A Honey of an Idea


Meet Dr. Vera Sistenich, an Emergency Medicine physician from Sydney, Australia. Dr. Vera is the Project Leader for HandsUp Congo, an Australian nonprofit, “Building a Healthy Congo” Project. In collaboration with local partners and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) government they are committed to bring Emergency Medicine training and integration to the DRC healthcare system. This is her story on one way she supports their goals.

“I started in 2015 when I lived in a seaside suburb here in Sydney called Coogee. As a child, I grew up in Hong Kong (my Mum is Chinese) but our family spent our summer holidays in Germany (my Dad is from Munich). We had a very rural home in a Bavarian suburb next to a forest. Our neighbour, an old man, used to keep his hives in the forest which I used to pass walking our little sausage dog daily. I was always fascinated, and we could see the old man at night through the window processing wax and honey. I thought to myself as a girl I’d love to keep bees one day. When I moved to Sydney and bought my own home for the first time, I came across The Urban Beehive, a business and movement promoting responsible beekeeping in the urban environment. The owners Doug Purdie and Vicky Brown are Australian beekeeping royalty now! I did a course with them and then started my own hive in the outdoor area of my ground floor unit in Coogee.

The weather here is so good that my one hive was producing around 100kg of honey a year. There are only so many birthday and Christmas presents you can make with all this honey! This volume would give around 300 jars a year, so I tried my hand at a little social enterprise, creating a label called “Coogee Bees for Congo” and selling each jar for AUD $15 and putting all the profit towards our Congo EM Project. There is a famous building in Coogee right by the beach called The Coogee Pavilion. It has a blue and white dome, which is what inspired the blue and white bee of my label, set within the contour of the landmass of the DRCongo. I changed the sting of the bee into a little heart, a reminder to myself of our duty to translate compassion into practice towards those in need everywhere. 

I now have 2 hives, producing about 200kg per year. I have raised over AUD $ 10,000 since the start of the project with the honey.

Beekeeping is very successful in the city. The Sydney Bee Club, of which I’m a committee member, has partnered with several universities here for research, providing dead bees and honey samples from our members from numerous suburbs. It turns out that the honey produced in cities is less contaminated with chemicals and pesticides than a lot of rural honeys and the flavours more complex due to the diversity plants and lack of monocultures in the urban setting. Heavy metals from the city environment are stored within the bodies of the bees themselves and secreted somewhat into the wax, but not into the honey. This came as a big and welcomed surprise to us all. Challenges, though, included minimising swarming in the urban environment so our hives don’t become a public nuisance, and adhering to rules and regulations regarding safety towards our neighbours. The practice is popular here and encouraged by our local counsellors. 

I don’t do any formal marketing as such. I work at two hospitals here in Sydney and just by word of mouth, colleagues, family and friends buy out the honey every time. I post on Facebook when I have a new batch and also on the HandUp Congo Facebook page. I also make candles from the wax as gifts.

In addition to raising funds for the EM project, one year, we chanced upon the only beekeeper training collective in the whole of the Congo whilst traveling to one of our teaching sites by road. From that, a completely separate Be A Honey Project was born – we have raised funds to bring these experts to the remote village of Lotumbe, where Lucy of HandUp Congo grew up, to train them in sustainable beekeeping, in particular to empower the Pygmy population there.”

CMES-Pi Participant Highlight: Mount St. John’s Medical Center, Antigua

Meet Dr. Vonetta George who works at Mount St. John’s Medical Center (MSJMC) in Antigua. Dr. Vonetta works in all critical care areas of the hospital including supervising the 15 doctors and 2 dozen+ nurses in the Emergency Department.

Antigua is located in the West Indies, a Leeward Island in the Caribbean. Mount St. John’s serves the population of Antigua and also Barbuda. Working on an isolated island directly affects the doctors and nurses ability to access current continuing medical education in a cost effective manner. Dr. Vonetta was the gail force hurricane behind getting the CMES-Pi Project installed in her hospital. MSJMC installed a CMES-Pi in June last year. Using our smart phone apps the staff can look up CME current practice topics at bedside. The CME is provided by our partner Emergency Medicine Reviews and Perspectives. The PDF files provide helpful bullet points and take seconds to read. The MP3 files are providing topics for weekly group CME conferences and discussions. The CMES-Pi Project directly impacts access to CME for 101 doctors and 179 nurses at the hospital. Thank you Dr. Vonetta!

Who Knew? The first inhabitants were the Siboney, who can be dated back to 2400 BCE. Arawaks settled subsequently, around the 1st century CE. The Caribs arrived later, but abandoned Antigua around the 16th century, due to the shortage of fresh water. Christopher Columbus sighted the larger island in 1493, and named it after a church in Seville, Santa Maria de la Antigua. (Commonwealth)

C3: Psychiatric Emergencies Part 2

Wikimedia image.

Last week I introduced you to C3, Continuous Core Content, the newest medical education available to all CMES and CMES-Pi participants. The March C3 content is part two of psychiatric emergencies covering depression, anxiety and eating disorders. You can access the C3 folder with the thumb drive or the smartphone apps using the CMES-Pi.

Do you know what endocrine disorder can mimic depression or that pulmonary emboli can present with a common and misleading psychiatric complaint? A quick read of the Take Home Points will lift your spirits and lessen your anxiety when faced with a psychiatric emergency.

