In the Northern Rivers the mention of vaccination evokes images not of children protected from serious diseases but of conflict. Recently the anti-vaccination forces have over-played their hand and fostered a backlash from medical bodies, government and the broader public. However, vaccine refusers – self-styled ‘conscientious objectors’ – continue to peddle alarmism on the internet, as a local GP laments...

I have had a most enjoyable medical career and seen so many marvellous changes in the way we treat and manage our patients. I still have clear memories of a close relative who caught polio as a teenager, and of the enormous impact that this had on her life, and still does. Yet today one of her grandchildren has not been vaccinated because the child’s parents are worried about all vaccines.

 

Read more: World Wide Wackery infects vaccine issue

I attended a Liberal Party fund raiser in Ballina nearly 10 years ago, Prime Minister John Howard as the guest. He spoke off the cuff for 40 minutes; fluently and eloquently. His energy and commitment were obvious to all. I was most impressed. 

After the dinner he went around the room and chatted briefly with each table of benefactors. If shaking a man's hand makes him vote for you, John Howard was set to get an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Unfortunately, just before he got to our table, he was whisked away by his minders. (He had to be up early the next morning for a walk.) ... so near, but yet so far.

Read more: Speed Dating with the Minister

Tension pneumothorax

Walking one’s dog is a true pleasure, the exercise being as good for the health of the owner as for the dog itself. However, our suburbs can harbour hazards, not least the dogs of others, particularly when unleashed and of an aggressive breed or disposition. 

On a recent morning walk my little dog Scruffy, a timid and harmless chap, was attacked unexpectedly by a large dog. He was picked up around the chest wall and shaken in what seemed to be a split second. Whilst I was able to separate them without, mercifully, sustaining injury to myself, Scruffy unfortunately received a serious chest injury. 

Read more: Dog day afternoon - Scruffy battles pneumothorax