The Great Canadian Fart Survey

For instance, one man with this problem had 141 rectal expulsions in four hours after drinking two quarts of milk! Surely a feat for The Guinness Book of Records. Here’s a Trivial Pursuit question you might fail. Did you know that rectal gas is potentially explosive. One patient was undergoing a sigmoidoscopic examination for removal of a polyp in the large bowel. When the bowel was cauterized to control bleeding the collection of gas caused an explosion. This resulted in a six inch tear in the intestine and the force blew the doctor across the room . The patient had ignored advice to take an enema to remove gas prior to the procedure. Everyone has experienced being present at a dinner party, needing to pass flatus and wishing to be in the Sahara desert. But retaining gas may cause harm. Dr. Wynne-Jones a New Zealand physician claims being polite results in herniations of the bowel (diverticulosis) due to constant pressure from the gas. He advises patients to pass flatus whenever necessary. But he makes no mention of whether he’s ever invited a second time to dinner parties.

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Canadian Association of Gastroenterology: Open Letter to Canadians

It is time we got our priorities straight. Surprisingly, in developing its wait list reform of the Canadian health care system, Paul Martin’s government overlooked digestive disease. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has sent a call to action to Prime Minister Paul Martin, urging him to include digestive disease as a health-care priority and ensure Canadian patients obtain necessary and timely access to our specialists. Canadian gastroenterologists are already out of the starting block. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology has done its homework, talked to patients, and is now armed with information that will be crucial in improving the Canadian health care system. We have developed 24 recommended targets for medically-acceptable wait times for gastroenterology, based on a study conducted by nearly 200 Canadian GI specialists who captured data on 5,500 patient visits. We are ready to work with Canadians to make Paul Martin’s government pay attention. We are not looking for handouts. The simple infusion of federal dollars into the health care system is a band-aid solution. We must now go further, as a society. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology proposes to work hand-in-hand with Paul Martin’s government to develop the creative strategies that will finally allow us to bring wait times to acceptable levels. The federal government’s wait time initiative must be adapted in the face of current realities. We can no longer accept the unnecessary prolongation of suffering. The lives of Canadians are at risk. The time to reprioritize is now.

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Waits are excessive for digestive checkups

The association’s study of 5,500 patient visits to nearly 200 Canadian gastroenterologists shows that 70 per cent of patients referred by family doctors wait more than two months to see a gastroenterologist and have a diagnostic test, while 50 per cent wait more than four months and 20 per cent wait more than 10 months. Continued Below Among these patients, more than one-third have alarm symptoms, which may indicate serious underlying disease such as cancer. Even patients classified as urgent are waiting two to five times longer than best practice targets recommend. Dr. Desmond Leddin, the association president and an associate professor of medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, calls the situation “unacceptable.” “We are able to see patients in a time frame that expert review would suggest is only appropriate 20 per cent of the time. There really is a severe problem in terms of wait times for gastroenterology and consultations.” Based on the results of the study, Leddin has asked Prime Minister Paul Martin to incorporate gastroenterology as a priority into the federal government’s program to reduce waiting times. “Patients are suffering while they’re on wait lists,” Leddin says. “And we quite frankly don’t understand why the first ministers and the federal government have identified five areas as a priority for wait time management but gastroenterology is not on that list.” Those five key areas are: cancer treatment, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration. A simple cash infusion to bolster human and technical resources will not remedy the current wait list situation, Leddin says. “Canadian gastroenterologists will need to work hand-in-hand with federal and provincial governments … and move toward the improved use of these resources. “We hope that by 2008 patients with digestive symptoms should not have to wait more than eight weeks to see a gastroenterologist.” With files from The Medical Post.

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