Tag Archives: threatening

U.S. demand is threatening Canada’s drug supply, groups warn feds

Concern over U.S. legislation that allows Americans to import cheaper medicines from Canada has prompted more than a dozen organizations to urge the federal government to safeguard the Canadian drug supply.

In a letter this week, the 15 groups representing patients, health professionals, hospitals, and pharmacists warn Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor of the potential for increasing drug shortages.

“The Canadian medicine supply is not sufficient to support both Canadian and U.S. consumers,” the letter states. “The supply simply does not, and will not, exist within Canada to meet such demands.”

Faced with voter anger over the steep and rising costs of drugs in the U.S., several states — including Florida with the blessing of President Donald Trump — have passed laws allowing residents to import drugs from Canada.

In the letter to Petitpas Taylor, the groups say the legislation could exacerbate drug shortages that become an increasingly serious concern in the Canadian health care system in recent years. 

‘They’re not equipped’

“Hospital and community pharmacies in Canada are resourced to serve the Canadian public,” they say. “They are not equipped to support to the needs of a country 10 times its size without creating important access or quality issues.”

Petitpas Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The issue has recently garnered attention on both sides of the border. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, has announced plans to accompany diabetics this weekend to Canada to buy life-saving insulin, which costs roughly one tenth the price here than in the United States.

Late last month, another group of Type 1 diabetics from Minnesota crossed the border to buy insulin in London, Ont. One of the organizers said soaring prices south of the border had forced some users to ration their doses with potentially serious health consequences.

Drug supplies are already an issue in Canada. In recent years, Canadian drug makers have reported thousands of shortages for various reasons  — often because of manufacturing issues but also due to increased demand. U.S. legislative initiatives could make matters much worse, the letter states.

According to data from the National Academy for State Health Policy, more than 27 different bills have been introduced in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures over the past year allowing Americans to buy drugs from Canadian sources.

Groups call for assurances from feds

Signatories to the letter, including the Canadian Pharmacists Association, Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, urge Ottawa to take action to head off Americans’ “draining of Canada’s medicine supply.” 

“We request that Health Canada provide clarity and assurances to Canadians that U.S. legislation will not inadvertently disrupt  Canada’s pharmaceutical supply and negatively impact patient care through greater drug shortages,” the letter states.

The Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies Canada said more permissive import legislation in the U.S. could push Canadian and American patients to access drugs through unlicensed websites, putting them at risk for counterfeit or substandard medicines.

“Importing drugs from Canada could not only hurt the Canadian supply of medications and impact patient care, but U.S. consumers will be at greater risk to receive unapproved and potentially dangerous drugs,” said Libby Baney with the alliance.

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Europe’s record heat wave moves toward Greenland, threatening world’s 2nd largest ice sheet

The hot air that smashed European weather records this week looks set to move toward Greenland and could take the world’s second largest ice sheet close to or below the record low set in 2012, the United Nations said on Friday.

Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the UN World Meteorological Organization, said the hot air moving up from North Africa had not merely broken European temperature records on Thursday, but surpassed them by two, three or four degrees Celsius, something she described as “absolutely incredible.”

“According to forecasts, and this is of concern, the atmospheric flow is now going to transport that heat towards Greenland,” she told a regular UN briefing in Geneva.

“This will result in high temperatures and consequently enhanced melting of the Greenland ice sheet,” she said. “We don’t know yet whether it will beat the 2012 level, but it’s close.”

Melting of Greenland’s ice sheet, a key part of the global climate system, would lead to rising sea levels and unstable weather.

Greenland had not had an exceptional year until June, but its ice had been melting rapidly in recent weeks, she said, citing data from a Danish climate scientist.

“In July alone, it lost 160 billion tonnes of ice through surface melting. That’s roughly the equivalent of 64 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. Just in July. Just surface melt — it’s not including ocean melt as well.”

Greenland’s ice sheet covers 80 per cent of the island and has developed over many thousands of years, with layers of snow compressed into ice. 

The dome of ice rises to a height of 3,000 metres and the total volume of the ice sheet is approximately 2,900,000 cubic kilometres, which would raise global sea levels by seven metres if it melted entirely, according to the Polar Portal website.

The warmer air also had implications for Arctic ice extent, which as of July 15 was nearly the lowest on record, Nullis said.

She said increasingly frequent and intense heat waves were linked to manmade climate change.

“What we saw with this one was that temperature records weren’t just broken, they were smashed.”

She cited a study by Britain’s Met Office that found by 2050, record-breaking heat waves would happen every other year.

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‘Basically rotting alive:’ Family shocked by massive bedsore threatening man’s life

For months Linda Moss and her two sisters took shifts watching over their father in hospital, but as they sat by his side and held his hand almost every day, an unseen wound was festering beneath his bed sheets.

A bedsore had been silently forming on Bob Wilson’s backside, eating away at his flesh until it left a gaping hole bigger than a football.

“We couldn’t believe what we saw. It was … so massive, it was black, dead rotted skin,” said Moss. “He was basically rotting alive and we had no idea.”

Eric Vandewall, president of Joseph Brant Hospital, said he personally apologizes to Wilson and his family for what happened and that staff are investigating.

“We are currently conducting a comprehensive and thorough review of Mr. Wilson’s care while he was at Joseph Brant Hospital and we will hold further meetings with Mr. Wilson’s family to share and discuss the results of our review,” he added.

‘It’s to the bone and it’s pretty horrific’

Wilson, a 77-year-old Burlington man, fell in November and suffered a brain injury.

During his time at the hospital he started to show signs of improvement, playing games, shaking hands and even talking, but suddenly in February his recovery seemed to stop and the family couldn’t figure out why.

It wasn’t until the end of April when he was set to be transferred to Hamilton General for surgery to re-attach part of his skull that Wilson’s family found out what was happening.

Moss says the family was told the surgery couldn’t take place because her father had an infection. Then they were shown a picture that made their jaws drop.

What baffles us is how could a medical team … put a Band-Aid over black, dead rotted skin and not raised the flag?– Linda Moss

A photo of the wound shows a hole that covers a large portion of Wilson’s backside except for some clumps of skin and tissue.

The image is so graphic CBC decided not to share it and instead rely on the family’s description which accurately illustrates the terrible sore.

Hamilton hospital staff told them the bedsore was one of the worst they’ve ever seen, according to Moss. 

It was classified as unstageable, meaning there was complete loss of tissue.

“It’s to the bone and it’s pretty horrific,” she added.

Bedsores — also known as pressure ulcers — are injuries to skin and tissue that form over bony parts of the body after lying or sitting in one place for a long period of time as a result of pressure or friction.

Family struggles with feelings of guilt

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) says they’re preventable, but nevertheless exists across the country, causing pain for thousands of patients and raising the risk of dangerous infections every year.

A Hospital Harm Indicators report prepared by the CPSI points to best practices to stop bedsores before they start, including inspecting patient’s skin daily, monitoring it for moisture and moving people carefully and often.

“We really encourage patients to be turned and repositioned at least every two hours,” said Anne MacLaurin, a senior program manager with the organization.

Bob Wilson poses with his daughters before the fall that sent him to hospital. (Supplied by Linda Moss)

Another way to ensure better safety for patients is to include them or their families in plans about their care, she added.

Moss said her family was told her father was developing some redness and irritation, but that it was being treated.

They liked the hospital staff and trusted them to care for their father, but now they’re left dealing with complicated emotions and questioning whether they should have done more.

“It’s devastating, it’s torture and we felt a sense of guilt because if we knew we could have helped turn him or something,” said Moss.

 “What baffles us is how could a medical team and several people … put a Band-Aid over black, dead rotted skin and not raised the flag?”

Hospital pledges to post bedsore rates

Vandewall said the hospital’s routine for immobile patients involves turning them daily and checking for things such as pressure ulcers.

He declined to discuss specific details of Wilson’s case, but said that type of incident is rare at the hospital.

The family is sharing their story to raise awareness and teach other people about what questions they should be asking and how they can be involved in medical care for their loves ones.

Linda Moss works with her father in hospital before the family found out about the bedsore. (Supplied by Linda Moss)

The hospital president said after what happened to Wilson that’s something they want to do too, by voluntarily publishing hospital-acquired pressure ulcer and surgical-site infection rates on their website starting in June. 

“We are wanting to join Mr. Wilson and his family in taking a leadership position in bringing greater awareness to the issue and public reporting is one of the ways to do that,” said Vandewall.

What happened is ‘heartbreaking’

As for Wilson’s family, Moss said doctors have told them the infection is in his blood and he’s resistant to many of the antibiotics that could treat it. She said her father’s chances of surviving are slim.

Before the hospital stay and bedsore, Moss said her father was an avid bowler who loved golfing. She’s still trying to wrap her head around what happened to the man she loves.

“It’s hard to believe this happened and he could lose his life not because of major brain surgery, but because of a preventable bedsore,” she explained. “That’s what is so heartbreaking.”

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Kanye West Accuses Drake of Threatening and Bullying After Calling Him Out on Twitter

Seems like Kanye West is not done calling out Drake.

After slamming the “Nice For What” rapper on Thursday afternoon for taking underhanded shots at him, Kanye later accused Drake of threatening and bullying him.

“Drake called trying to threaten [sic] me,” read Yeezy’s first tweet, which was followed by, “The kid he had run on stage at Pushas concert is in critical condition. Since the pool line he’s been trying to poke at me and f**k with me. So drake if anything happens to me or anyone from my family you are the first suspect   So cut the tough talk.”

Kanye further continued with a slew of tweets, some in which he referenced Pusha T’s Toronto show last month that ended in a brawl, leaving one man in critical condition after he was stabbed. Repeating what he had tweeted earlier in the day, West accused Drake of ignoring him, as well as sending him purple devil emojis when the rapper would talk about his mental health issues. He also seemingly tried to accuse Drake of being the one responsible for the fight.

“There would never be a drake without a Kanye west so never come out your mouth with a threat,” he tweeted. “You trying to be a bully. I never been bullied in my life and I never will be.  That’s why I made it this far in a pink polo. You pick on people with mental health issues.”

It didn’t stop there, as Kanye implored Drake to stop the bullying and just speak to him. “Drake this is what they want,” he wrote. “You would be so sad if anything ever happened to me.”

“Leave me and my family alone bro,” the father of three continued. “.This year has been really tough and you have added to the confusion. I’m Ye bro. Remember that   I love you   I would never intentionally hurt you     That’s what I’ve been saying to you.”

Kanye and Drake have been involved in an on-going feud all year. In September, Kim Kardashian’s husband last took to Instagram to slam Drake regarding rumors that the 32-year-old rapper had an affair with Kardashian West — which she quickly shut down.

Kanye later apologized to the Canadian rapper, saying, “Sending good energy and love to Drake and family and crew. I haven’t seen the show in person but the images look incredible online. I understand where the confusion started.”

For more of the “All of the Lights” rap star’s wildest moments, watch below.


Kanye West Calls Out Drake in Twitter Rant: 'Don't Play With Me'

'KUWTK' Reveals Family's Reaction to Kanye West's Infamous Interviews in Season 15 Finale

Kim Kardashian Was 'Hysterically Crying' After Kanye West's Slavery Comments

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Twin wildfires threatening 10,000 California homes

Twin wildfires tearing through vineyards and brushy hills threatened some 10,000 homes in northern California Tuesday — yet another front in the seemingly endless summer of wildfires that have ravaged some of the most scenic areas of the state.

The two fires straddling Mendocino and Lake counties had burned seven homes by Monday night along with some 277 square kilometres of rural land.

About 160 kilometres north, the so-called Carr Fire that has burned more than 800 homes and killed six people has become the ninth most destructive wildfire in California history, said Scott McLean, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

In Lake County, evacuation orders were in effect for the 4,700-resident town of Lakeport along with some smaller communities and a section of Mendocino National Forest. In all, some 10,000 people have been warned to flee, fire officials said.

Ghost town

Lakeport, north of San Francisco, is the county seat and a popular destination for bass anglers and boaters on the shores of Clear Lake. But by Monday night it was a ghost town, the main streets deserted.

A few miles away embers, ash and smoke swirled through vineyards where at least one home had gone up in flames. Firefighters set blazes at the bottom of hills in order to burn up the tinder-dry brush before flames cresting the ridge tops could feed on it and surge downhill. A fleet of aircraft made continuous water and fire retardant drops on the blaze, filling the air with the roar of their engines.

A helicopter carries water while fighting the Mendocino Complex fire in Lakeport. Fires have turned the parts of the state into an ashen wasteland. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

But not everyone heeded orders issued Sunday and Monday to evacuate.

Derick Hughes II remained behind at his property in Nice, Calif., where he ran sprinklers on his roof and removed yard plants that could catch fire.

'This is everything I bled for'

The 32-year-old Marine Corps veteran sent his wife and two daughters to safety along with three carloads of belongings. But he said he had too much at stake to leave himself. He bought his three-bedroom house last year using a loan from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"This is everything I bled for, and I've worked really hard to get to where I am, and I'm just not willing to give it up so easily," he said over the phone. "Some people may think that's selfish of me, and I have insurance. But the way things go, I'd rather not start over."

