The total number of road deaths for 2008 has now reached 276. That’s one more since yesterday.
A man was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Co. Louth yesterday evening. He was the driver of a car that went off the road at about 6.10pm. Gardaí are appealing for witnesses.
The circumstances of this man’s death are not yet known but my heart goes out to his family and friends. And sadly, this latest death on the roads is unlikely to be the last before the year is out.
Don’t invite a tragedy of this nature onto your doorstep. If you plan on drinking tonight, please leave the car behind.
Safe driving and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
NEW YEAR’S DAY UPDATE: Still counting… 😦
Three teenage boys aged 14, 16, and 17 have been killed in a car crash near Nenagh in Co Tipperary. Two other teenagers, a young man and woman, were seriously injured. The five teenagers were travelling in a car at around 7.30pm last night at Kilboy near Nenagh. Gardaí say the crash happened when the car left the road, mounted a ditch and hit a tree.
Transport Minister Noel Dempsey described the deaths as a terrible tragedy. Mr Dempsey appealed for all road users to continue the effort to reduce road deaths.
A total of 275 people have died so far this year on Irish roads. Last year, 38 people lost their lives on our roads during the month of December, with 18 people killed or seriously injured over the Christmas period alone. The Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) campaign to improve safety on our roads, appears to be working as today’s figures represent a 20 per cent reduction (63 fewer road deaths) compared to this day last year. But the year is not over yet!
“It’s not just those seriously injured or killed on our roads whose lives are changed forever in a crash. Everyone crashes. The devastating consequences are like shock waves that affect family, relatives, friends, work colleagues and whole communities.”
This is the message contained in a new series of TV adverts as part of the RSA’s ‘Crashed Lives’ campaign.These new adverts featuring true-life stories of road tragedy, are being screened until the end of January but can also be viewed on www.rsa.ie
Gardaí have also appealed to all motorists to slow down, to keep to the speed limits and “observe personal responsibility” in their driving behaviour to protect their own lives, their passengers and all other road users.
Please, please be drink aware this New Year and don’t drink and drive.Remember, just one drink impairs driving. Don’t take that chance. Plan ahead. Leave the keys at home and get a taxi, minibus, public transport or take turns to designate a driver. After all, who wants to become just another statistic?
It is good to speak out, whether you’ve bought a bad product, had a bad experience, noticed unclean or unhygienic practices or even if you just want to see some improvements. You’re unlikely to get satisfaction unless you offer feedback and speak out.
The “Speak Out” campaign, created by Safefood, encourages customers to speak out about any food hygiene concerns they may encounter. It is designed to educate consumers about their rights to food hygiene standards when eating outside the home and empower them to “speak out” if they are not satisfied.
Safefood is a North-South body, responsible for the promotion of food safety on the whole island of Ireland. The campaign is supported by radio and outdoor advertising and is endorsed by both the National Consumer Agency and Consumer Council for Northern Ireland.
Ireland’s first National Isolation Unit was opened yesterday by the Minister for Health, at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. The unit has 12 beds in total and will be used for patients who contract highly infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, SARS and pandemic influenza. It will also be used to treat patients with other infections including HIV, hepatitis B & C, meningitis, MRSA and malaria. This all sounds pretty good until you stop to think about it more deeply.
Firstly, I was amazed to learn that this highly specialised ‘state-of-the-art’ facility with it’s own infectious diseases multidisciplinary team, is actually the firstof it’s kind in the whole country. Six of the isolation beds in this new unit will be under negative pressure to help prevent airborne transmission of infection by microscopic droplets. Two of the isolation rooms will have different air handling systems to enhance infection control. It begs the question as to what has been happening with highly infectious patients up until now? I know that some of bigger public hospitals already have isolation units which are used to hoard all the MRSA infected patients together but they do not have any specialised facilities.
And secondly, with healthcare associated infections (HCAI) such as MRSA and C. diff now endemic in Irish hospitals, it strikes me that it might make more sense to use the isolation units for the patients who are clear of HCAI’s, to keep them free from contamination?
