Saturday, February 9, 2008

Staff requests: 2 cases and Ethics: challenge

It has recently been brought to my attention that there may be ethical problems with posting cases the way I have been, even though I have been very careful to remove any personally identifying information. Hopefully I will be able to continue once I have spoken to the ethics consultant at the hospital in order to confirm that all is indeed okay.

In the meantime I have taken the cases offline (hopefully temporarily), and today I will write about a couple of requests I've gotten from staff.



One of the health professionals (HP) at the clinic asks me to find some information regarding which vaccines that do not contain thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative used in multi-dose vials to prevent contamination) are available in Canada, as one of his patients has expressed concerns over the additive. He gives me a list of possible vaccines.


I run several searches in Google which verify the correct spelling and allow me to narrow my results to those pertinent to Canada. Unfortunately, as I write this, I do not remember my exact searches, except that I did not include the vaccines from the list in my searches. I do remember running several relatively convoluted ones before I was able to find the information I was looking for. I have tried to reproduce my search for the purposes of this post and for some reason I am only able to find an older 1 March 2003 version of the 2007 document I am ultimately able to find for the HP:

Canada Communicable Disease Report
Volume 33 • ACS-6
1 July 2007 An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS) National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)
Thimerosal: Updated Statement


I find the older version by typing in thimerosal canada which is a search I know I would have run the last time, so I am doubly confused at to why I did not find the older version last time but have now found it so easily. Having found it there would have been no reason to keep looking as there is no indication that there is a more recent version available. This is yet another example of why searching for information using Google can be hit and miss. I have tried to reproduce searches before and have had similar problems, something I demonstrate in the Google course I developed for the Health Sciences Library: Google-eyed? Don't despair! How often do we take screen captures of our search results? It is way too easy for us to doubt ourselves and not the tool we have become so dependent on.

Total time: 30 mins



One of the GPs at the clinic asks me where he can find decision aids to use with his patients and their families.


I happen to have a very useful site already bookmarked in MyHq so I show it to him: Ottawa health research Institute A-Z Inventory of Patient decision aids.

I also show him a really neat one I have found recently during an encounter with a family member in the Gynecologic Oncology department: Ovarian Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients– Version III, April 2007. The reason I like this one so much is that is not just a list you can print out and tick off, but rather a fully interactive tool that works something like a choose you own adventure.

Total time: 5 mins

No comments: