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What's So Important About 5,230?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

Saturday, December 2, 2006

"I've decided to start publishing your column", the editor remarked to me. Then he added, "You realize your life will never be the same again?" How true! 30 years later I've now written a newspaper column every week, 52 weeks a year, a total of 5,230 articles. It's an experience I wouldn't have missed. And what have I learned?

Congratulations, You Should Be Proud At Your Age!

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

October 11, 2006

It was not a good day at the office. My morning was just ending, when two female investigators from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, arrived without notice and asked to see me. I was handed an envelope and one woman immediately started to take notes. This was not a good sign. So I asked the reason for the sudden visit and was shocked to hear I had been accused of sexual misconduct.

Sex For Psychiatric Patients

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

November 20, 2005

How times have changed! I've often complained that toe-tapping music has gone, now replaced by loud singers who shout or gyrate. We used to have more sense. But when it came to sex how much sense did we have? Not much, compared to what is now happening. At the Centre Hospitalier Robert-Gillard, the largest psychiatric hospital in eastern Quebec, a new policy allows psychiatric patients to have sex. This reminded me of Thorupgaarden nursing home in Copenhagen and its "ladies-of-the-night".

Why we Should Allow Sterilization of a Mentally Retarded Person

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

June 5, 2005

If these people cannot care for themselves how can they care for a child?

Eight Good Reasons to Make Love

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

April 26, 2005

Are you fed up reading about war, our failing health care system and crooked CEOs? If so, let's discuss a more pleasant topic, the way to ensure a long and healthy life. Some are convinced that jogging, a variety of diets or a daily glass of red wine is the answer. But what about sex? The fact is that making love is downright good for you. Here are eight reasons why you should put more amore into your life.

I'll Loan You My Daughter If This Doesn't Worry You!

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 5, 2005

What can we learn from history as we start 2005? Thirty years ago I filed away an article and forgot about it. An editorial in The Ontario Medical Review claimed that people were becoming obsessed with health. It suggested that if the U.S Declaration of Independence were written today it would declare that it was the pursuit of health, rather than the pursuit of happiness, that would be the third inalienable right of Americans. Another old clipping reminded me of Kissick, his Law and his daughter.

The Math Of Medical Ethics 101

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

December 14, 2004

"What an incredible story", I thought as I read the article. But it wasn't published in a prestigious medical journal. Rather, it was an article in the New Yorker Magazine written by Ian Parker about about Zell Kravinsky. Zell had given away almost his entire 45 million dollar real estate fortune to charity. Then he donated a kidney to save a young stranger's life. He had even considered donating his other kidney and subjecting himself to kidney dialysis to save another young life. This is Sacrifice with a capital S! Yet thousands of his fellow citizens refuse to donate organs even after their death to those who desperately need them.

A Bus Advertisement May Be The Answer

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

November 16, 2004

"Why must I wait so long for a cataract operation?" a reader asks. Another angrily decries that her mother had to die in agony from terminal cancer. This past year I've received an increasing number of letters from readers dealing with such problems. But during a recent trip to Oxford University, England, I noticed a bus advertisement that suggested a way to solve these dilemmas.

Genetic Family History 101

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

Octiober 26, 2004

How much should you worry if your father died of a heart attack at age 50? Or your mother developed breast cancer at 40 years of age? Or a brother required surgery for malignancy of the colon at an early age? Or there's a strong family history of diabetes or osteoporosis? In these cases how beneficial is genetic testing?

It's Okay To Inhale To Stop Smoking

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

October 19, 2004

An economist, analyzing financial disasters, remarked that "If you keep going to hell you'll eventually get there". This warning equally applies to the millions of people who still smoke and eventually die from this addiction. Today, there is no greater madness than smoking when research proves that smoking kills. Fortunately, there's a new treatment that can help to save these needless deaths. In this case it's okay to inhale to quit smoking, with the newest smoking cessation, the Nicorette inhaler.

The cheapest, safest and best remedy for the common cough

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

August 9, 2004

Voltaire, the French philosopher and writer, once remarked, "The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature heals the disease". Year after year, North Americans spend millions of dollars on medication they believe is going to help them. But it's often a waste of money when a dummy pill can cure a variety of ailments.

A Cesarean Section On A Lucky Day?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

May 16, 2004

Should pregnant women have the right to demand a Cesarean section even if there's no bone-fide reason for the operation? Or be allowed to have the C-section on a lucky day? Today more women are asking for this right. But is this request utter madness?

Sir Isaac Newton's Boob Lifter

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

May 10, 2004

How do I remember Niagara Falls? I'm standing at the brink of the falls on a cold, snowy, night with no one else around. Years ago when I practiced medicine in that city I often stopped on my way home to see this awe-inspiring sight. For others its image is the "Honeymoon Capital of the World". But I hope it won't be soon known as "Boob City". And I'm sure the British physicist, Sir Isaac Newton, would not be impressed by the way his law is being used.

