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‘A number of people concerned’ after faulty cancer treatment at Hamilton hospital

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The Radiation Safety Institute of Canada says it has been contacted with concerns following an announcement that 25 women with cervical cancer may have received faulty radiation therapy at a Hamilton hospital.

On Jan. 3 the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) announced that 25 cervical cancer patients may not have received radiation in the exact location of the body where it was intended due to a “guide tube” that was longer than it needed to be.

The news impacts cervical cancer patients who had a specific form of radiation therapy called brachytherapy, or BT, at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in 2017 and 2018. 

Dr. Curtis Caldwell, chief scientist at the RSIC, based in Toronto, says this has sparked concern.

“All that we can say is that there’s a number of people concerned within Ontario.”

I don’t think this is a systemic problem that we’re looking at here– Dr. Curtis Caldwell, chief scientist, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada 

The RSIC is an independent non-for-profit national organization dedicated to promoting and advancing radiation safety in the workplace, in the environment and in the community. It receives calls and emails from people concerned with radiation safety issues.

Caldwell says a few people have been in contact with a broad range of questions relating to radiation therapy, with some asking if all BT procedures would be at risk, or whether the error only occurred in Hamilton.

The questions aren’t necessarily those of cancer patients, or from those involved with the treatment at the JCC, but from friends and family of cancer patients in general, and just curious people, he says.

“They’re totally unrelated to be honest, from a point of view of risk because they’re concerned that there’s a problem with the medical system I guess, which is concerning to me because I was a medical physicist for many years — and I don’t think this is a systemic problem that we’re looking at here,” said Caldwell. 

The discovery

Ralph Meyer, vice president of oncology and palliative care and regional vice president of Cancer Care Ontario, told CBC News Jan. 4 the issue was discovered Nov. 27.

He says while in the process of providing treatment that day, unrelated to the issue that was discovered, there were some irregularities that occurred in setting up for the treatment.

“That caused the team to pause and do a total quality assessment of the system, and it was discovered at that time that what’s called a guide tube was longer than it should have been,” said Meyer.

“We have done quality assurance processes in the past and the tube measured as it should. Why it has changed we don’t understand at this point. There will be ongoing evaluations to understand that,” said Meyer.

We’re extremely disappointed and our hearts go out to these patients– Ralph Meyer, vice president of oncology and palliative care and regional vice president of Cancer Care Ontario

Hamilton Health Sciences says it has replaced the BT equipment and paused the specific therapy at the JCC while external experts conduct a review of their radiation therapy program.

While the review is being conducted, new cervical cancer patients needing BT will be transferred to the London Regional Cancer Centre.

It says no other patients at the JCC are affected.

Because of privacy issues, Meyer can’t say whether or not any patients died during the time period when the longer equipment was used.

Meyer says all 25 patients involved have been notified and been given apologies.

“There’s been a range of reactions,” said Meyer. “There are some patients who understandably are reacting with surprise and disappointment and have communicated to us a feeling of a breach in trust and we understand that and we apologize for that.”

“We’re extremely disappointed and our hearts go out to these patients. We have tried to be as open and honest and accountable to them as we possibly can, and we’ve apologized to them,” said Meyer.

Radiation in the wrong location

There are two dangers associated with radiation hitting the wrong location according to Caldwell.

The primary danger being that treatment may not be delivered to the correct location.

The second he says, is that normal cells could be killed instead.

“I think it’s extremely rare that it actually impacts a patient,” said Caldwell about “near-misses” with radiation therapy.

Caldwell says he hasn’t seen any reports relating to the case in Hamilton, nor is he involved with the review at the JCC, but says some parts of the vagina could potentially have had too high a dose of radiation.

“Distance is a really crucial thing in this case so you would hope that there wouldn’t be a terribly high dose to the vagina walls, but there (was) certainly potential for damage to those cells.”

He says what’s helpful to the Canadian health system is the Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy. It’s a national system for reporting radiation treatment incidents.

Caldwell says the reporting system is a useful tool to prevent potential future incidents. 

“I know it’s a bad news story for these 25 individuals and their families, but it can be a good news story for the way we improve radiation therapy in Canada for everyone else and make it safer,” said Caldwell.  

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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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