Farther north, police said five people were arrested on suspicion of entering areas evacuated due to the explosive wildfire around Redding.

The blaze, which killed two firefighters and four civilians including two children, has now destroyed 818 homes and 311 outbuildings and damaged 165 homes, McLean said.

12,000 firefighters

More than 27,000 people remained evacuated from their homes although another 10,000 were allowed to return Monday as fire crews reinforced lines on the western end of Carr Fire.

Some 12,000 firefighters were battling the blaze. Fire officials were hopeful that they could make progress containing the blaze, which was 23 per cent contained.

Firefighters continue to fight multiple fires in Northern California 0:54

The fire's northwestern corner continued to be active.

"It's still putting up a fight," McLean said.

17 fires

Those fires were among 17 burning across the state, where fire crews were stretched to the limit.

In Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, an arson fire that destroyed seven homes last week was 82 per cent contained Monday.

Underbrush burns on the south edge of the Carr Fire near Igo, Calif., on Sunday. At least six people have died because of the spate of wildfires. (Bob Strong/Reuters)

Fire crews also have battled numerous small brushfires this summer, most charring only small areas but still threatening homes in built-up areas along parched foothills. A four-hectare fire damaged 13 homes and apartments Monday in Santa Clarita, northwest of Los Angeles, county fire officials said.

McLean, the state fire spokesperson, said there was no guarantee of safety in a state that has been ravaged by years of drought that has turned trees and brush to tinder.

"Anything could happen anywhere. That's the nature of the beast for all of these fires," he said. "The vegetation is so dry all it takes is a spark to get it going."

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Treating acutely ill patients with too much oxygen can be life threatening, Canadian study finds

This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. 

If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

Oxygen is given to millions of patients around the world every day, but too much of it can be harmful and life-threatening, according to a new Canadian scientific paper that in one expert’s view “is a very significant landmark study.”

McMaster University researchers were interested in testing the widely held belief that traditional oxygen therapy is harmless.

Their study, published this week in The Lancet medical journal, shows supplemental oxygen, when given liberally to acutely ill patients, increases the risk of death in people with sepsis, stroke, cardiac arrest, as well as those with trauma or requiring emergency surgery.

In their meta-analysis, the researchers systematically reviewed 25 randomized controlled trials of more than 16,000 adult patients that compared the use of liberal (supplemental oxygen) and conservative oxygen (room air) therapies. They concluded that for every 71 patients treated with excessive oxygen, an additional death occurs in hospital.

“What this is suggesting is that we need to move away from being too liberal with oxygen,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Derek Chu, who is a clinical fellow at McMaster University. “Maybe we need to be a bit more modest, frequently recheck if we can decrease how much oxygen a patient is requiring. And that’s a simple intervention that could save a number of lives.”

The study also found that supplemental use of oxygen:

  • Didn’t decrease any infections.
  • Didn’t improve a patient’s length of hospital stay.
  • Didn’t improve the level of disability for stroke patients or those with brain injuries

The researchers say the results have immediate and important implications for health-care providers, policy-makers and researchers.

The study’s findings challenge the widely held belief that giving patients oxygen therapy is harmless.(Shutterstock)

“We need clear guidelines and updated guidelines on how to use oxygen and when to use oxygen,” Chu told CBC News. “There’s no clear consensus in North America or around the world on how to use oxygen.

“I think we need to be a bit more uniform and have updated guidelines with this evidence included to change practice and improve patient lives.”

‘A practice-changing study’

Cardiologist John William McEvoy believes the results will likely lead to a reconsideration of guideline recommendations around supplemental oxygen.

McEvoy — an assistant professor at John Hopkins University’s medical school, who wrote a commentary about the study for The Lancet — said the new research will change how he administers oxygen in his own coronary care unit.

“This is definitely a practice-changing study,” he told CBC News. “I read very many papers and meta-analyses and this is one of the few that I think truly should change how we think about oxygen. And in my view it is a very significant landmark study.”

Oxygen is often administered because it’s widely believed to be safe and not considered a harmful substance, he said. The most common reasons to give extra oxygen is for patients who are short of breath, who have lung conditions or who are oxygen deficient, he said.

