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Nova Scotia's new ultrasound college to work with private imaging clinics

Nova Scotia's new ultrasound college to work with private imaging clinicsNova Scotia's new college for ultrasound technicians is working to ensure non-medical ultrasounds are safe for mothers and babies. The efforts are being welcomed by the unregulated businesses that provide families with pictures and videos of their unborn babies. "I'm happy with the idea of any time you can be collaborative rather than adversarial. Everybody benefits, right?" said Julie Avery, president and registrar for the Nova Scotia College of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Professionals."I think this will be an example for the boards of other provinces to follow," said Tina Ureten, president of UC Baby, a private company with 28 ultrasound locations in Canada, including one in Halifax. Recreational, not medicalNova Scotia's Medical Imaging Act was proclaimed Sept. 9. It requires ultrasound technicians, also called medical diagnostic sonographers, to be licensed by their board in order to practice in the medical system. However, the act does not apply to non-medical ultrasound businesses. Those ultrasounds are not done for medical reasons, but to let expectant parents see images of their unborn baby and hear the heart beat. "The fathers, grandparents, siblings, they get thrilled in our ultrasound rooms. They jump from their seats, they kiss us, they kiss their wives, so it's always very emotional. A very, very happy environment," said Ureten.But now the college is working with the private sector to ensure the lines between celebration and medical care are not blurred. "Now that there's rules, you need to reach out to these people to make sure that they are aware, and to work with them, so that everybody's on the same page," Avery said. Serious possibilities Avery wants protocols in place in case a non-medical ultrasound reveals something of potential medical significance. For example, one of the private services offered is a sound recording of an unborn infant's heartbeat. "What if there is no heartbeat, how do you handle that situation?" Avery said. "How much information and how would they phrase that ensure that they're not giving out information they shouldn't be?" Avery said both sides are working on a protocol for when a mother's doctor should be quickly informed of something an ultrasound shows. Avery said there will also be work on standard language to avoid confusion about what different types of ultrasounds do. Ureten said that's already standard protocol in her clinics. "We just tell them this is not a replacement of your medical ultrasound. And it's not our job to make measurements and to tell your baby's size, or check the organs," Ureten said. "These are offered by hospital ultrasounds and you should not skip those."MORE TOP STORIES

Nova Scotia should lift some COVID-19 restrictions to help businesses, group says

Nova Scotia should lift some COVID-19 restrictions to help businesses, group saysAs COVID-19 numbers remain low in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce is calling for the province to relax some of the restrictions to help businesses survive.Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the chamber, said Nova Scotia has some of the lowest case numbers in the country and continent."The reality is we need to relax a little bit to allow businesses to operate effectively in what has become a special place in North America," Sullivan said Monday.He noted that now is an ideal time to make some changes, given that as of Monday there was one active case in the province, no new ones had been reported for six days, and Nova Scotia is the only Maritime province with mandatory masking in public places.Restrictions have also been eased to allow groups of 50 people to gather without social distancing for performing arts and sports, as of this Thursday.Restaurants should have more capacityBut, Sullivan said restaurants still have to enforce physical distancing which cuts down on how many customers they can seat at one time.As patios start to close up for the year, he said it would make a big difference to allow more people inside eateries.He would also like to see physical distance rules lifted for elevators. Since some buildings still only allow two people in an elevator at one time, Sullivan said many businesses can't send their entire staff back to their physical office spaces.Earlier this month, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission estimated in an informal survey that only 20 to 25 per cent of the regular workforce has returned to working in the downtown.In the past, Sullivan has called for the Atlantic bubble to be burst. On Monday he said that even with Ontario's current spike, the numbers work out to statistically eight people per 100,000, but he's stepping back from a focus on loosening border restrictions."We've got a great thing going in Nova Scotia. Let's at least relax some of the requirements here," he said.He said that he would still like to see changes at the Nova Scotia border.It would be ideal to see the province spend some of the $77.3 million for more testing and contact tracking that recently came in from the federal government, Sullivan said, to allow travellers to move in and out of the province more quickly.Also, Sullivan said bringing in tests at the airport or land border right away would make a big difference in people's ability to travel inter-provincially.More testing for workers, business travellersHe suggested having people be tested in their home province before travelling to Nova Scotia, then isolating for a few days before a second test a few days later, so they don't have to quarantine for the full 14 days.New Brunswick allows those who work in other provinces to come back without self isolating, while in P.E.I. workers returning home only need to self-isolate until they get a negative COVID-19 test. Newfoundland allows rotational workers to end their isolation after one week if they have a negative test.In Nova Scotia, rotational workers still have to self-isolate for 14 days when they come home. Although the tourism season is winding down, Sullivan has said that shops and restaurants could still benefit from business travellers, who booked 500,000 room nights in Nova Scotia last year.MORE TOP STORIES

