Sunday, September 01, 2013

A multicultural doctor in Australia

Born in Lebanon and probably Muslim

A woman had been suffering facial spasms when Dr Haissam Naim subjected her to an unnecessary and invasive internal examination, a court has heard.

Dr Naim, who was reprimanded over the examination and had his registration as a medical practitioner cancelled for a year after a hearing in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, had his appeal against the decision dismissed on Thursday.

"Regarding the matter overall, the allegations reflect a sexual overtone to the applicant's [Dr Haim's] conduct," Court of Appeal judges Hartley Hansen and Pamela Tate said.

"In these circumstances it was both open and appropriate to the tribunal to find that 'in the absence of a clinical purpose for the examination, the only available inference is that it was conducted for the sexual gratification of the practitioner'."

The woman, Ms L, had first met Dr Haim on August 28, 2010, when he was on weekend duty at a hospital emergency department on the outskirts of Melbourne. Dr Haim had been a registrar at the time before later becoming a fully qualified doctor.

Ms L had been experiencing facial spasms and was discharged at 5.30pm.

On September 1, 2010, Ms L went to her dentist concerned that her wisdom tooth might have been causing her facial spasms. The dentist referred her for an X-ray that was taken on September 7. Ms L saw Dr Haim the next day when she wanted him to examine the X-ray of her teeth to see if her wisdom tooth was the cause of her facial spasms.

It was during this consultation that Ms L claimed she was nearly in tears when Dr Haim conducted an "excruciatingly painful" internal and invasive examination after asking her if she had had stomach pains and irregular periods.

After telling Dr Naim she thought his questions unusual, Ms L said that although there had been issues with her body after she gave birth, her doctor had told her that everything was now fine.

Dr Naim told Ms L that he thought she may have a cyst on her ovary. When she said she had had a test one month earlier, and no cyst was found, the doctor replied that he needed to conduct the test himself.

Ms L claimed Dr Naim pushed hard on her stomach while her shirt was pushed up.

He repeated his belief that there was a cyst and she repeated that there was not one. Dr Naim then made the woman pull down her pants for an internal examination.

He did not leave the woman as she undressed, did not close the curtain around the bed and started to pull her jeans to get them off.

Ms L saw her own GP two days later and told her what had happened. A complaint was made to the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority.

Dr Haim, who had been medically qualified in Lebanon in 1998, denied conducting the examination but VCAT found he had engaged in professional misconduct.

Justices Hansen and Tate said the lawyer acting for the Medical Board told VCAT that "the allegation isn't that he assaulted her, the allegation is that he performed an internal examination without clinical justification".

The judges dismissed Dr Haim's appeal and ordered he be deregistered for 12 months from September 5 this year.


Miniature woollen village knitted by WI members for sick children branded a HEALTH HAZARD and banned from hospitals and hospices

Members of a Women’s Institute who knitted a miniature village for sick children were told it could not be given to them because the wool was a health and safety risk.

The ladies of Sidford WI in Devon spent a year creating the 6ft by 4ft soft intricate landscape - which boasts miniature people, houses, animals, a farm and a church.

It was then offered to children’s hospitals, hospices and nurseries to bring comfort to poorly youngsters, but was rejected over fears the wool could not be sterilised.

Around 30 members of Sidford WI in rural Devon had teamed up to knit the intricate creation and used materials deemed safe for children's toys.

The group initially offered the village to Children’s Hospice South West who told them they were unable to accept it because they could not sterilise it.

They then approached various nurseries and hospitals in the local area who snubbed their gift because it didn’t come with the correct safety certification.

Jean Bridgeman, a 69-year-old grandmother-of-eight who organised the mammoth project in her weekly craft sessions, says it took a whole year to knit.  Ms Bridgeman said: 'We were all a bit fed up with knitting scarves so decided to do something a bit different.   'Everyone got involved in the knitting and we all really enjoyed doing it. We really felt it would bring a smile to some young children’s faces.

'But when we tried several nurseries and organisations we were told that the village couldn’t be used because the wool couldn’t be sterilised.  'Apparently, it didn’t have the correct health and safety certificate. It was such a shame as we had always planned to give it to a local children’s hospice or hospital.'

Beryl Kingman, 72, another of the creators, added: 'We didn’t think of this ‘health and safety’ when we started it.