A couple of women were playing golf one sunny Saturday afternoon. The first of the twosome teed off and watched in horror as her ball headed directly towards a foursome of men playing the next hole. Indeed, the ball hit one of the men, and he immediately clasped his hands together at his crotch, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in evident agony. The woman rushed down to the man and immediately began to apologise. She explained that she was a physiotherapist:
“Please allow me to help, I’m a physiotherapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you’d just allow me” she told him earnestly.
“Ummph, oooh, nnooo, I’ll be all right. I’ll be fine in a few minutes,” he replied breathlessly as he remained in the foetal position still clasping his hands together at his crotch. But she persisted, and he finally allowed her to help him.
She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, she loosened his trousers, and she put her hands inside. She began to massage his crotch. She then asked him: “How does that feel?”
To which he replied: “It feels great, but my thumb still hurts like hell!”
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. More than 50 per cent of patients in Ireland are diagnosed with Stage 3 or 4 bowel cancer, which is the most advanced stage. Bowel cancer screening aims to detect bowel cancer at an early stage (in people with no symptoms), when treatment is more likely to be effective. If caught early enough, the chances of a successful outcome are greatly increased. Regular screening has been shown to reduce the risk of dying from bowel cancer by 16 per cent and yet Ireland continues to have no bowel screening programme in place.
People need not be embarrassed about bowel cancer screening. They are not required to take a stool sample to their doctor nor do they have to undergo a physical examination. They are instead sent a simple FOBT (faecal occult blood test) kit in the post along with step-by-step instructions for completing the test in the privacy of their own home. This involves collecting a small sample from two separate bowel motions and, using a specially designed prepaid envelope, returning the kit to the laboratory for analysis. The test does not diagnose bowel cancer but gives an indication as to whether further investigations are required.
The European Commission has advised that all countries should give consideration to the introduction of faecal occult blood screening for colorectal cancer in men and women between the ages of 50 and 74. Almost 60% of Irish cases of colorectal cancer occur in this age group. International randomised controlled trials have clearly demonstrated that faecal occult blood testing reduces mortality for colorectal cancer. The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme has already been rolled out in the UK following a successful pilot scheme and it’s due to be extended to Northern Ireland next year.
Ireland is still dragging it’s feet! The HSE states that “a number of issues need to be addressed prior to this service being implemented”. In January 2007, it funded a 3-year study to ascertain “the optimal tools and framework to be used in an Irish screening service“. In other words, it’s kicking for touchas our poorly resourced public health service cannot currently cope with the numbers of symptomatic patients presenting for investigation. The waiting time for a colonoscopy appointment in the public system, can be six months or more – a deadly wait for some.
Bowel cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable. The prognosis for patients with colorectal cancer is closely related to the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. A national bowel screening programme in Ireland would lead to fewer patients presenting with advanced bowel cancer. The HSE chooses to ignore this fact and continues to prioritise health expenditure over people’s lives. In recent days, Mary Harney has been warning of severe cutbacks in healthcare spending. News has begun to filter through that the HSE plans to save €500 million on healthcare spending in 2009. The prognosis for Irish healthcare, is not looking good.
Further information on the FOBT can be found here (with thanks to Baino, an Aussie blogger).
UPDATE: Just spotted this article about an innovative bowel cancer screening programme taking place at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin. The programme began about four months ago and is attempting to screen 10,000 people aged 50-74 in the Tallaght area, over a period of 18 months. Tallaght hospital is the first in Ireland to offer this service. Let’s hope it’s not the last.
Geri Atric (aka Supergran) is in need of some cheering up. Having spent the last few months minding grandchildren during a family illness, Geri herself is now laid up with pneumonia and three cracked ribs!
Geri has been confined to bed since last Thursday as her mighty cough caused three ribs to break. She is living on a diet of tomato soup, lemonade and ice lollies together with enough medicine to make the mind boggle. Only the other day, I mentioned what a blessing it is to have supergrans like Geri who drop everything to come to the rescue when illness strikes. Well, now the boot is on the other foot and it’s Supergran Geri’s turn to have people come to her rescue.
Geri Atric’s blog Ageing Ungracefully is an absolute joy to read. In her own words, it’s “an ageing lady’s confused and humorous battle for survival in a perplexing, ever changing, technological world”. She’s a real cracker! Go visit her and leave a get-well message but whatever you do, don’t make her laugh!