good guys

      Hammy and Hector
      During his career as a rural GP, Dr Haynes referred many
      difficult orthopaed...
good guys
                                                                                                 council on
to g...
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British Columbia Medical Journal, October 2010 issue: Good Guys - Hammy and Hector


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British Columbia Medical Journal, October 2010 issue

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British Columbia Medical Journal, October 2010 issue: Good Guys - Hammy and Hector

  1. 1. good guys Hammy and Hector During his career as a rural GP, Dr Haynes referred many difficult orthopaedic cases to the expert care of Dr Hammy Boucher and Dr Hector Gillespie at VGH, including a patient badly injured in a remote plane crash in 1961. Sterling Haynes, MD the pedicles of the lumbar and sacral Don’t want to hear no troubles—jist spine. The procedure was innovative give me the positives,” said Joe. hough Hammy Boucher and and hastened early recovery when a “Here, I’ll help load your stuff in the T his partner Hector Gillespie were both superb orthopaedic surgeons, they were the antithesis of back fusion was necessary. It is still being used today. As a GP in Williams Lake, I re- back of my plane. Then we’ll be off like a dirty shirt to One-Eyed Lake.” Once we were in the air Joe asked each other. Hammy was a hard man, ferred most of my difficult cases to me to find the section of the maps that stern and sometimes distant. He ate up Hammy or Hec. In 1961, on a Tuesday showed One-Eyed Lake. I searched interns and residents at Vancouver (my day off) in May, I was called to go the back of the plane but that topo- General Hospital and Shaughnessy to One-Eyed Lake in the Chilcotin graphical map section was gone. In Veteran Hospital every morning for region, a few miles from the Puntzi the hazy smoke from forest fires we breakfast, at rounds, and later in the US Air Force Base. A light plane had searched, flying at 300 feet west of the day as a nightly snack. Hec was an crashed with three people aboard, Puntzi Mountain US Air Force Base affable, chunky man with a great bed- until we heard and saw a man on a side manner, a good teacher, and the small lake firing shotgun shells. It was football doc for the BC Lions profes- We walked about Cappy. He waved us in and we landed sional football club. Hammy was a half a mile and heard on One-Eyed Lake. tall, powerfully built man as well, but With the US sergeant medic, a PFC screaming, and then we to him orthopaedic surgery was no soldier from Puntzi Mountain, and joking matter. Both men had perfect- saw the front end and two young Native lads, we set down ed the no-touch technique while in the the prop buried in the trail with Cappy in the lead. We surgical theatre—tissue and bone were walked about half a mile and heard the mud. handled only with sterile instruments screaming, and then we saw the front during all procedures. This method end and the prop buried in the mud. I was very difficult to learn by junior and Cappy Lloyd, the radio-telephone was the first one there and the boys residents who didn’t have powerful operator at the One-Eyed Lake Lodge, followed with all the medical equip- hands. Jokesters say an orthopaedic asked me to go to the wreck immedi- ment. The sergeant carried the Thomas surgeon has to be as strong as an ox… ately. I gathered my bag, Thomas splints and mesh metal stretcher. I and twice as smart. Both these men splints, yards of bandaging and dress- managed to pry open the door and were strong but they were very smart ings, and 10 litres of IV fluids, and found Jack, the pilot, dead. Kenny medically as well. Hammy, in 1959, soon I was at the dock by Colonel Joe’s Huston was still strapped in the co- devised and perfected a procedure float plane on Williams Lake. Joe, a pilot’s seat and Jack’s teenage son was called the “Boucher fusion,” which southerner, had been a US fighter pilot sitting on sleeping bags at the back of was a transluminar screw fixation of on the Burma Road in the Second the plane nursing his ankle. Kenny’s World War. Joe was getting ready for scalp was on the dashboard. I remem- Dr Haynes is a retired general practitioner the trip and was gassing up his Cess- ber throwing Kenny’s bagged tomato living in West Kelowna. He has published a na 180 by hand from a 45 gallon drum sandwich on the floor and stuffing his book entitled Wake-Up Call: Tales From a of high octane fuel when I arrived. scalp in the brown bag and putting it Frontier Doctor, available through “What do ya know good Doc? in my pocket. All five of us managed 410 BC MEDICAL JOURNAL VOL. 52 NO. 8, OCTOBER 2010