Medical Madness Christmas 2003

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

December 21, 2003

It's often said that "Lunatics are in charge of the asylum". Now I'm convinced they're also in charge of medical care. This holiday season I wish I had a good medical news for readers. But there are times when I wonder how politicians, lawyers and medical ethicists can be so void of common sense.

It's Great Science, But all the more need for a living will

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

October 13, 2003

It's said that "a picture is worth a thousand words". And the one that I recently saw in the Medical Post is one that's hard to forget. The picture shows a man totally paralyzed due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. To me it illustrates the best and worst of science.

Pogo Was Right

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

September 29, 2003

How long should we be our brothers' keeper? A report in the British newspaper, The Guardian, claims that being a Samaritan is coming to an end in England. Smokers and overweight people will soon be asked to sign contracts with their doctors. They will have to agree to a program to quit smoking and lose weight under a radical medical plan drawn up by the Labour government. Health secretary, Alan Milburn, says it's an attempt to remind people of their own responsibilities. The document will not deny medical care to those who refuse to sign the agreement. But the government wants to make it clear that smokers and overweight people must play a role in caring for themselves by stopping smoking, losing weight, eating a more nutritious diet, and exercising.

A Letter From Singapore

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

August 17, 2003

This week, something I've never done before. I've often published comments from readers, but never an entire letter. But I believe this unsolicited letter from Singapore is interesting, thought-provoking and too important to toss away. As the lawyers say "Res ipsa loquitor". This letter speaks for itself.

Could Genetically Designed Humans Be Any Worse?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

July 14, 2003

How would you like to live in a world where there was no dishonesty? No more devious Enron accountants. No need to lock your doors. No more headlines that a police officer was shot to death for no reason. No more drug pushers. No more September 11's. But judging from past history none of this is going to happen. So faced with such a lousy track record wouldn't genetically designed humans free of corrupt and lethal genes be an improvement?

Many Reservations For Thorupgaarden Nursing Home!

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

May 11, 2003

Some columns strike a particular note with readers. The one I wrote about Copenhagen's Thorupgaarden nursing home, struck high C. Every Saturday night pornographic videos are shown on the home's internal channel. If residents remain depressed after this therapy they can request that a prostitute be allowed to visit. The Danish medical community decided this treatment was superior to Prozac. I've received a response from readers, second only to the column on the fractured male organ.

My E-Mail Nightmare

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

February 16, 2003

My daughter said, "Dad don't do it. You don't need the headaches. Just write your column". My three sons cautioned, "You have no conception of what you're getting into. There will be loads of technical problems. Stick to your column" Well I didn't take their counsel and they were right. Agreeing to provide readers with free medical updates by E-mail has given me E-mailitis. The response was massive, a bloody nightmare. And I keep hearing voices "don't do it". So what happened?

Help Your Family By Signing A Living Will

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

February 2, 2003

How many times have we all said, "I must do that one of these days". Yet, all to often, one of these days, means none of these days. Procrastinating about some things may mean a bit of an inconvenience later on. But failure to sign a "Living Will" in 2003 can result in much needless suffering.

"Terminal Sedation" Is Not Death With Dignity

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 26, 2003

How much will you endure when you're dying? Many patients say, "I want enough painkiller to prevent all pain." Others add "When there's no further hope of survival give me sufficient medication to end my misery". Recently the University of Toronto Joint Centre For Bioethics issued new guidelines for doctors who treat pain. But how much pain will they stop?

Readers Want A Singapore Solution For Canada

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 12, 2003

It wasn't the usual Christmas column, I agree. But I was tired of reading about brain damaged babies born to mothers on crack cocaine, safe injection sites for addicts, gun deaths in shopping malls and drug traffickers flaunting the law in broad daylight. How the billions of dollars it costs this country could be better used to treat patients. So I asked readers what they thought about Singapore's tough laws for criminals. I've received a ton of letters and E-mails, many asking for a summary of the response.

Why Don't You Publish Your E-mail Address?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 5, 2003

How the years fly by. Years ago I started typing on a manual typewriter, then graduated to an electric one. Eventually I was shoved, kicking and screaming, to a word processor. Again reluctant, I accepted a more sophisticated computer with more bells and whistles than I would ever need. And unless you're a teenager, many of you know it isn't easy learning all the gizmos that go along with it. Some days I would have gladly shot the beast. Now I'm reasonably computerized and so are many others. That's why more and more letters from readers ask me, "Why don't you put your E-mail address at the end of your column?"

The Prescription, Singapore, Not Safe Injection Sites

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

December 15, 2002

Aha! Inspiration for a Christmas column. At breakfast this morning I read the morning newspaper. Page after page of it was devoted to increasing urban crime, young people killed in gun fights in broad daylight and drug problems in Vancouver. But what made me dream of Prozac was how authorities intend to counteract all this. Publicly funded injection sites for illegal drug users, a committee to investigate the police and the right to vote for murderers. Am I dreaming?

