The interview with Dr
Morgantaler in your January 15 issue (Vol 5, No
1) revealed quite clearly his belief that abortion has
resulted in a drop in crime. Firstly, this is dubious
and more importantly how can we condone the extermination
of innumerable fetuses on the presumption that if their
parenting is imperfect the child is destined for a life
of crime? A eugenic concept, no doubt grist for the
mill of the Nazi machine which Morgantaler thankfully
survived. Ironic indeed. I now challenge you to interview
an anti-abortion proponent say, Will Johnston
of Canadian Physicians for Life to at least give
a balanced view on this matter.
Dr Richard Poole,
As a family physician practicing
obstetrics, I am writing to express my appreciation
of your fair and balanced coverage of the Morgentaler
decision. It's interesting though not surprising
that men wrote four of the five anti-choice opinions
solicited in "Remembering
the Morgentaler decision" (January 15, 2008, Vol
5 No 1). This is a vivid reminder of why it's vital
that women should ultimately be in charge of their own
bodies and reproduction. It's thanks to the courageous
and selfless work of women and men like Henry Morgentaler
that we live in a just and humane society. We have a
long way to go before we achieve full economic and social
equality in Canada, but we're a lot further ahead than
we would be had it not been for the historic victory
won twenty years ago. I couldn't imagine practicing
family medicine in a society that condemned women to
illness, despair and possibly death as a result of lack
of reproductive choice.
Dr Adam Newman,
To coerce or legislate a person
to do something he or she believes is immoral or incorrect
is a contradiction of our Canadian Bill of Rights. To
maintain the integrity of our healthcare system physicians
must be autonomous moral agents. We should have the
right to refuse to refer a patient for a procedure,
which puts their life, or the life of another at risk
unless there is evidence based on scientific
literature that the patient's life would be 'better.'
There is no evidence that abortion improves quality
or quantity of life for a mother with an unplanned pregnancy.
Scientific research since 2005 shows that women who
have had induced abortions suffer a higher than average
rate of depression, suicide attempts, and non-accidental
death in addition to having a higher than average number
of pre-term, extremely low birth weight infants with
all their concomitant problems. In the 21st century
we need to build our medical practice on ethics and
evidence, not rhetoric and popular opinion.
Dr Deborah Zeni,
An open letter to Dr Morgantaler:
I read your interview in the National Review of Medicine.
All you state makes sense if you are correct in your
assertion that, with respect to women's health, "the
safety of women has increased a hundredfold." If by
aborting a fetus you have made women healthier, you
are indeed a hero. If you are wrong, you are one of
the greatest contributors to increasing rates of suicide,
breast cancer, mental illness, and smoking, etc, among
women. I have done careful studies, which show you are
terribly wrong. If I am wrong, I owe you and many women
an apology. If not, will you apologize?
Dr Philip G Ney,
There is a significant error in your "Oilsands
whistleblower MD cleared" (January 15, 2008, Vol
5 No 1) article. Alberta Health and Wellness did not
take part in filing any complaint against Dr O'Connor,
nor did we try to stop him from coming forward. To the
contrary, we have been trying for nearly two years (numerous
phone calls, emails and letters) to get him to come
forward with his clinical evidence to substantiate his
claims of five cases of cholangiocarcinoma in Ft Chipewyan.
To date, he still has not.
Howard May, Alberta
Health and Wellness
Although Alberta Health and Wellness is not officially
listed on the complaint filed against Dr O'Connor, their
employees continue to assist Health Canada in pursuing
action against him.
Contrary to the ministry's claims,
Dr O'Connor says he has never received emails, letters
or phone calls and the charge of "blocking access to
files" has been thrown out. The manager of the nursing
station where his patient's files are held has said
she is the one blocking file access.
I commend Dr Henry Coopersmith "Is
there a doctor on board?" (September 30, 2007, Vol
4, No 16) for taking action and sympathize with Dr Schemmer
in "Mile-high drudge" (Nov 15-30, 2007, Vol 4, No 19).
In the 90s my wife and I went on a holiday to the Far
East on Cathay Pacific. After a trip to the lavatory
I ended up attending to a man experiencing chest pain.
He seemed in a fair bit of distress, diaphoretic, but
the overriding concern of the airline staff was not
so much the man but whether they needed to divert the
airplane. He spoke no English, so it took a few minutes
and a trial of nitroglycerin to sort the issue out.
It turned out to be nothing more than some gastritis,
likely secondary to generous alcohol intake, from which
he obtained good relief from my personal supply of antacid.
It was just as well, as the medical kit with which I
was presented was woefully inadequate. As soon as we
established that the problem wasn't life-threatening
the staff disappeared. I wasn't offered so much as a
firm handshake, let alone any frequent flyer points,
and I never got back to sleep for the remainder of the
flight. With that sort of history, I suppose the airline
thinks 10,000 points is generous.
Dr Alan Lipson,
I thank you for reporting on initiatives such as Lifeline
Malawi in "Calgary
GP builds Malawi health from ground up" (December
15, 2007, Vol 4, No 20) and microfinance in "Give like
Santa and save (taxes) like Scrooge" (December 15, 2007,
Vol 4, No 20). Most physicians do 'live to serve,' and
we need to be given information about deserving initiatives
that are too small or too unconventional to attract
the big bucks. I would far rather contribute to innovative,
small ventures with big potential than many of the established
charities where my donation may not do much good.
Dr David Copeland,
- In "NS
docs must report gunshots" (January 15,
2008, Vol 5 No 1), we should have noted that
the Nova Scotia Legislature deleted all references
to stab wounds from the proposed legislation
and passed the Gunshot Wounds Mandatory Reporting
Act. Physicians aren't to report patients with
gunshot wounds directly to police; instead they
alert a "prescribed person" at their facility
that then alerts authorities.
- In "Older
MDs get break on CCFP written exam" (January
15, 2008, Vol 5 No 1), we incorrectly wrote
that the oral portion of the exam would still
be required for physicians who choose to pursue
the new alternative route to become Certificants
of the College of Family Physicians. In fact,
neither the written nor oral portions of the
exam will be required for those applicants.
Also, the program is expected to take six to
eight months to complete on a part-time basis,
not six to eight weeks. We apologize for the