  2. 2. good guys council on to gently get Kenny onto the pad- health promotion ded metal wire stretcher, and I placed one leg in a Thomas splint for his badly fractured femur. Then Health Canada allows 10 000 unproven I threaded two intra-catheters into each broken arm’s veins. The two remedies onto shelves young men carried the bottles of ecent industry concerns over The current NHP regulations came saline. Cappy assisted the young lad out of the plane and helped him hobble back to the lodge. A R Health Canada’s backlog of roughly 10 000 so-called nat- ural remedies awaiting pre-market into force in 2004 at which time Health Canada had an estimated 40 000 natural health product applica- few hundred yards along the trail review1 have not gone unheeded by tions to review and provide licences Kenny stopped breathing and I intu- Health Canada. In a move reminiscent for, and manufacturers had 6 years to bated him on the muddy path. Then of a Kafka novel, the nation’s fore- meet Health Canada’s requirements. his sterterous breathing reassured most health protection agency has Health Canada now says it will not be me as we carried Kenny along the decided to address the bottleneck enforcing the now-passed 1 April swampy lakeshore. posed by an already woefully lax 2010 deadline. The agency states that While we were away Colonel screening process by simply exempt- about 60% of applications it received Joe had gassed up the plane in antic- ing products from such review alto- have been processed. For the remain- ipation of flying the injured back to gether for at least a couple of years. ing 11 000 NHP applications received Williams Lake. For more than a decade, products but not yet assessed, Health Canada “Doc, what say we strap Kenny such as herbal, homeopathic, and sim- on 4 August introduced the Natural to one of the pontoons? We don’t ilar remedies have been granted spe- Health Products (Unprocessed Prod- have room in my plane.” cial regulatory status as natural health uct Licence Applications) Regula- “Colonel Joe, are you out of products (NHPs). Manufacturers are tions. These state that these products your mind? I’ll get the RCMP’s permitted to market these NHPs using can remain for sale to Canadians dur- large Beaver aircraft to fly down claims that they produce health bene- ing the 21/2 years the agency believes from Prince George. When you get fits. Currently, the standard proof of it will take to apply the existing weak back to Williams Lake notify the safety and effectiveness that applies review standards for safety, efficacy, hospital matron, Doreen Campbell, to this class of products is far lower and quality. The benefits of this ex- of our problems and we’ll be back than those that apply to regular med- emption will be huge—as far as pro- in three or four hours.” ications. Furthermore, once proper ducers are concerned. Health Canada “OK, Doc.” testing is done, almost all of these recently estimated the retail value of We had a great trip back in the products fail to show compelling proof the unapproved natural health prod- Beaver. My partner, John Hunt, and of efficacy, including products already ucts at between $200 to $930 million.2 I in the War Memorial hospital on the market. Indeed, even after claims The bottom line is that thousands splinted some of the 43 fractures of health benefits are disproved, the of products remain unapproved by and transfused Kenny with six units products continue to be sold. Health Canada but are still openly of blood. I retrieved the scalp from The problem of inadequate stan- sold to unsuspecting Canadians, who my brown sandwich bag and re- dards is compounded by the lack of might well believe that Health Cana- attached it with many stitches. At resources at Health Canada to review da wouldn’t allow anything into stores dawn the next day Kenny was trans- and process a backlog of marketing unless it truly was safe and effective. ferred by an Air-Sea Rescue Grum- applications. At the end of 2009, pharmacy regula- man flying boat to the Richmond This is not to say that unapproved tors concerned for patient health and docks and then to VGH under natural products aren’t on the shelves. safety instructed pharmacies across the care of Hammy. Kenny was to They are, but producers are concerned the county to stop selling unapproved remain a patient in VGH for three that Health Canada might demand natural health products. Health Cana- years. Kenny returned to town with that unapproved products be removed da’s maneuver appears to sidestep no crutches, and after a long 40 from the marketplace. Although such the concerns by neatly declaring those months, married Doreen Campbell, a move might seem to be common same products “approved pending the hospital matron. Ken’s recov- sense to those concerned about review.” ery was due to the great treatment consumer protection, Health Canada The proposal to defer the weak re- provided by Hammy and Hec and appears to have taken a different view process that exists within Health the resident staff of VGH. approach. Continued on page 416 VOL. 52 NO. 8, OCTOBER 2010 BC MEDICAL JOURNAL 411