JUNE 2008


Yet another media feature on David Suzuki made my heart sink ("Meet the 'greatest living Canadian,'" May 2008, Vol 5 No 5).

I don't have a particular problem with his basic position on environmental responsibility, but rather his strident criticisms and hypocritical stance. For him to sing the praises of Castro — who keeps Cuba in abject poverty and servitude while ordering around doctors for political benefit — while Dr Suzuki himself enjoys the freedom and beauty of his oceanfront house on Point Grey Road (minimum land value now $6,000,000,) just rankles.

He has benefited from a top-notch subsidized education system, won countless awards, had the media fawn all over him and become a multi-millionaire. For Dr Suzuki to then say his "brothers" are the most downtrodden people on Hastings and Main (whom I work with every day as a downtown psychiatrist) is just flat-out appalling.

Regarding his comments about Paris Hilton, I would simply say that people in glass houses, even those on Point Grey Road, shouldn't throw stones.

We must work hard to intelligently protect our environment. This does not mean publicizing and glorifying the likes of David Suzuki in your magazine.

Dr Stephen R Wiseman, Vancouver, BC

When asked about becoming a doctor at this stage in his life, Suzuki's response was "At my age, shoving my finger up men's asses to check their prostates is not an appealing thought" ("Meet the 'greatest living Canadian," May 2008, Vol 5 No 5). That's a pretty asinine answer coming from someone with godlike status. Maybe it's better that he sticks to worrying about his footprints. 

Dr Mark Wise, Toronto, ON

A friend of mine pointed out your piece "You must kill the skunk, doctor" (March 2008, Vol 5 No 3). Thank you for taking an interest in raising the issues I wrote about in "Curbside Ethics," for the Joint Centre for Bioethics's February newsletter. However, in my article I did not say that killing the skunk was "the only one [decision] an ethical physician can make." That would be preachy, and preachiness is one of those mythical traits bioethicists are trying hard to dispel.

Dr Mark Bernstein, Toronto, ON

In the "Best and worst of National Physician Survey 2007" table in the article "Family doctor outlook mostly grim: survey" (April 2008, Vol 5 No 4), note the following changes: Patient access to family physicians: Best - NS, NB; Access to advanced diagnostic service:  Worst - Saskatchewan, BC; Work-life balance satisfaction: Best - PEI, NB.

In "Revisiting SARS, five years later" (April 2008, Vol 5 No 4), Chief Public Health Officer Dr David Butler-Jones was misquoted as saying "in the case of influenza, we have a stockpile of anti-virals so the healthcare workers and their families can get immunized." Anti-virals do not confer immunity. NRM regrets the error.

Dr Andrew Pipe, in "Stop-smoking drug risks outweighed by benefits" (May 2008, Vol 5 No 5), is a family physician, not a cardiologist.


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