In a pandemic situation, resources in intensive care units may be stretched to the breaking point, and critical care triage may become necessary. In such a situation, I argue that a patient's combined vulnerability to illness and social disadvantage should be a justification for giving that patient some priority for critical care. In this article I present an example of a critical care triage protocol that recognizes the moral relevance of vulnerability to illness and social disadvantage, from the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This study investigated suicides by people aged ten to 19 in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1977 to 1988. It is the first study of suicide in the province to use the records of death from all eight hospital pathology departments in the province and from the office of the Chief Forensic Pathologist. Cases were selected for the study using standardized criteria, independent of the manner of death recorded on the death certificate. A suicide rate of 4.37 per 100,000 was found. This rate and the age- and sex-specific suicide rates are lower than the official figures for Canada but higher than those reported in earlier Newfoundland studies. The rate for males was nearly five times the female rate, and the rate for people aged 15 to 19 was nearly six times that of people aged ten to 14. Suicide rates for Labrador were higher than for the island portion of the province for both Native and for non Native adolescents. Extremely high rates of suicide were found only among the Native population living in Northern Labrador, while none were recorded for Native people elsewhere. Firearms accounted for 54% and hanging for 33% of all suicides. Thirty percent of suicides occurred on a Saturday. Only 36 of the 63 deaths included in this study were designated as suicide on death certificates. The higher rate of under-reporting of suicide than in other jurisdictions suggests that official rates may not be useful for comparisons. The reasons for the high rate of under-reporting are discussed.
Adverse drug events (ADEs) occurring in the community and treated in emergency departments (EDs) have not been well studied.
To determine the prevalence, severity, and preventability of ADEs in patients presenting at EDs in 2 university-affiliated tertiary care hospitals in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
A retrospective chart review was conducted on a stratified random sample (n = 1458) of adults (> or =18 y) who presented to EDs from January 1 to December 31, 2005. Prior to the chart review, the sample frame was developed by first eliminating visits that were clearly not the result of an ADE. The ED summary of each patient was initially reviewed by 2 trained reviewers in order to identify probable ADEs. All eligible charts were subsequently reviewed by a clinical team, consisting of 2 pharmacists and 2 ED physicians, to identify ADEs and determine their severity and preventability.
Of the 1458 patients presenting to the 2 EDs, 55 were determined to have an ADE or a possible ADE (PADE). After a sample-weight adjustment, the prevalence of ADEs/PADEs was found to be 2.4%. Prevalence increased with age (0.7%, 18-44 y; 1.9%, 45-64 y; 7.8%, > or =65 y) and the mean age for patients with ADEs was higher than for those with no ADEs (69.9 vs 63.8 y; p
The Argentia region of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, was home to a US naval base during a 40-year period between the 1940s and the 1990s. Activities on the base resulted in contamination of the soil and groundwater in the region with chemicals such as heavy metals and dioxins, and residents have expressed concern about higher rates of cancer in their community. This study investigated the rate of cancer diagnosis that is disproportionately high in the Argentia region.
Cases of cancer diagnosed between 1985 and 2011 were obtained for the Argentia region, two comparison communities, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Crude and age-standardized incidence rates of cancer diagnosis were calculated and compared. The crude incidence rate was adjusted for differences in age demographics using census data, and age-standardized incidence rates were compared.
Although the Argentia region had a higher crude rate of cancer diagnosis, the age-standardized incidence rate did not differ significantly from the comparison communities or the provincial average. Argentia has an aging population, which may have influenced the perception of increased cancer diagnosis in the community.
We did not detect an increased burden of cancer in the Argentia region.
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Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition affecting 2% to 3% of the population and is associated with several comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, mood disorder, psoriatic arthritis, and weight gain. Psoriasis is treated with a number of topical and systemic therapies, including biologic drugs that directly target proinflammatory cytokines. This cross-sectional retrospective study investigated comorbid conditions reported in the Newfoundland and Labrador psoriasis population, outcomes associated with therapeutic treatment, and use of health care resources. Of the psoriasis comorbidities investigated, psoriatic arthritis was significantly associated with the use of biologic therapy while a failure to respond to biologics was associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. Patients responsive to biologic treatment had fewer hospital stays than patients treated with other therapies. Our results suggest that biologic therapies have a cardioprotective effect and reduce the number of hospital visits in patients whose symptoms are responsive to treatment.
Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) is a novel adipokine that likely contributes to systemic insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. The role of genetic variations in RBP4 on phenotypes of glucose and lipid metabolism is not clear in humans. The purpose of this study was to examine five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the RBP4 gene to determine their relationship with markers of insulin resistance and serum lipids in the CODING Study. The CODING Study consists of 1,836 subjects recruited from the genetically homogeneous population of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada. Serum glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA(IR)), HOMA for beta cell function (HOMA(beta)), total cholesterol (Chol), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and triglycerides were determined after a 12-h fast. Five SNPs within RBP4 (rs3758539, G/A 5' flanking region; rs61461737, A/G intron; rs10882280, C/A intron; rs11187545, A/G intron; and rs12265684, C/G intron) were genotyped using TaqMan validated or functionally tested SNP genotyping assays. After correcting for multiple testing, we observed a significant association between the minor allele of two noncoding SNPs (rs10882280 and rs11187545) and higher serum HDL-C (P = 0.043 and 0.042, respectively). No significant associations were observed with any other parameter related to lipid metabolism. We also found no significant association between any variant sites and markers of insulin resistance. Our results suggest that genetic variations in RBP4 may play a role in the differences in serum HDL-C levels in the NL population.