Rate of police killings slows in 2014

There is a weekly rate for police killings in Jamaica. Weekly. Wow.

Jamaican Journal

This graphic below is courtesy of Jamaicans for Justice, a human rights advocacy group. Think about it for a second.

While it is positive that the rate of killings by those charged with protecting the citizenry is slowing, in theory, this phenomenon should not occur at all.

And this issue is beginning to attract international attention (at least related to extrajudicial killings).

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Our Caribbean Teens and Legalizing Weed




Smoking (tobacco or marijuana) is the MOST common gateway for teenagers to engage in further drug use.

Addiction is a disease that starts in adolescence, industries know they have to focus on young people for profits. After all, if you don’t start using any drug by age 21, you are unlikely ever to do so.

There has been a lot of focus on the benefits of legalizing marijuana. Can we as a Caribbean region quantify the risks associated with legally available Weed? Adolescents are at high risk of exposure and confusion about the dangers of smoking ganja in a legalized environment. Weed brownies, candy ganja, many marketing strategies make children their prime targets.

There has been a lot of talk about pot lately. Discussions of tax revenue, health benefits, violence reduction, and individual liberty. But one issue got completely lost: the developing brains of our children.

Read more of what Patrick Kennedy has to say on the matter: Legalizing pot endangers children http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2014/07/28/patrick-kennedy-marijuana-brain/13292245/

Rethinking Solutions


From Getty Images

Re-focus! How do I perceive “helping”? When I read this article, I had to stop and think about WHO it is I wanted to help and how THEY would like to receive help. Time for a review of the Tots to Teens Mandate.


Leading by example… “to the world”

Taking the first step is the hardest part. What do You do to make it past that hurdle?

A note on Open Notes


I was intrigued by this article “What the Therapist Thinks About You – NYTimes.com” see link below. As a surgeon the thought of patients seeing my notes isn’t frightful at all. I can see a distinct advantage to compliance and family involvement in care. This takes me back to my baseline philosophy:

Doctors teach, God heals.

I believe that my role as a doctor is to teach the patient and their family the best way, the science and the options for living with,  eliminating and coping with whatever problem brought them to see me. Maybe open notes, or a written summary of the visit, would be a useful tool in teaching families how to live with the illnesses they face, and with each other. Much food for thought. The way we practice medicine is changing.


Oldest Known Depiction Of Circumcision Is Now On Twitter


The information is accurate.  I am still not sure how this ended up as a news item. However, here it is.

The Practice of Medicine: The Dilemma Neglected in the Healthcare Debate

The article quoted provides an interesting perspective on the true cost and long-term value of “experimental” care.

The decision to treat an illness is not simply a decision about the fate of a single human being. It is a decision about what we will or will not learn about treating illness. It is also about what we will or will not have at our disposal to treat illnesses in the future.

I hasten to add that in countries where primary health care needs are NOT being met for the majority (85% or more) of the population, fantasies involving experimental medicine are certainly fewer and more far between. 

What are your thoughts on this aspect of distributive justice and healthcare?



Rising Penile Cancer creates a Stir

LINK: Penis Cancer is on the Increase: What are the Symptoms?

3 days after Valentine’s Day the Huffington Post Lifestyle (UK) posted a report on the increase in penile cancer of 21% over the last 30 years. SCARY STUFF! The Article goes on to highlight 3 possible causes for this, including a decrease in “routine” or newborn circumcisions. Circumcision is known to reduce ALL sexually transmitted infections including infections with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV causes a number of symptoms and diseases including penile cancer and… ladies pay attention… cervical cancer. While the reported rise in penile cancer is disturbing, let us not forget that cervical cancer is already the second most common cancer in women worldwide (source) and one of the TOP THREE cancers killing women in the Caribbean. Jamaica reports cervical cancer as the second most common cancer in women, surpassed only by breast cancer.

Vaccines against the HPV virus available in most Caribbean territories. Women whose partners are circumcised are less likely to be exposed to the HPV virus, and have a lower risk of cervical cancer. Get informed, talk to your health care provider, seek reliable information on protecting your own health and carefully consider the pros and cons of all interventions that can lead to prevention.

Step Up 4 Armadale

I cannot put into words the disfiguring pain in my soul when I consider what this young girls went through. I am really looking forward to working with Pure Potential to bring support to the survivors of the Fire at Armadale. #fiveyears

Jamaican Journal

Tomorrow. May 22nd, marks five years since the horrific fire at Armadale. Seven girls died in the state institution, which was supposed to be a place of safety for youth who were there for various reasons. A new initiative has launched, Step Up 4 Armadale, and it is aimed at providing mentorship and training for the girls so that they can develop some skills and reach a state of independence in their lives. From the story:

“We have been hearing your plight, and we want to help to do great things to overcome your challenges,” said Marie Sparkes, initiator of the Step Up 4 Armadale project.

“I was approached a year ago by six of the survivors seeking help to move forward, and today represents one of the steps we are taking to ensure that you are able to do something positive with your lives,” added Sparkes, who is the…

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An app for what? Poop colour in newborns!


Parents often ask me about the significance of poop colour. I have a blog post addressing some of the major colour changes in children of all ages, see “rainbow”.

Pale stools in young infants can signify structural obstruction to the biliary tree: Biliary Atresia. This is not common in the Caribbean, but outcomes are definitely time – dependent. The best results are obtained when corrective action is taken before the infant is three months old. Mothers who suspect that their baby is having unusually pale stool should seek out a paediatric specialist to help them through the necessary blood tests and radiological scans that can determine exactly what the cause of the unusual colour might be.

Here is a link to an app dedicated to newborn poop colour. Please share your thoughts on this pre – diagnostic tool.

P.S. I am still toying with making an app dedicated to constipation. …