Who Knew? Psychiatric illness were recognized over 4000 years ago In the second millennium B.C. in Mesopotamia where there are written accounts of depression. It was thought to be a spiritual condition and therefor treated by priests instead of healers.

Introducing C3: Continuous Core Content

Photo from Wikimedia.

WooHoo…C3 is here for your listening and viewing pleasure! EM:RAP has generously provided Techies Without Borders their C3 content to add to our cloud based server. This CME content is available to participants using either the thumb drive (USB) or Raspberry-Pi access options. It will be in a separate folder and you can use the Search for specific topics.

C3 is a clinical based review on how to assess and treat common and grave Emergency Department and Urgent Care complaints. It’s ideal for all practitioners wanting to review the basics efficiently and quickly. Think of it as your basic Lego set.

The same great MP3 and PDF formats are available. The audio file contains a focused summary at the end of the talk, so if you are short on time you can fast forward. The PDF files start off with the all important Take Home Points for a quick update. You can also test your knowledge with the uploaded questions and answers.

Build up or reinforce your basic knowledge with C3. Thank you EM:RAP.

Who Knew? “The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932.[7][8] In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego” derived from the Danish phrase leg godt [lɑjˀ ˈɡʌd], which means “play well”.” (Wikipedia)

 

 

Aneurysms: It’ll Blow Your Mind

Abdominal aorta MRI. (Wikimedia)

Practicing in rural and remote regions globally with limited staff and resources poses challenges not faced by your colleagues in larger cities and academic centers. Case presentations from those working in rural regions help us understand the restrictions, challenges, and downright genius solutions from treating to to saving a life. I find these stories uplifting, invigorating, and deserving of a standing ovation.

Take a listen or read about The Case of the Man with the Aneurysm by Vanessa Cardy MD and Mel Herbert MD in the EM:RAP April files. It’ll expand your knowledge.

 

Who Knew?

On 17 April 1955, Einstein experienced a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which had previously been reinforced surgically by a surgeon in 1948. He took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel’s seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it. Einstein refused surgery, saying, “I want to go when I want. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.” He died early the next morning at the age of 76, having continued to work until near the end. (Wikipedia)

 

DevelopingEM: A Model for Emergency Medicine Collaboration

Dr.Mereoni Voce from Labasa Hospital at the DevelopingEM Conference in Fiji.

DevelopingEM is a partner of Techies Without Borders. DevelopingEM is a nonprofit corporation from Australia with a model to promote and develop Emergency Medicine globally through collaboration. Last December Dr. Deb was invited to speak at their sixth conference in Fiji. Each conference is designed to deliver excellent emergency medicine and critical care content. Not only is the conference for practicing EM specialists but the model brings local health providers to the conference supported by the conference fees and contributions. They encourage global collaboration between countries where EM is developing and gaining momentum as a specialty.

DevelopingEM is heading to Cartagena, Colombia for their seventh Emergency Medicine and Critical Care conference. Consider joining them in March 2020 for a chance to support this forward-thinking team.

Sepsis and Pregnancy

Pregnant graffiti in Lebanon (Wikimedia)

According to an excerpt from Randi Hutter Epstein’s book Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth From the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank, five hundred years ago a folk healer advised Catherine de Medici, then the queen of France, to drink mare’s urine and bathe in cow manure to increase her chances of getting pregnant. And she did it. Fortunately, you won’t need mare’s urine to treat pregnant patients with sepsis. But you will need to listen to the March EM:RAP podcast or read the PDF called Sepsis and Infections in Pregnancy by Stewart Swadron MD, Gillian Schmitz MD, Rachel Bridwell MD and Brandon Carius PA.

What are the most common infections seen in pregnancy in your region? Are vital signs good indicators during maternal and fetal resuscitation? If you don’t have much time there are five quick Take Home Points for a 30-second read.

Wikimedia photo.

Who Knew? Some of the earliest women’s health books were written by monks…although they would not be my first or even seventh guess as authors. One of the most popular monk guides, Women’s Secrets, or De Secretis Mulierum, has been translated from the original text into modern language by Helen Rodnite Lemay, a medieval scholar.

Stress & Burnout

Your working at 5000 rpms as patient after patient after patient arrives at your Emergency Department for treatment. It’s a typical shift but this one never stops gaining momentum until you and the staff are at the breaking point. You think you can manage, but like any excellent racer…some days you can hit a wall, flame and die.

Take a listen or read the August 2018 EM:RAP podcast and PDF called; “Beating Burnout” by Annahieta Kalantari DO. It’s there for you to access using a CMES-Pi or the CMES thumb drives and it’s worth a listen. Even being retired, I was able to understand better why I felt the way I did and what happens to all of us as we deliver medical care.

Take care of yourself and your staff…it’s the only way to win the race.

 

 

A Word…or Two…from Mel Herbert at EMRAP

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Who and what is EM:RAP? Emergency Medicine: Reviews and Perspectives (EM:RAP) is our sponsor and source of the continuing medical education (cme) materials brought to you by the Techies Without Borders (TWB) program called Continuing Medical Education on Stick (CMES) and CMES-Pi. Listen to a free podcast by Mel Herbert MD MBBS FAAEM as he discusses the future of EMRAP here.

As a participant in CMES or CMES-Pi we wanted you to appreciate this is a company that goes beyond the mission of excellent cme. It makes a commitment to helping you be the best you can and embracing colleagues worldwide. We at TWB gratefully acknowledge EM:RAPs forward vision and passion.