Doctors Should Not Dress Like Used-Car Salesmen

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

December 1, 2002

"Thank God it's Friday." That's an expression we often hear in the workplace. Friday was once "dress down" day and everybody loved the relaxed dress code at the end of the week. Now it's relaxed clothing every day of the week. I have no idea how this casualness has affected the efficiency of the business community. But dressing-down has had an effect on how patients judge their doctors.

Will I get Another "Tin Cup" Award?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

October 6, 2002

Some things I understand. That some people with religious, moral or ethical beliefs can denounce abortion and euthanasia. What I cannot understand is how people, organizations, social workers and government can throw common sense to the wind on other social issues. Their failure to realize that the old adage "Mother knows best" is often true. So this year, will I again win the disabled organization's "Tin Cup" award?

How About A Laugh This Week?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

September 29, 2002

"Why do people instantly dislike to me when they find out I'm a lawyer?" a man asked. His friend replied, "It just saves time".

Snufffing Out Medicinal Marijuana Is The Wrong Move?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

September 22, 2002

How would you feel if you were suffering the terrible symptoms of cancer, Aids and other serious diseases? If you knew that smoking marijuana provided some relief, but then be told that Anne McLellan, the new Federal Minister of Health, had vetoed the plan to supply pot. I don't believe anyone without such agonizing symptoms knows how disappointed and frustrated these patients must be. What she has done is unbelievable hypocrisy. What's worse the Canadian Medical Association in its infinite wisdom has agreed with her.

Pornography At Nursing Homes?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

September 15, 2002

This week I ran into the same problem I've encountered many times before. Many writers will understand. I was bored, weary of my computer and barren of ideas. I've written 1400 columns during the last 28 years. And I desperately needed a new topic to keep me from falling asleep. Suddenly I discovered it in Denmark. Then I couldn't wait to get back to my computer. Why? Because this story could never happen in "Canada, The Good".

Do Support Groups Extend Life?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

August 4, 2002

Does the power of positive thinking extend life when patients face serious life-threatening disease? Will joining support groups add months or years to life? Will they provide psychological benefit and ease the pain? Or is holding hands with strangers just a lot of hokus pocus?

"Botox" The New Wrinkle-Free Cosmetic Boom

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

July 14, 2002

What a paradox! Botulism toxin, historically one of the world's deadly killers, has now been approved by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as "Botox", a new cosmetic treatment. The result? Thousands of aging baby boomers, TV stars and others are lining up to have this well-known poison injected into their skin to bring back their youth. And in ditzy California they're even organizing "Botox parties"!

95 Percent OK Prescription Farm Work

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

March 31, 2002

I recently reported that many women in hostels were spending government cheques on crack cocaine. That they refused to clean their rooms claiming they had "rights". My medical prescription was "farm work for a year" and I applauded Singapore's method of dealing with drug pushers. I asked readers for their opinion.

Is The Answer A Tax on Fatty Foods?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

March 3, 2002

This week a change of pace. Recently I was questioned by the media about the obesity epidemic. This is what I told them.

The Best Prescription: "Farm Work"

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

February 10, 2002

This week I want to see if I'm out in left field or if other Canadians share my opinion. That the best medical prescription for some people is "farm work".

Can You Pass This Test?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

February 2, 2002

I've often wondered who the most interesting person was of all those I've interviewed over the last 27 years? It's a tough decision. After all, how do you eliminate a two-time Nobel Prize winner like Linus Pauling? Or the discoverer of the Aids virus? Or The Queen of England's personal physician. But in these recent black days my mind has returned repeatedly to Dr. Thomas Hackett, a professor of psychiatry at The Harvard Medical School. In these post-Bin Laden times, see if you flunk or pass this quiz.

Rats Get Priority Over

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

January 6, 2002

Why write about rats as we start 2002? Surely there are more relevant topics to discuss. But as we begin another year I wonder why rats receive more humane treatment than humans! Will we ever get our priorities straight?

Doctors Should Prescribe Marijuana For Those who Need it

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

Saturday, December 1, 2001

I've been a medical journalist for 27 years. It's made me a terrible skeptic. But for good reason. I've seen too many distortions of the truth in medicine. I've seen too many colleagues sit-on-the-fence rather than take a stand on controversial issues. I've seen too many fight the use of painkillers when they could ease the agony of dying cancer patients. Above all else I've seen too often a complete void of common sense. Now I'm seeing it again, patients who need marijuana to ease their suffering but can't obtain it.


W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker's website is: Docgiff.com

My book, “90 + How I Got There” can be obtained by sending $19.95 to:

Giff Holdings, 525 Balliol St, Unit # 6,Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1E1

Pre-2008 articles by Gifford Jones