McEvoy said in his own practice, “it’s just common practice —  traditional practice — that we give them some excess oxygen because they’re in the ICU, they’re intubated and we don’t think it’s harmful. But these data would suggest that we ought to be getting them on room air even if they’re still intubated and that’s a big change.”    

To read the entire Second Opinion newsletter every Saturday morning, subscribe by clicking here.

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'Scandal': A Proper Fitz and Olivia Reunion Finally Happened — But Who's Threatening to Mess It All Up?

This pairing can get a little complicated. Scandal has seemed to be setting this one in motion since the season started, but the potential costs have certainly been raised. “I have feelings for him, President Rashad. He means something to me,” Mellie told Olivia, asking her to give him safe haven in the US while his country is in turmoil. “This time, I want it to be my call. Just one time.” 

Yes, Mellie and Rashad are both presidents, but as Olivia pointed out, she is the leader of the free world, he is not, and things can get sticky real fast. 

Now, for the one we’ve all been waiting for…. 

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Powerless Puerto Rico's storm crisis deepens with dam threatening to fail

Puerto Rican officials have been unable to communicate with more than half the towns in the U.S. territory as they rush to evacuate tens of thousands of people downstream of a failing dam, and as the massive scale of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Maria starts to become clear.

Authorities launched an evacuation of the area downstream from the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico, where 70,000 people live, sending buses to move people away Friday and posting frantic warnings on Twitter that went unseen by many in the blacked-out coastal area.

“This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SITUATION,” the U.S. National Weather Service wrote. “All the areas around the Guajataca River must evacuate NOW. Your lives are in DANGER.”

The 316-metre dam, which was built around 1928, holds back a human-made lake covering about five square kilometres. Nearly 40 centimetres of rain fell on the surrounding mountains after the Category 4 Hurricane Maria left the island Wednesday afternoon, swelling the reservoir behind the nearly 90-year-old dam.

An engineer inspecting the dam reported a “contained breach” that officials quickly realized was a crack that could be the first sign of total failure of the dam, U.S. National Weather Service meteorologist Anthony Reynes said.

‘Really, really dire’

“There’s no clue as to how long or how this can evolve. That is why the authorities are moving so fast because they also have the challenges of all the debris. It is a really, really dire situation,” Reynes said.

Government spokesman Carlos Bermudez said that officials could not reach 40 of the 78 municipalities on the island more than two days after the hurricane crossed the territory, toppling power lines and cellphone towers and sending floodwaters cascading through city streets.

Officials said 1,360 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers had been downed, and 85 per cent of above-ground and underground phone and internet cables were knocked out. With roads blocked and phones dead, officials said, the situation may be worse than they know.

“We haven’t seen the extent of the damage,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello told reporters in the capital. Rossello couldn’t say when power might be restored.

Maj. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, deputy to the chief of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, said at the Pentagon that it was impossible to say when communication and power would be restored. He said mobile communications systems are being flown in.

But Rydholm acknowledged “it’s going to take a while” before people in Puerto Rico will be able to communicate with their families outside the island. Until Friday, he said, “there was no real understanding at all of the gravity of the situation.”

Electricity grid already suffering

The island’s electric grid was in sorry shape long before Maria struck. The territory’s $ 73-billion debt crisis has left agencies like the state power company broke. It abandoned most basic maintenance in recent years, leaving the island subject to regular blackouts.

“Some transmission structures collapsed,” Rossello said, adding that there was no severe damage to electric plants.

He said he was distributing 250 satellite phones from FEMA to mayors across the island to re-establish contact.


People look at a flooded expressway after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Yauco, Puerto Rico Sept. 21, 2017. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

The death toll from Maria stood at six, but was likely to rise.

At least 27 lives in all have been lost around the Caribbean, including at least 15 on hard-hit Dominica. Haiti reported three deaths; Guadeloupe, two; and the Dominican Republic, one.

WestJet scheduled a flight Sunday to evacuate Canadians out of Dominica, the Canadian government announced Saturday. 

Across Puerto Rico, more than 15,000 people are in shelters, including some 2,000 rescued from the north coastal town of Toa Baja.

Some of the island’s 3.4 million people planned to head to the U.S. to temporarily escape the devastation. At least in the short term, though, the soggy misery will continue: Additional rain — up to 15 centimetres — was expected through Saturday night.


An aerial view shows the flooded neighbourhood of Juana Matos in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Catano, Puerto Rico, on Sept. 22. (Ricardo Arduengo/AFP/Getty Images)

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