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‘I can’t do this alone’: Kids from Northern Quebec still taking medevac flights without parents

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Valerie-Lynn Gull wrapped her sweater around her six-year-old son Pelle Jr., who was lying on a stretcher in an air ambulance last August, about to be air lifted from Chibougamau, Que., to Montreal, after doctors suspected he was bleeding internally.

“I walked out of the airplane and I cried,” said Gull, testifying on Thursday at Quebec’s inquiry into government relations with Indigenous people.

Moments before, Gull and her husband Pelle Loon had been told they would not be allowed to accompany Pelle Jr. on the plane, a decision Gull said her son couldn’t understand.

“He said, ‘How come a sick kid can get on a plane without his mom and dad?'” Gull recalled.

They were told by a nurse that neither of them could take the plane with their son.

The family had just driven from Waswanipi, Que., 90 minutes away, after a week of tests and visits at the local clinic for flu-like symptoms.

Before take-off, doctors and nurses tried to soothe him and insist he was a big boy, but Pelle continued to cry.

“He said, ‘No, I’m only six years old, I can’t go on the plane alone. I can’t do this alone'” his mother told the Viens Commission.

8-hour drive

Gull promised her son she’d meet him in Montreal as soon as she could, and the parents began the eight-hour drive toward the Ste-Justine children’s hospital.

As they were driving through the night, a doctor and a social worker called them to ask why they had not accompanied their son on the plane.

Then, her voice echoing through the car on the speaker phone, the doctor said she suspected Pelle’s bleeding was possibly due to a problem in his liver.

Pelle Loon and Valerie-Lynn Gull, testifying before the Viens Commission on Oct. 18, 2018, said they hoped children would no longer be medevaced without their parents. (Commission d’enquête sur les relations entre les Autochtones et certains services publics au Québec)

“To hear that something is wrong with my son’s liver while I’m driving is not a good feeling,” Gull said.

That drive is something many parents from Quebec’s remote communities have experienced.

In January 2018, a group of doctors wrote to the health minister, demanding that the practice of not allowing a parent to accompany their child onboard these flights be stopped.

Then-Health Minister Gaétan Barrette announced in February his government would review the policy.

Nine months later, one of the doctors who first highlighted the problem said he has seen improvements.

Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain is a pediatric emergency physician and assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at McGill University.

He said his colleagues estimate around 40 to 50 per cent of kids who are taken on medevac flights on the Challenger air ambulance now arrive with a parent.

Those numbers have even increased in the past few weeks, Shaheen-Hussain told Quebec AM.

“Compared to 100 per cent refusal rate, that’s good. But compared to the rest of Canada or other countries around the world, we’re nowhere near where we need to be,” he said.

Shaheen-Hussain has testified twice at the Viens Commission, including this week, and heard Pelle Jr’s story.

“It was heart-wrenching,” he said.

“Both those parents put into words what we’ve been saying for months — what people have actually been saying for years, if not decades.”

Traumatic effects on child and parent

Shaheen-Hussain said the trauma Pelle and his family experienced on being separated is something doctors aren’t privy to, but was front and centre in Gull and Loon’s testimonies.

Gull said once she reached the hospital, exhausted and disoriented, she was again asked by medical staff why she had not gotten on the plane with her son.

Pelle Jr. would not speak to her at first. When he did, he asked her if he was going to die.

“I can’t imagine what was going through his mind when he got on that airplane alone,” Gull said in tears.

Weeks later, back home in Waswanipi, Pelle Jr. stares blankly at the wall whenever his parents mention the airplane.

“I’ve never seen that look on his face before,” she said.

The Challenger 601 is used to transport patients from remote communities in Northern and Eastern Quebec. (Government of Quebec)

Pelle Jr. reacted well to treatment, but his liver could stop functioning eventually, and he has been put on an organ transplant list.

Gull said the constant worry that the internal bleeding could start again weighs heavily on the family.

“I’m constantly thinking, ‘Do I have enough gas in my car, do I have enough funds to go to Montreal again,” said Gull.

Both parents took time off work following the incident, feeling “physically and emotionally” drained, said Loon.

Gull told the Viens Commission she hoped changes would be made, “not only for my son but also for other children, so they don’t have to be medevaced on an airplane alone.”

We hear from Pelle Loon and Valerie-Lynn Gull, along with pediatrician Dr. Samir Shaheen-Hussain, as they tell the Viens Commission the practice of airlifting young patients unaccompanied from remote has to stop. 13:09

She said she was especially worried for children in her community who only speak Cree, and who can’t communicate in French or English. 

Shaheen-Hussain said the emotional trauma endured by families like Pelle Jr’s should be enough to convince the new government to continue working toward that goal.

“There’s no cost, no price tag that anyone can put on those things,” he said.

With files from CBC’s Quebec AM.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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