'We started with the intention of giving it away to four or five-year-olds to play with.  'But because of health and safety issues it cannot be sterilised or disinfected, so you would have a problem with a children’s hospice or waiting rooms.'

The ladies decided to display the village at a local horticultural show where it caught the eye of a charity volunteer.  He told them of a South African orphanage he said would be absolutely delighted to have it for the youngsters.  The giant toy has now been boxed up in sections, and is ready to be dispatched in the coming weeks.

Marion Baker, president of the Sidford WI, said: 'It has everything you would expect to see in your typical village.  'It’s very intricate - there are roses around the cottages and even the cows have udders.

'It will be lovely if the village can indeed be sent over to the orphanage in South Africa as the children there will get so much enjoyment out of it'.


The Legacy of Liberalism

The 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King's march on Washington is causing a lot of people in my generation to reminisce.

In doing so, it is hard not to be struck by two puzzling facts: (a) the fall of racial barriers to success almost everywhere and (b) the lack of economic progress in the black community as a whole, relative to whites. On the one hand, it would seem that a black in America can achieve almost anything, even being elected president of the United States. On the other hand, if we compare the economic condition of blacks and whites as a whole, you would be tempted to conclude that almost no progress has been made.

For example, blogger Brad Plummer reminds us that:

    · The gap in household income between blacks and whites hasn't really narrowed at all in the last 50 years.

    · The black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for 50 years.

    · For the past 50 years, black unemployment has almost always been at recession levels.

This incongruity has given rise to two liberal myths — repeated frequently on television talk shows over the past week: (a) that the fall in racial barriers is the result of liberal legislation, designed to outlaw discrimination in the private sector and (b) that the lack of economic progress is evidence that liberals haven't done enough — that still more intervention is needed to correct the effects of current and past discrimination.

The reality I believe is just the reverse. The decline of racial barriers in the job market and throughout the economic system — at least outside the south — had very little to do with liberal legislation. But the lack of economic progress by the black community as a whole is in many ways the result of the liberal approach to politics. On balance, liberalism has been an obstacle to black progress, not a help.

The natural assumption is to believe that a lot of labor market regulation is preventing discrimination — against blacks and other minorities, against women, against…Well, against just about everybody who isn't a young, white male with an Ivy League degree. However, June O'Neill, an economist who used to direct the Congressional Budget Office, and her husband Dave O'Neill have produced a comprehensive study of this issue and they find that the natural assumption is wrong.

Take the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The O'Neills find that the black/white wage gap was narrowing at about the same rate in the two decades leading up to the passage of the act as it did in the years that followed. Only in the South is there evidence that the legislation mattered. Outside the South, federal legislation basically followed social change rather than lead it. The wages of blacks rose relative to those of whites over time for two primary reasons: (1) more schooling and better schooling and (2) the migration of blacks out of the South.

[The approach of the Kennedy White House to race relations, by the way, was similar to the way Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama approached gay rights. One is tempted to call it "cowardly." In all these cases, the politicians waited until public opinion had clearly shifted before announcing their own change of heart and before doing or saying anything that would be considered politically risky. In other words, these presidents didn't lead. They followed.]

But isn't there a lot of discrimination going on right now? Isn't regulation combatting it? Take the difference in pay for black and white men. The O'Neills find that the difference narrows to just 4% after adjusting for years of schooling and it reduces to zero when you factor in test scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is basically an intelligence test. In other words, after adjusting for just two factors that cause people to be different, the pay gap between black and white men disappears entirely. Among women, the gap actually reverses after adjusting for education and AFQT scores. Black women get paid more than white women.

Among Hispanic and white men, the pay gap narrows to 8% after adjusting for years of schooling and disappears altogether with the addition of AFQT scores. Among the women, these two variables cause the pay gap to reverse. As in the case of race, Hispanic women are actually paid somewhat more than white women.

But if discrimination isn't holding back black Americans, what is? Answer: the liberal economics.

The political genius of Roosevelt was to combine people who had nothing in common and who didn't even like each other into one grand coalition. This included farmers, labor union members, civil servants, the elderly, southern racists, blacks, etc. [Yes, black and white racists in the South both voted Democrat for years!] For each group, the liberal Democrat approach was to use the power of government to intervene in the marketplace. In return they expected political support. For example, the farmers got price supports; the steel workers got tariffs; the elderly got Social Security, etc.

