Public health stupidity and Friday night grumpiness.

So the AMA has put out an alarming influenza warning tonight. ABC News reports: “AMA urges flu sufferers to seek medical attention”.

On a Friday night.

Just like five weeks ago, when the WA Health Department put out a public alert stating that children were dying right, left and centre and any child with a fever, sniffle or cough should get IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.

On a Friday afternoon.

Which left hospitals completely slammed and struggling to see actual sick people, and GPs no chance to rearrange rosters and put on extra Friday evening and weekend staff so as to not turf sniffling kids to emergency departments. Management of medical workforce and cost containment, anyone?

Are they really this far removed from actual reality that they think Friday night is a perfectly sensible time to put out public flu alerts that could just have easily been done on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday?

And is it really too much to ask for health agencies to offer lists of the actual signs of possible severe sickness in children, like fevers over 39, very rapid breathing and the other signs of respiratory distress, severe lethargy, pallor/limpness, poor feeding in infants, urine output below a certain level? Do we have to get OMG A SNIFFLE OR COUGH YOUR BABY WILL DIE PANIC NOW! warnings?

Grumpy. Cranky. There’s no need for this sort of public health incompetence in simple, obvious areas. Everyone loses.

Cheers, everyone. Have a great Friday night. Hope you’re safe and well.



Categories: health

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8 replies

  1. Yes… it seems that health services throughout our, so called, civilised society have nothing better to do. Still, at the end of the day, it helps to sell newspapers on a Saturday morning – or am I just too cynical?

  2. According to what the hubby heard on ABC radio the other night, these type of deaths from flu, including children, happen every year, they just don’t get media attention. I have noticed that the media doesn’t mention that anyone under 65 or not on the ‘free vaccine list’ which would be most people, have to pay for the vaccine. It’s not expensive, but if you have children who haven’t had the flu vaccine before then they need two shots, three weeks apart which is going to cost you $90. Then you wait another three weeks for them to be properly immune, and then it only gives 70% coverage. But still it’s better than nothing. But I agree, Friday night is a bad night to do it.

  3. Yeah, it’s insane. And since when did something become an “epidemic” because five or six people, out of 21 million, died?

  4. it seems that health services throughout our, so called, civilised society have nothing better to do. Still, at the end of the day, it helps to sell newspapers on a Saturday morning – or am I just too cynical?

    Wow, even I wasn’t that cynical. I may need to recalibrate.

  5. The president of the AMA came out the other week and admitted that the flu vax that Aussies had this year is the wrong one for the predominant strain. Subsidised or not, it is unlikely to prevent the “killer flu”.

  6. Do you have a cite for that, Another Outspoken Female? A news search for capolingua AND influenza isn’t getting me any useful hits. I haven’t been able to find all that much in the way of definite confirmation of the exact strains that have killed – news reports mostly contain “preliminary results” or “influenza A”.
    I did find this, which says that H3N2 was behind 3 WA deaths (though in other reports they say the children died from streptococcal disease, and info on whether it was secondary to influenza is sketchy), and that H1N1 is thought to have killed two in the East and is behind 30% of current infections.
    The current Australian flu immunisations contain:
    A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1) – like strain
    A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2) ““ like strainn
    B/Malaysia/2506/2004 ““ like strain

    Information release has been very poor. Contradictory information on on causes of death, minimal information on whether the people had any risk factors, nothing useful for bystanders or healthcare staff at all. Just FUD.
    ETA: After a bit more poking around, I did find this out of South Australia:

    South Australians are in the grip of the biggest influenza outbreak in four years. It is likely that thousands are falling to the Type A virus, particularly two strains H1N1 or H3N2, the Health Department says.
    The director of communicable diseases, Dr Ann Koehler, said the strain of flu was the same as the outbreak in Queensland, which also is “having a flu season”. […] Dr Koehler, however, said the flu circulating at the moment was covered by the flu vaccine. “I have no evidence that the vaccine isn’t working,” she said. “No-one here who was vaccinated has got the flu.” She said people who had not been vaccinated and had not contracted the virus should be vaccinated. All influenza tests had been forwarded to the World Health Organisation laboratory in Melbourne to have the particular Type A strain identified. “We are eagerly awaiting the results, but I can say in Queensland it is the H1N1 type,” Dr Koehler said.

    And a cite from Capolingua:

    Australia Medical Association national president Rosanna Capolingua said the issue needed to be debated because the six people, including five children, killed by flu in the past six weeks were not in the groups normally targeted by medical authorities for free immunisation.

  7. Having just crawled back into the land of the living after all three of us got the flu 3 weeks ago; this really is a bad one.
    If I had been able to stand/think straight (I kept dreaming that there was some link between the virus and the federal government whenever my temperature peaked- viral paranoia?) I would have gone to hospital. Fortunately for all the people down in the hospital waiting room we were too sick to seek treatment. Does tamiflu even work? And yes, some information about which symptoms are an indication that you need to get to hospital would be better than the general scaremongering.

  8. Fortunately for all the people down in the hospital waiting room we were too sick to seek treatment.

    I hear you – there were several points in my flu-like illness (from which I have finally, nearly, recovered, though I’m weak as a kitten), where I thought “Hmm, I really should see a doctor, but I’m way too sick for that.”

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