How not to get elected

Ballots closed recently for the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales 2013 election. Voting as a registered pharmacist in NSW, I was only familiar with a few of the candidates and so had to rely on the Candidate Information Sheet that was sent out. I’ve reproduced page 4 below (de-identified)…

Page 4, Candidate Information Sheet, Pharmacy Council of NSW election 2013

The nomination paperwork clearly indicated that the “candidate information” section would be reproduced exactly as submitted… The candidate at the top of the page did not get elected.

A day in the life of a medical registrar

14 new patients post-take (1 DOA)
7am consultant rounds
Interviewed by the police
Discussion with an Assistant Coroner
Rescued from a difficult dilemma by one of the geriatricians (again)
Spoke with the hospital Director of Medical Services
AWOL patient urinating on the hospital front lawn
Challenging discussions with families about end-of-life issues
Asked for two consults at 4pm (because my consultant specifically wanted me to ask)
Somehow didn’t get shouted at for the late consults
Finished my ward round after-hours
Left the hospital at 7.30pm

… and very grateful for my fantastic intern Angela!

Leeches in modern medicine

Leeches have been used medicinally for centuries, with their most well-known role in the former practice of blood-letting. In modern medicine, however, the medicinal leech (Hirudo medicinalis) has found a niche role in plastic/reconstructive surgery where it can be used to reduce venous congestion and encourage microcirculation.

medicinal leeches

medicinal leeches

Specially prepared leeches are attached to the relevant part (e.g. at-risk surgical flap) and allowed to feed. Once gorged they detach themselves and are collected for re-use. Heparin wipes may be used at the bite site to prolong the therapeutic anticoagulation effect.

medicinal leeches

At our centre, collected leeches are prepared for re-use by placing in them saline – apparently this encourages them to regurgitate their initial feed. Subsequent feeds are less effective, so after 1-2 feeds the leech is “retired” using concentrated saline and flushed down a sluice sink.

Outdoor smoking bans in NSW

Amendments to the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 (NSW) will come into force next week, further restricting tobacco smoking in public areas in New South Wales.

Smoking is already banned in enclosed public areas in NSW.

From 7 January 2013, smoking will also be banned in the following outdoor places:

  • within 10 metres of children’s play equipment in outdoor public places
  • public swimming pools
  • spectator areas of sports venues
  • public transport stops/platforms (including bus stops and taxi ranks)
  • within 4 metres of entrances to public buildings

Furthermore, from 6 July 2015 smoking will also be banned in commercial outdoor dining areas (i.e. al fresco).

Australia is a world leader in tobacco harm reduction. It’s good to see further action being taken to protect public health through reducing exposure to second-hand smoke.

More information: health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco/Pages/smokefree-areas-faq.aspx

Environmental Mobility Check

When I booked an ICE3 train from Munich to Frankfurt earlier this year, I was impressed by German railway operator DB Bahn‘s website which shows the comparative travel time and environmental impact of travelling by train, car and aeroplane. All you have to do is click on “Environmental Mobility Check”, which I’m sure must be a direct translation from German.

DB Bahn environmental mobility checkDB Bahn Environmental Mobility Check sample (click to see full-size)

I tried a few different origins/destinations for curiosity and, needless to say, travelling by train was always the most environmentally-friendly option. Catching high-speed rail with direct connections was no slower than travelling by car (even with Autobahns) or aeroplane for journeys up to 3–4 hours. Now if only we had a high-speed rail connection between Sydney and Melbourne…

Amour fou

During my travels aboard RATP trains (Métro/RER) in Paris recently, I spotted the quaint notice below aboard a few of the trains. Somehow, I have a feeling that the poetry (and meaning) may be lost on the target audience… (And yes, the walls of the 1970s-designed MI 79 rolling stock are actually orange.)

RATP - Amour fou

Amour fou

Les chewing-gums sont de grands romantiques,
Ces coeurs d’artichauts s’attachment très vite.
Mais les pauvres, rarement aimés en retour,
Cherchent désespérément le grand amour
Alors que la promesse d’un amour fusionnel
Est là dans tous les couloirs: c’est la poubelle!

—–
My translation:

Foolish love

Chewing gums are great romantics,
These fickle lovers attach themselves very quickly.
But the poor things, rarely loved in return,
They search desperately for true love
Yet the promise of a love that binds
Is there in all the passageways: it’s in the bin!