In the Franklin Roosevelt era, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) became a cartel agent for the trucking industry as well as the railroads. The Civil Aeronautics Board became a cartel agent for the airlines. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became a cartel agent for the broadcasters. The primary goal of all these agencies was to suppress "ruinous competition" and make sure the industries were profitable. Of course, you could argue (and some economists did) that regulation served the interest of both consumers and producers — a viewpoint that largely rejects almost everything Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations. However, even the pretense of consumer protection was blatantly tossed aside with the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

The goal of the NIRA (modeled after Italian fascism) was to allow each industry to set its own prices, set its own wages and control its own output. Had Roosevelt gotten his way, we would have had predatory monopolies in every market. Fortunately, the NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But suppose the court had ruled the other way? Or suppose president Roosevelt had succeeded in his effort to overturn the decision by packing the court? Can you imagine what would have happened to blacks, immigrants, other minorities and any new entrants to the labor market?

Almost all government intervention in the labor market was designed to help establish unions (the modern equivalent of medieval guilds) and to promote their interests. Minimum wage laws were seen not as a way of lifting people out of poverty, but as a way of preventing blacks and other outsiders from competing for jobs. Skilled labor competes against unskilled labor. And the political goal of skilled labor has always been to price its competition out of the market.

Similarly, equal-pay-for-equal-work laws and the Davis Bacon Act (requiring that all workers on federal projects be paid the prevailing union wage) were seen as ways to prevent black workers from "stealing" white worker's jobs. In the old days, before there was "political correctness," politicians actually said these things in congressional debates.

What I'm describing contradicts not only Adam Smith, but also almost all of modern economics. Special monopoly privileges designed for one group create benefits for that group, but harm everyone else. And the harm to society as a whole is inevitably much greater than the benefits to the special interests.

That's where black Americans come in. Liberal government promises them a pittance or two. But these are mere crumbs compared to the harm of being closed out of huge portions of the labor market. Of being forced to send their children to bad schools because they cannot afford the price of an expensive house. Of being denied the right to choose better schools for their children because of counter promises made to the teacher's unions. Of being forced to rely on public provision of housing, transportation, and medical care because government regulation has priced low-cost alternatives out of the market. Of being seduced by a welfare state that subsidizes and enables single black mothers who try to provide for the 73% of all black children who are born out of wedlock. Of watching traditional black culture disintegrate along with the black family.


Australia:  Federal conservative leader stands by MP in burqa row

BURQAS are confronting and should never be widespread on the streets of Australia, Tony Abbott says.

The Opposition Leader was responding to comments reportedly made by McMahon Liberal candidate Ray King that burqas are a "sign of oppression" and can be linked to criminality.

Mr Abbott described Mr Ray as a decorated police officer and "outstanding" candidate.

He said he understood Mr King's comments to be more about identifying people in policing situations, given their attire.

"I've been asked about the burqa on lots of occasions and whenever I've been asked about the burqa I've said that I find it a very confronting form of attire," he said.

"Frankly it's not the sort of attire that I'd like to see widespread in our streets.  "But this is a free country.  "Everyone's entitled to make their choice and if people want to wear a burqa, it's ultimately their business."

Earlier, Mr Abbott said he expects Labor to ramp up a "smear campaign" against the Coalition in the next week.

And it comes as a Newspoll published today in The Weekend Australian predicts a wipe-out for Labor.

He said polls would tighten sharply in the final week as politics got ugly.  "Mr Rudd is a very clever politician and the Labor Party are ruthless politicians ... and we're going to see plenty of low politics in the last week,'' Mr Abbott said this morning.

Ray - former Liverpool police commander - is standing against Treasurer Chris Bowen who has called for him to answer questions, including explaining his links with disgraced detective Roger Rogerson, who reportedly attended the launch.

Mr Abbott said Mr King was an "outstanding" candidate.

"We've already seen a nasty smear campaign against all sorts of our members and candidates including that outstanding policeman Ray King in Sydney," he said.

"It's just contemptible the way the Treasurer of this country, who is constantly demanding honesty and integrity when it comes to budget figures, is making unsubstantiated smears against a great servant of the people of NSW."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.



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