The News – 2 Oct 2014

Overview

  • A man who became infected with Ebola in Liberia and travelled to Texas is the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in the United States, health officials have confirmed.
  • A mother whose 10-year-old son suffers from a rare form of epilepsy has backed a de-registered doctor’s drive to treat the condition with medical cannabis.
  • AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said … that hard-fought investment in Australia’s future medical workforce was being wasted as State and Territory Governments fail to provide sufficient intern places for Australian medical graduates.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 2nd October 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-01/us-health-officials-confirm-its-first-case-of-ebola/5780910

A man who became infected with Ebola in Liberia and travelled to Texas is the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in the United States, health officials have confirmed.

The director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Thomas Frieden, told a press conference that the patient left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the US the following day.

Dr Frieden described the patient as a visitor to family in the United States.

Dr Frieden, who has briefed president Barack Obama on the case, said results from “highly accurate” testing proved positive for the Ebola virus.

While admitting that is it “certainly possible” that someone who had contact with the patient could develop Ebola in the coming weeks, the spokesman said he had “no doubt” that the US would control the importation of Ebola.

The patient is the first to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, although a handful of US medical workers who were infected in West Africa were flown back to the US for treatment, and have since recovered.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-30/medical-cannabis-mother-of-epileptic-boy-calls-for-rethink/5780010

A mother whose 10-year-old son suffers from a rare form of epilepsy has backed a de-registered doctor’s drive to treat the condition with medical cannabis.

Lorraine Hunter’s son Hunter Elwell has dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes severe seizures and is resistant to most anti-seizure medications.

Hunter’s seizures were so dangerous he was regularly flown to hospital and given adult doses of painkillers like Fentanyl and morphine.

But now Ms Hunter says hash oil supplied by doctor Andrew Katelaris has transformed the boy’s life.

Dr Katelaris has a conviction for growing marijuana and has been spurned by the medical establishment since being deregistered for taking and supplying cannabis and other drugs in December 2005.

He is now running a trial supplying hash oil to 12 children with rare forms of epilepsy.

Ms Hunter gives the oil to her son by putting it in a syringe and feeding it into his stomach through a tube – the same way he gets all of his food.

“In the 18 months he’s been on it, he hasn’t had one paramedic call for seizures at all and he hasn’t had a stay for seizures in hospital,” Ms Hunter, from the New South Wales Central Coast, said.

“There were times he was in hospital for three months because he was having a seizure every 30 seconds.

“He probably has about four or five seizures a month now, and what was it before? Up to 20 to 30 a day. And that was on a good day.”

Dr Katelaris says he is unconcerned about how his work would be viewed by his former peers.

Professor Iain McGregor, a veteran drug researcher from Sydney University, says while there are risks with using marijuana brought off the street … the conditions they are treating are so serious immediate use is justified.

He is also urging extensive research into other areas where cannabis may be effective.

He says the “holy grail” would be a strain of marijuana that was medically useful but did not get users stoned.

There have been more than 90 studies of medical marijuana worldwide, but Professor Talley says he believes the evidence is still inconclusive.

https://ama.com.au/media/investment-future-medical-workforce-being-wasted

AMA Vice President, Dr Stephen Parnis, said … that hard-fought investment in Australia’s future medical workforce was being wasted as State and Territory Governments fail to provide sufficient intern places for Australian medical graduates.

Dr Parnis said the National Medical Intern Data Management Working Group has advised that up to 240 Australian graduates may not be offered a State or Territory intern position in 2015.

“There are many Australian communities, particularly in rural and regional Australia, that are in desperate need of doctors.

“It is a shameful waste of a vital resource if we have hundreds of medical graduates unable to become doctors because of short-sighted governments.” Dr Parnis said.

Dr Parnis said that planning for sufficient intern places must be part of the forthcoming review of medical intern training proposed by the Standing Council on Health earlier this year.

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