Fear, neglect, and close quarters: Inside Ontario’s migrant-worker health crisis

In late May, Amy Cohen, an organizer with Radical Action With Migrants in Agriculture, in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, received a WhatsApp message from a migrant farm worker in Ontario. He and another worker were in the bunkhouse, their living quarters on farm property, because they were too sick to work that day. His friend was vomiting, short of breath, and losing consciousness. Could she call an ambulance?

It's time to stop giving the message that kids can't play outside

For almost two months now, the primary public health message across Canada, and especially in Ontario, has been “stay home.” In cities, exercise outside is allowed, ideally in quiet areas at off-peak times, but not exactly encouraged. Guidance around outdoor exercise has principally been for adults. As the provincial chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, put it, the rules shouldn’t stop “anyone from going out for their morning jog.” Children’s need for outdoor activity seems to have been neglected altogether.

Why medical faculties are broadening admissions criteria

Gabby Schoettle, a first-year medical student at Western University, was 8 years old when she lost her mother to breast cancer. In high school, when her father’s health started deteriorating, she took on the role of making meals for her younger brother and caring for her father. In her final year of high school, her father passed away. She and her brother had to work to pay the mortgage. “We had to learn a lot of things on the fly,” says Ms. Schoettle.

What parents need to know as the coronavirus spreads

The coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread, and has now infected more than 80,000 people worldwide. While most of those cases are in China, outbreaks have surfaced in South Korea, Italy and Iran. The World Health Organization has said to be prepared for a pandemic, and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States warned on Feb 25 that the outbreak could cause a “severe disruption” to the lives of ordinary Americans. In Canada, chief medical officer of health Teresa Tam said on Feb

Proposed protocol to keep COVID-19 out of hospitals

At-home testing and monitoring of possible COVID-19 cases could ease pressure on hospitals and emergency services and prevent the spread of infection, say experts. Public health officials, hospital leaders and paramedics in the Champlain Local Health Integration Network in Ontario are working on a protocol to do just that. Under the proposed protocol, people suspected to have COVID-19 would be assessed, swabbed and monitored at home by specially trained paramedics in protective equipment.

When Black medical students weren’t welcome at Queen’s

In 1918, the Queen’s University senate voted to ban Black students from enrolling in its medical school. At the time, around 15 Black men were enrolled, representing one of the highest proportions of Black students of any medical school in the country, according to Edward Thomas, a cultural studies PhD candidate at Queen’s. While those students weren’t immediately forced out, they were strongly encouraged to leave by administrators. The ban emboldened racist sentiment on campus – white students

It’s complicated: the ethics of pandemic preparedness and response

Ross Upshur decided to focus his research on the ethics of pandemic response when he was working in public health during the SARS outbreak of 2003. Currently the head of the division of clinical public health at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and associate director of the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute at Sinai Health, Dr. Upshur has published numerous papers on pandemic ethics. He’s also consulted with the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Border

Turns out 37C isn’t normal body temperature after all

In case parents needed to hear another thing we’ve been getting wrong all along, researchers from Stanford University published a study recently that suggests we might need to rethink what we’ve been told are normal and fever temperatures. The study analyzed databases from the mid 1800s to 2017, and found that humans’ normal body temperatures are now running almost 0.5 degrees Celsius cooler, compared to the 1800s. This means that normal human body temperature isn’t the 37C or 98.6F that most o

AI in health care: improving outcomes or threatening equity?

Scientists warn that the unexamined use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care could result in worse health outcomes for marginalized people. Recently, a panel of experts gathered at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto to discuss the risks that AI poses to health equity. Dr. Ruha Benjamin, an associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, explained that computer algorithms often produce bias because “human decisions comprise the data and shape the design...

We’re way past the point of preventing climate change, it's time to adapt

In climate change research, adaptation used to be a dirty word. Twenty years ago, when the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC) was formed at the University of Regina, environmental research groups refused the centre’s research funds, recounts David Sauchyn, senior research scientist at PARC. “At the time, people argued we can still prevent climate change and everyone who advocates adaptation is giving up,” he says. In his 1992 book on climate change, former U.S. vice-president Al Go

Nausea-inducing illness caused by cannabis still underdiagnosed

Emergency doctors in the Greater Toronto Area say cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is going underdiagnosed and there isn’t enough public awareness of the condition. Dr. Lloyd Gordon, an emergency physician at Humber River Hospital, says he often sees one patient a shift with the condition. “You look at their history and they’ve had ultrasounds, CAT scans, and nowhere does it say that the patient was advised to stop smoking marijuana,” he says.

Are too many babies getting tongue-tie surgery?

Ilana Shapiro* describes breastfeeding her first baby as a nightmare. Not only did her nipples hurt while nursing, but the pain lasted for two hours afterward, due to vasospasms—when the blood vessels in the nipple tighten and spasm. “The pain was so bad that I couldn’t sleep. Then, just as the pain started to go away, she wanted to be fed again,” says the mother of two, who lives in Toronto. Six weeks postpartum, Shapiro found herself, at the advice of friends, at the Jack Newman breastfeeding

Is the culture of medicine contributing to miscarriages among female physicians?

When Dr. Ayesha Khan had a miscarriage after years of struggling with infertility, she didn’t mention it to colleagues or miss a beat at work. Khan, a clinical assistant professor in emergency medicine at Stanford University, now thinks that type of silence could be preventing pregnant doctors from understanding the potential risks of night shifts and long hours in early pregnancy and from seeking accommodations they may need. At the recent FemInEM Idea Exchange conference in New York City, Kh
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