner

A DOCTOR working in psychiatry who cheated in a postgraduate examination was yesterday found guilty of professional misconduct by the Irish Medical Council. >> The committee noted he had undertaken not to repeat his behaviour and had already been suspended from the medical register in the UK. The committee will recommend to a meeting of the full medical council that he be censured. >> http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0218/1224264715137.html

When I found a lump I thought I was too young >> I had my full mastectomy with diep flap reconstruction – in which tummy fat, tissue and blood vessels are removed and used to reconstruct the new breast – on October 24th last year, 10 days after my daughter’s first birthday. >> http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/health/2010/0216/1224264544086.html

Doctor’s treatment ‘appalling’, mother tells court > When he put to Ms McGillin that the final decision on the medication was hers, she said: “Someone has to take responsibility for what happened to my daughter”. >> Independent

Surgeon with HIV seeking damages > Among claims in the case is that absence of mandatory screening of hospital patients for HIV exposed the surgeon to a risk of harm. >> Irish Times

Oscar the cat predicts 50 deaths in nursing home > Dr Dosa suggests that Oscar is able to detect chemical changes that accompany death >>Independent

Brain-injured patient’s thoughts ‘read’ by scanner > Dr Adrian Owen, assistant director of the Medical Research Council’s cognition and brain sciences unit at ­Cambridge University, believed that the patients who responded in the study were probably “perfectly consciously aware”, although he knew others would disagree >>Guardian

After today’s lecture, apologies to you all on three counts –

1. the confusion about your assignment: I am since informed that the assignment is actually a separate matter altogether from my lecture & that you will hear more about it this afternoon during another class

2. the fact that I didn’t have the handout with me: you can now download it in pdf format here >>>Lit and Med lecture handout 

3. the fact that I didn’t cover all the texts I had intended to & that therefore the lecture lacked the structure I had hoped: this was totally my fault (put it down to being off form), and I hope to make up for it here shortly by offering you some perspective on the issues that the extracts raise >>> check back next week

Thank you for your attention.

(From The Irish Times >>>) A HUGE DROP in applications for junior doctor posts in hospitals across the State which fall vacant in January has been blamed on the fact that many young doctors are now emigrating.

The Irish Times has seen internal HSE documents which show that applications for junior doctor posts which need to be filled by the new year have fallen by more than half, when compared to a year ago, at some hospitals. Both large and small hospitals are affected and the recruitment problems may result in “significant gaps in service areas” next year.

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