Canadian military studies 'moral injuries' that haunt soldiers off the battlefield

Canadian military studies 'moral injuries' that haunt soldiers off the battlefieldOn the streets of Afghanistan in 2012, Canadian soldier Brian McKenna was training international teams to search vehicles for explosives. As his trainees searched, they would find scared children being trafficked against their will to parts unknown — and McKenna was powerless to stop it.  His team was ordered to search for bombs and the components to make explosives, nothing more. So with mounting frustration, his teams would let the cars go, carrying the children away to an unknown fate.    McKenna and his teams had no authority to arrest the perpetrators, as they weren't police officers and had no legal right to detain the people transporting the children. "You're just forced to see and admit that something really, really wrong is allowed to flourish. You can have a gun in your hand and feel unarmed. And that's a really odd situation for a soldier," he said.DND spending millions to study moral injuriesMcKenna has been diagnosed with a moral injury, a form of emotional and psychological damage that occurs when someone goes through a difficult experience that upsets their moral beliefs. And it's something the Department of National Defence is spending millions of dollars to research. DND wants to better understand how to diagnose moral injuries, prevent them, treat them, and learn what situations are likely to cause them.McKenna did his duty, he followed orders, but his conscience still paid the price. "I'm disappointed that I couldn't do anything. I'm embarrassed. It's a feeling of futility, like we're here working on helping build a dam while we're watching this other absolute crime happen," said McKenna, a retired warrant officer, who is now a senior advisor for veterans at the Canadian Centre of Excellence on PTSD. There are concerns that as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, more military personnel, health care workers, and other front line staff will suffer moral injuries, said Eric Fournier, the director general of innovation with DND. "We know a lot about post traumatic stress disorder, but moral injury, we know a lot less. That's why we decided to push forward with this challenge as many people have been encountering this type of situation in this crisis."    Dealing with difficult situationsHe said members of the military may have already been exposed to moral injury when hundreds of them went into long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec to help staff deal with outbreaks of COVID-19.  "[They] spent weeks, in some cases months, working in those facilities, and they were part of that response working with first responders, hospital workers, long-term care facilities workers," said Fournier.Many of those military personnel dealt with stressful and uncomfortable situations. Moral injuries can occur when someone doesn't act when they feel they should, when they witness others acting in a way they believe is morally wrong, or when a person feels betrayed in a high-stakes situation. A moral injury can cause a person to question who they are and if their lives have meaning, leading them to become depressed, have trouble sleeping, have difficulty thinking clearly, and have strong feelings of guilt and shame, according to Dr. Patrick Smith, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre of Excellence on PTSD at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The centre has been studying moral injuries, which he said are different from PTSD.    "It's not exposure to traumatic events that causes fear and anxiety, it's more the existential questioning," said Smith. During the pandemic there are many ways health care workers and soldiers could find themselves in situations that could result in a moral injury. For example, said Smith, some hospital workers may have had to hold the phone for COVID-19 patients as they die, so they can say good-bye to their families.  "For some people that's going to haunt them, that's going to potentially be something that's going to stay with them."  He said there hasn't been enough research done on moral injuries and he's glad to hear DND is looking into it. The Department of National Defence has sent out a call for proposals to research moral injuries under the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program. The program pays for research by outside organizations, typically businesses and universities. Fournier said about $3.7 million could be on the table for innovators who can help answer the military's questions surrounding moral injuries. So far about 60 proposals have been submitted. Near the end of this month contracts will be awarded to the successful applicants. Fourier expects to have some results from applicants in about six months, at which time DND will decide if those researchers will get more money to continue their work.The results from the research will be shared with DND personnel, health care workers, first responders and anyone at the front lines of pandemic, said Fournier. McKenna is also happy about the new research, but said more needs to be done. "I think we need to get to a place where we realize when we send people to tough spots, moral injuries are part of what's going to happen."  MORE TOP STORIES

