News | DrumhellerMail - Page #11
Last updateWed, 01 Jul 2020 12pm

Dear COVID-19:

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Dear COVID-19:
     A few weeks ago I recommended readers get their online information from reliable sources: epidemiologists, infectious disease specialists, or the medical officer of health, for example. Not from random covIdiots with too much time on their hands and very little between their ears. I stand by that suggestion.
    Today, I’m writing about social media and its negative impact on our wellbeing. A wellbeing we must work hard to preserve during COVID-19.
    A couple weeks ago, I deleted my Facebook account. I’ve gone on “Facebook holidays” in the past - during high stake exams, for example - since I find it distracting more often than not. This time, I left for good. As much as I love seeing photos of my friends, their kids, or their adventures, Facebook has become more of a platform for keyboard warriors to launch their missiles without fear of retaliation.
    I believe in freedom of speech, but when did anyone’s opinion on anything become valid? I certainly wouldn’t walk onto a construction site and start telling an electrician what to do: that’s what a contractor is for. Likewise, I wouldn’t expect a contractor to tell me how to stitch up a wounded patient. There is expertise in the world and that’s how things get done as safe as possible. Yet, somehow, the concept of expertise seems to be replaced more and more by the loud voices on social media.
    I was part of so many groups - movements of all sorts masquerading as information pages - that I inevitably found myself worked up and frustrated every time I logged in. People engage in less inhibited communication, which leads to unproductive battles that have no end goal except to get likes. You cannot negotiate effectively via Facebook messages because you don’t even have to be responsible for anything your write - you can just put it out there and watch others comment. How can solutions ever be found?
    Some of you will say: just leave those groups then and keep your friends only. Sure, but what about the news and the ads? The ones Facebook posts or your friends share? These also impress on the reader positions and arguments without actually sitting down and discussing them. Then you have to deal with the headline warriors - the ones who spread headlines with no critical analysis of what’s said in the article. Energy and time lost with no productive endgame, and your brain easily manipulated by what’s been shared. You can find anything to support any opinion you might have on social media. Anything. Something we call confirmation bias.  
    The worst part is, every single keyboard warrior imagines him or herself an expert. They feel entitled and superior, even to the experts, because they’ve read a few articles on the subject. Or a few headlines. They get pleasure from baleful trolling and criticizing others on the internet.
    During these COVID-19 times, there has been an influx of keyboard warriors and realizing I can’t change them (you just can’t reason with stupid), best to take control of its negative impact by removing myself from forums where I’m forced to interact with them. What a waste of time and energy. If the world worked together and used that hateful energy toward finding a vaccine, we’d have one already.

Dear COVID-19 is a weekly column supplied by
Drs. Rithesh and Veronique Ram

Petition circulating for extended surgery services

Patrick Kolafa
The Drumheller Mail
    A local doctor has begun a petition asking for support in negotiations with Alberta Health Services central zone for extended obstetrical and surgical privileges in Drumheller.
David Liknes 41  

 Dr. David Liknes posted the petition on last week in hopes the Drumheller Health Center could provide more support for obstetrical emergencies including cesarean sections and could do more minor procedures and colon cancer screening here in Drumheller.
    He says currently the Drumheller Health Centre offers many of these services already.
    “We have two people that deal with obstetrical emergencies in town, and we have one person that works as a general surgeon in town,” he explains. “They have given me limited obstetrical privileges for cesarean sections at this point, but not for laparoscopic tubals, which is something that you would do in case of someone having an ectopic pregnancy.”
    “The gap we are trying to fill is primarily that our OR is operating at a reasonably good capacity but there is the potential to add another person to fill in approximately one day a week that would actually make us much more efficient and optimize the staffing we have now,” he said. “With me coming in, I am not adding new services, I am helping to make the services we have more efficient.
    According to his petition, he has worked in Drumheller since 2016 as a family physician. In 2018 in discussions with the surgical and obstetrical teams in Drumheller it was decided that having an additional physician to support the services in Drumheller.  He took a one-year sabbatical from practice in Drumheller and did extra training in a nationally accredited program in Enhanced Surgical Skills for family physicians. Since returning to Drumheller, the medical administration in Central Zone has been resistant to granting privileges to use the skills he trained for.
    He said the addition would alleviate some of the backlogs of surgical procedures at the  Drumheller Health Centre.
    “From a surgical standpoint, we have one general surgeon here, and he is on call 365 days a year. There are different points when he has to go out of town to do locums and keep his skills up in other places, so I would help that by having someone with surgical expertise.  While I am not a full general surgeon, I am a family physician with enhanced surgical skills, I could support that aspect of our care here, as well as increase the volume and the number of cesarean sections, hernia operations, carpal tunnel surgeries we are able to do in town,” he said. “These are being done in town but we could decrease the wait times and give our hospital the opportunity to do more procedures here.”
    He says they are currently negotiating with the Central Zone for this change.  If unsuccessful they could go to the  Chief Medical Officer.
    “From their standpoint, they are probably doing what they feel is right now, there are lots of opinions, but I think it’s hard for people outside the community to really determine what resources are needed and useful and can be done in a financially prudent fashion. We have taken the time to make the case this can be done with the finances we have now, with minimal extra. It primarily makes it a more efficient system we have here.”
    His request will be heard in the middle of June. To show support go to
    “Hopefully this helps to sway the decision in a positive direction,” he said, “I respect the fact that Alberta Health Services is trying their best to support our community.”

Comstock earns prestigious teaching award

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    A young Drumheller man followed his dream of becoming a teacher and is excelling in his field.
     Nathan Comstock, son of Craig and Tina was just awarded the  Edwin Parr Award. This is a prestigious award presented by the Alberta School Board Association (ASBA) to an outstanding first-year teacher.
    “I decided to go into teaching in Grade 9. Ms. Bzdel kind of inspired me and made education fun and something I  looked forward to every day,” said Comstock. Before that, I was kind of struggling in school.”
    He found success in learning and also helping his friends when they were in school.  This motivated him to pursue studying education.
    Comstock graduated from St. Anthony’s School and went to the University of Lethbridge to study Education and History. He completed his teaching practicums in Brooks, Tilley, and Raymond. After graduation, his career brought him to Brooks Junior High School where he teaches language arts and social studies. He has also taken an active role in coaching sports teams.
    “I also teach an option called Activity Option where the kids get to play and learn a variety of sports and sportsmanship,” he said.
    He is one of six teachers in the province selected for the award, and he will be presented his award at the ASBA  Fall General Meeting in November.   
    Comstock will be returning to Brooks Junior High School in the fall.


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