Monthly Archives: November 2018

WATCH: Grizzly bear attack victim speaks out – Okanagan

It is a harrowing tale of survival. A Cranbrook man who was nearly mauled to death by a grizzly bear is describing the terrifying ordeal for the very first time since the attack.

“The intensity and fear is pretty real when you have a 500 pound bear on you, smelling his breath and he wants to kill you. It is pretty real,” says attack victim Wilf Lloyd.

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The 56-year-old Cranbrook man was on an annual hunting trip with his son-in-law near Fernie over the Thanksgiving weekend. The pair had come across a dead deer. Lloyd went over to have a closer look and when he looked up, he suddenly found himself face to face with a grizzly.

“His eyes locked on mine, he was at full charge, he was about seven yards. I went to get up and yelled at [my son-in-law] Skeet, “Bear!” and by that time [the bear] had hit me in the chest and rolled me and I was on my back and a second later he’s on top of me,” says Lloyd. “He was pounding me back and forth and growling and making weird noises and he is looking at my face and throat.”

Lloyd’s son-in-law, Skeet Podrasky, began shooting at the bear. It took several shots before the animal was finally killed.

“I was in disbelief. I did not want to believe it was happening. Probably, without a doubt, it was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen, watching a family member being eaten by a bear. All I could think of was to stop the situation,” says Podrasky.

While Podrasky was shooting at the bear, he accidentally shot Lloyd in the leg. Despite taking the gunshot injury, Lloyd is grateful to his son-in-law for saving his life.

“He is my hero. He is a hero because he stayed in the moment and saved my life. Because of what he did, I am alive,” says Lloyd.

In addition to the leg wound, Lloyd suffered injuries from the bear attack to both his hands. He’s already had five surgeries to treat all of his wounds and is expecting two more.

WATCH: UBCO student wins $150,000 scholarship for concussion research

KELOWNA, B.C. — Medical student Sandy Wright has been awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his research into concussions. The scholarship provides $150,000 in funding over three years. Wright has been working with a team of professors and a sport medicine physician to improve the understanding of concussions and the ability to diagnose them.

He says the study is unique because it looks at what actually happens to an athlete’s brain when they experience an impact to the head.

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“We’re looking at relationships between head impact biomechanics, control of blood flow to the brain, and some aspects of brain function. What I mean by head impact biomechanics is actually measuring how frequently and how severely athletes hit their heads when playing sports,” says Wright.

He says the testing takes approximately one hour and involves a series of baseline tests. First, a cognitive test measures and evaluates the athlete’s current brain function and then they are assessed on numerous characteristics of blood flow control to the brain.

Wright says understanding concussions better could lead to policy and game rule changes, and even equipment alterations to make sports safer. The research results could also help better determine when it is safe to return to play after a head injury.

Dekker Mende, a skating and skills coach with AK Hockey was playing on the Okanagan College team when he suffered two concussions.

“They weren’t super serious. They were like grade-two concussions. But for me the big issue I had was the post-concussion syndrome. So for one, I wasn’t able to do anything for four months and with the other, I was out for like six months,” says Mende.

Mende says he welcomes Wright’s research and says it’s good especially for younger athletes who could get an injury that could affect them later in life.

Wright says his overall goal is to help reduce the impact of head injuries for athletes at all levels.

Saskatoon Fire Department working to solve railway response issue – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – A home in Saskatoon is badly damaged after a fire raged through it Tuesday night. The initial fire crew was held up by a train, so a second crew had to be dispatched.

Firefighters arrived seven minutes after the alarm first came in to find the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood house fully engulfed in flames. The fire was declared under control in 43 minutes. No injuries were reported but investigations say the cause is suspicious.

The Saskatoon Fire Department continues to work with railway companies to find solutions.

“We’re working with them to come up with what’s called a ‘data link’ where we will be able to be pre-alerted at our central dispatch of when a train is crossing a level crossing, such as that one on 20th Street and at that time our dispatchers could make that decision to send an apparatus from another fire station,” said assistant fire chief Morgan Hackl.

READ MORE: Train delays in emergencies a matter of life and death: fire chief

“We’re fortunate right now that we can respond to most incidents within the city from multiple directions,” said Fire Chief Dan Paulsen.

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  • Train delays Saskatoon firefighters responding to house fire

  • No new fire hall for Stonebridge – yet

  • City concerned train delays slowing emergency response times

WATCH: Lake Country doctor shortage crisis

LAKE COUNTRY, B.C. – It’s a problem that plagues the entire province, but in Lake Country, the lack of doctors is now a full-blown crisis. Two out of the district’s seven doctors recently retired and the physicians left aren’t able to take on any more patients. That leaves roughly 2,000 residents with nowhere to go.