Last PMV Canada buildings in Saint John to be demolished

Last PMV Canada buildings in Saint John to be demolishedSaint John Council has ordered the demolition of what may be the final two buildings in the city owned by Fredericton based developer PMV Canada.The adjacent, century old wood apartment houses have been a serious headaches for neighbours and first responders.Firefighters responded to a fire at 123 Main St. as recently as Aug. 28, while 135 Main St. is described as being the scene of 'multiple fires.'Since September, 2018 at least 10 other older wood apartment houses, also owned by PMV, have been demolished by the city in the same neighbourhood. The buildings were purchased as a group two years earlier following the bankruptcy of another company, Phillip Huggard Properties LTD.At the time, PMV's chief operating officer, Dave Loten, said the company would renovate many of the buildings and demolish a handful that were in poor condition.But the company quickly ran afoul of city inspectors after several of the properties were discovered to be vacant, often open, and in disrepair.Over the past two years the company has quietly sold off a long list of remaining properties in the city. In March a commercial plaza at 358 Rothesay Ave. was released for $400,000, $200,000 less than the company paid for it in 2015.And in August a three-storey wood frame apartment house on Bridge Street sold for just $16,000.That leaves the two Main Street apartment houses which are slated to come down within four to five weeks."The building is a hazard to the safety of the public by reason of being vacant and by reason of dilapidation," said Benn Purinton, city technical services officer about 123 Main St. "The building has been abandoned."The process was repeated for 135 Main. The buildings are assessed at just $2,700 each.In December, 2019, Carly O'Toole, the real estate agent acting on PMV's behalf for the sale of the properties, said Thi To, a representative of the family owned company, had hoped to construct something new on the lots at 123 through 135 Main.She released a statement on To's behalf. In it, To blames a former employee for the company's problems to that point."We had good intentions when we invested in Saint John, and we feel we were taken advantage of," said To. "Our company received a lot of negative press because of one person's actions, and they are no longer employed by PMV."The person is not named in the statement. The family won a court judgment in January against former manager Loten for $162,000 dollars including costs, over unpaid personal loans.

3 designs, 1 message: Mi'kmaq printer getting ready for Orange Shirt Day

3 designs, 1 message: Mi'kmaq printer getting ready for Orange Shirt DayAt Mi'kmaq Printing and Design, stacks of orange shirts are folded and ready to be shipped out.The shirts feature an eagle with the words "Every Child Matters." There are three versions — one in English, and two in different Mi'kmaq orthographies."This one is a really sacred animal for us, and it just kind of means our prayers are going up to Creator, so I think it's really impactful that we use this for every child matters," said Misiksk Jadis, who works with the company.The message hits close to home for Jadis.Orange Shirt Day, observed on Sept. 30 each year, is to remember the Indigenous children forced to go to residential schools.Jadis's father is a residential school survivor.'Not just an Indigenous matter'"It was part of my everyday. I grew up with it. From when I was six years old, just learning about it, to having my father who raised me, he told me about it every day, and that was a part of his life," she said."He did tell me a lot about it, but there's some stuff, even as Indigenous people, we'll probably never know." > It's not just an Indigenous matter. It's a Canadian issue. — Deidre AugustineJadis said she's seen non-Indigenous people become more aware of the history of residential schools through initiatives like Orange Shirt Day.Deidre Augustine, who also works with Mi'kmaq Printing and Design, hopes people take the time to learn."It's grown so much because it's not just an Indigenous matter. It's a Canadian issue," said Augustine."And now it's a part of reconciliation too. So the more you talk about this issue and hear these stories, the truth, that's another step going into reconciliation."Remembering residential school survivorsOrange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, a Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation elder in Williams Lake, B.C. Her first day at a residential school was in 1973 when she was six.Webstad recalls being excited to go to school, and picking out an orange shirt for the occasion.When she arrived at the school, she was stripped of all her clothes, including the orange shirt.The first Orange Shirt Day was marked in Williams Lake in 2013, and it has grown from there."It's grown so much," said Augustine. "They have it in schools, and not only Indigenous schools. They put it in workspaces."Mi'kmaq Printing and Design made 2,000 shirts this year, which have been shipped around the country — but one shirt was sent as far as Louisiana.She said people who buy shirts often ask questions about the story behind them."People always ask us … they want to know the different languages, they want to know the different styles," she said."Or right away, we'll tell them a brief history about it."Printed in English and Mi'kmaqJadis said the decision to print the words on the shirt in Mi'kmaq came from feedback from the community."Previous years we just had it in English," she said. "We did have people asking 'Oh, it would be nice to have it in Mi'kmaq.' So we were like, 'All right, we'll do it.'"The shirts are available in two orthographies — Francis/Smith and Pacifique."Francis/Smith is more contemporary … it's the one that's most commonly used now. But the other one we have too is Pacifique, which is still used, but it's more New Brunswick, and then northern New Brunswick to Quebec area," said Augustine."There's so many different dialects and people write it different. People have different words. It's not wrong, it's just depending on where you're from."Birth of a social enterpriseMi'kmaq Printing & Design started in 2018 out of an idea that came from a social enterprise conference hosted by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.The company started selling shirts and bags that July, featuring designs from Mi'kmaq artists."It's cool to see how much the business has grown," said Jadis. "We try to get out to communities and really educate with our shirts and our other lines as well."One of the most popular designs is a shirt that says "Kwe'," which means "Hello.""That again, it is kind of a conversation starter for non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people to kind of bridge that gap and get to know each other," Jadis said."I'll be walking down the street and I'll be like, 'Oh my God, someone's wearing a Mi'kmaq Printing sweater.' I love it."More from CBC P.E.I.

Tuesday 29th of September 2020 09:36:54


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