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All in a day’s work (or perhaps a couple of weeks)
“        o, are you enjoying being         short notice becaus...

      Continued from page 389                           brain injury. All sport has its own inher-
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All in a day’s work (or perhaps a couple of weeks) - The BCMA President


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British Columbia Medical Journal, October 2010 issue

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All in a day’s work (or perhaps a couple of weeks) - The BCMA President

  1. 1. comment All in a day’s work (or perhaps a couple of weeks) “ o, are you enjoying being short notice because of reporter dead- see more brain injury prevention pro- S BCMA president? What is it like?” To frequent questions such as this, lines. It can be quiet for several weeks and then there will be a flurry of act- ivity all in one day, usually when an grams and more effective methods of assessing brain injury in our emer- gency departments. Regarding the lat- I would say “fascinating, satisfying, issue grabs the media’s attention. ter, I am working on a pilot project challenging, and more.” The BCMA Most reporters are respectful, howev- intended to improve the quality and is a well-integrated group of teams er they do like to polarize the news to consistency of the assessment patients including the Executive Office, Pro- increase the level of audience interest. receive when they present in BC hospi- fessional Relations, Policy and Eco- tal emergency departments after trau- nomics, Negotiations, Communica- matic brain injury. Our small group tions, Finance, Benefits, and Member Most reporters are has met with interested and knowl- Services. The work is varied and can respectful, however they edgeable experts, including represen- change on very short notice. tatives from ICBC, and a second meet- do like to polarize the My practice is compressed into 2 ing is forthcoming to discuss a draft days per week with the remaining time news to increase the assessment flowchart, intake forms, spent at the BCMA office. My patients level of audience patient information forms, and how to and my office assistant, Rosemary, ensure good communication with the interest. have been very understanding and patient’s family doctor. We will then supportive of my taking a turn at this decide on the appropriate terms of ref- leadership. While president-elect, I was invit- erence for any committee work that Once weekly, I meet with the sen- ed to speak to the BCMA staff. During will be carried forward and report that ior staff of the BCMA to keep abreast the question period, someone asked if to the Board of Directors. of Association issues, plus I have other I had a special project to undertake With respect to brain injury pre- meetings with staff, physician mem- during my presidency. For some time vention, the BCMA’s resolution sup- bers, government officials, and indi- I have had an interest in the comput- porting a ban on mixed martial arts viduals from stakeholder organiza- erized assessment of cognitive ability (MMA) fighting in Canada somehow tions. Responding to e-mail and phone and have noticed that there is a wide came to the attention of a Vancouver calls usually has to fit in around the variation in findings and that there are newspaper 2 weeks before it was to other tasks. Media interview requests often long delays in the identification be brought to CMA’s General Council can bump other plans and are often on of significant impairment. I’d like to Continued on page 390 GPAC clinical practice guidelines are now available in iPod Touch and iPhone format — FREE! This free application contains over 30 clinical practice guidelines in abridged format. It serves as a condensed, portable companion to the full clinical practice guidelines found at, where over 50 guidelines are available in a range of formats. Download app from: By BC physicians, for BC physicians VOL. 52 NO. 8, OCTOBER 2010 BC MEDICAL JOURNAL 389
  2. 2. comment Continued from page 389 brain injury. All sport has its own inher- meeting. The story (and subsequent ent risks; however the intent of these ones) generated a visceral reaction from competitive team sports is very differ- Recently many MMA fans and a request to meet ent than the intent of MMA, plus these deceased with an MMA representative. After players are padded and helmeted. And our meeting, in which he wanted us to even though many sanctioned MMA physicians withdraw our resolution, all we could fights have a physician ringside, his or he following physicians agree upon was the common goal that the incidence of brain injuries must be reduced. her presence will not fundamentally reduce the risk of long-term brain damage to a fighter, even if the physi- T have died over the past 9 months; please consid- er submitting a piece for our cian does provide other worthwhile “In Memoriam” section in the The sole intent in an ringside medical care. BCMJ if you knew the deceased With the passing of this resolution well. MMA fight is to disable at CMA’s general council meeting by your opponent, which an 84% majority, it is now up to the Andrews, Dr William John includes by inducing CMA to advocate for a ban with fed- Baldwin, Dr John Henry eral legislators. In Canada, under Sec- Bartok, Dr Katalina a brain injury. tion 83 of the Criminal Code, prize Boxall, Dr Ernest Alfred fighting is illegal with exceptions made Brunton, Dr Lawrence Jackson Not surprisingly, there was debate for boxing (which the CMA voted to Chen, Dr Ferdinand at the BCMA caucus meeting when call for a national ban in 2002) and Chetwynd, Dr John Brian this resolution was first introduced, events authorized by provincial sports Dudley, Dr John Howard and even more debate at CMA’s Gen- commissions. MMA itself has been Duffy, Dr John Peter eral Council when it was presented banned in six provinces and territo- Findlay, Dr Ian Douglas for discussion. My argument among ries, however Ontario reversed its ban Goh, Dr Anthony Poh Seng media, physicians, and interest groups in August after strong lobbying. Our Kalyanpur, Dr Vasant Raghav has always been the concern with the role will be to provide expert opinion Lewis, Dr David John degree of violence in this sport and the to government about the risks to brain MacDonald, Dr Alan Angus risk for brain injury. The sole intent in health, if and when government de- Mackenzie, Dr Conrad an MMA fight is to disable your oppo- cides to consider the Canadian Med- McAdam, Dr Ronald nent, which includes by inducing a ical Association’s recommendation. McCannel, Dr John Arthur brain injury. We know that repeated Debating this issue has been chal- McDaniel, Dr Bernard Minshull brain injuries have long-term debilitat- lenging, eye opening, and at times Milobar, Dr Tony ing effects. Continuing research also frustrating. But being president of the Penny, Dr Helen Angela confirms the increased risk of neuro- BCMA means you don’t back down Percheson, Dr Peter Brady degenerative disease, and at an earlier when the going gets tough. I am proud Pinkerton, Dr Alexander Clyde age, after repeated concussion. We that I stuck to my principles and per- Puttick, Dr Michael Paul Ernest would not be doing our job if we sisted in working with those who had Queree, Dr Terence Candlish didn’t speak up on behalf of the brain objections, and in the end the position Selwood, Dr Michael health of Canadians. of our caucus was validated by a large Smaill, Dr William Donald Critics have wondered (somewhat majority of physician delegates at the Thomas, Dr Ifor Mackay sardonically) why we haven’t also CMA’s annual meeting. Tucker, Dr Frederick Gordon called for a ban on football, hockey, —Ian Gillespie, MD Van Schie, Dr Lisa or baseball, as they too have a risk of BCMA President 390 BC MEDICAL JOURNAL VOL. 52 NO. 8, OCTOBER 2010