“The practices for booked appointments are full everyday often for weeks at a time because of the shortage of doctors in the community,” says Doctor Kelly Murphy.

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The mayor of Lake Country, James Baker, was one of the thousands of patients left with no other options.

“Fortunately my wife has a different family physician in Kelowna. She has agreed to take me on as a patient,” says Baker.

The population of Lake Country has doubled in the past two decades while the number of doctors has remained the same.

Doctors are now handling nearly 2,000 patients each, which is well above the suggested average of 12 – 13 hundred and cannot accept any more.

Baker hopes to attract doctors by sweetening the pot, though the provinces rural incentive program. However, the government says Lake Country is too close to Kelowna and Vernon to meet the criteria.

The search for doctors is a growing problem across the region with 20 percent of Central Okanagan physicians expected to retire in the next four years.

“We’re even thinking of putting a billboard in Saskatchewan in the middle of winter with the nice sunny Okanagan,” says Tristan Smith with the Division of Family Practice.

In the meantime, patients and doctors are trying to make do.
There is a walk-in clinic at the Lake Country facility to help fill the need of those patients who don’t have a doctor.

Another route the district is looking into is recruiting nurse practitioners.

Fecal transplants are changing patients’ lives

Watch above: It may sound unpleasant, but an Edmonton doctor is using fecal transplants to make a huge difference for patients who are incredibly sick. Su-Ling Goh explains.

EDMONTON – Who knew human waste could be valuable to our health? An Edmonton doctor is one of the few in Canada performing a kind of transplant with a big “ick” factor: fecal.

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    ‘Ick factor’ notwithstanding, patients would accept fecal transplants: survey

    Antibiotic standard treatment for C. diff, but fecal transplant also an option

Dr. Dina Kao, a gastroenterologist at the University of Alberta, has been treating patients with recurring clostridium difficile infection (RCDI). All the cases started with a different kind of infection, treated with antibiotics, which destroyed the “beneficial” bacteria in their gut. That left their digestive systems unable to fight off C. difficile, which led to severe, prolonged diarrhea.

“We started in 2012. So far we have treated 106 patients who have recurring clostridium difficile,” said Dr. Kao. “Usually when people are given an antibiotic for whatever infection we are treating, it is not specific just for that infection. It will also wipe out a lot of the good bacteria in our gut.”

A fecal transplant involves a donor, a patient, and, well… poo.

READ MORE: ‘Ick’ factor notwithstanding, patients would accept fecal transplants: survey 

First, a person with healthy gut bacteria donates their stool. After processing, it is transplanted into the patient through one of three ways: a colonoscopy, a feeding tube into the stomach or pills. Kao’s team is currently testing the pill method.

Kao has had patients improve drastically in a few short days. In one case, a patient with severe C. difficile went from having 10 to 15 bowel movements a day, to a normal number – just three days after receiving a transplant.

Although fecal transplants are a relatively new treatment option, Kao says the idea dates back thousands of years to traditional Chinese practices.

“Actually this is not new at all. This has been a very ancient therapy.

“The first documented use of fecal transplant was in fourth century China, when they were using fecal transplant to treat all sorts of ailments.”

According to Kao, the “ick” factor is what is preventing most people from looking into fecal transplants, even though those who undergo the treatments experience drastic improvements to their health.

“Dr. Kao saved my life, she really did. [She] gave me back my life,” said Susan Brothen.

Brothen had a blocked saliva gland that was treated with an antibiotic. She was on the drug for two days, but that weakened her gut microbiome enough for her to contract C. difficile. More antibiotics for that infection resulted in four months of severe diarrhea.

While she was ill, Brothen says she was only able to go out for a few hours a day because she had to stay near the toilet. She lost 30 pounds. Then she met Dr. Kao, who performed a fecal transplant.

READ MORE: A transplant that can save guts  

“It’s such an easy procedure to go through. And then, it’s the next day that everything changes….Dr. Kao is such a nice doctor, she is so caring and you really believe in her and her group. I can’t say enough. And thank you to my donor whoever that donor is, because they changed my life… brought it back to normal.”

Brothen was asleep during the transplant. She says she woke up after it was completed, surprised that it had been so simple.

Previous research has shown fecal transplants could be effective for inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, multiple sclerosis, and even autism. Kao is now testing fecal transplants on patients with Crohn’s colitis and ulcerative colitis. She estimates the procedure could save the health care system approximately $70,000 per patient.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News

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