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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 10 November 2018
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2018 Greek Australian doctor, 33, tragically killed in Whitsundays shark attack The shark population is out of control according to marine biologists and commercial fishermen in the area A trip to the Whitsunday Islands turned fatal for Daniel Christidis, who was tragically mauled to death by a shark while paddleboarding and swimming at Cid Harbour on Monday evening. The 33-year-old doctor who worked at Melbourne's Austin Health as an urologist has been remembered for his "heart of gold". WHO WAS DR DANIEL CHRISTIDIS Dr Christidis was a doctor who trained through the Austin Hospital after graduating where his passion for urology was ignited. He headed down the surgical pathway completing a Diploma of Surgical Anatomy. This was after studying medicine at Deakin University in Victoria as a postgraduate and after completing prior undergraduate studies. He became an enthusiastic and accomplished researcher culminating in international presentations and recognition well beyond his years. Some highlights included being the youngest elected member of the SIU young innovators committee and his instrumental involvement in setting up the YURO (Young Urology Researchers Organisation) which has seen urology research thrive in this region and globally. His journey in urology, although only beginning, was off to a flying start- all due to his diligence. The prizes and awards were only just the beginning. A vale was also published by BJU International; the leading monthly urology journal where Dr Christidis contributed in many ways (blogs, articles, creating projects), written by associate editor and colleague A/Prof Nathan Lawrentschuk MB BS PhD FRACS. "Daniel was a remarkable person- a unique individual who touched so many with his charm, style and intellect. He will be missed by so many – the world has been robbed of one of its true shining stars that was only beginning to rise," Prof Lawrentschuk wrote praising the late Dr Christidis for the many hats he wore, those of a doctor, researcher, young urologist, mentor, international contributor and organiser to name a few. "Dan rarely stepped aside from a challenge and was always willing to take part in adventures and travels in his personal life. Ironically his death is linked to the things he loved. He was inclusive, engaging and managed to make anyone in contact with him feel that they, and not he, was the centre of the universe. He was such a fun person to be around- laughing, smiling and filling up a room with his genuine love of life. “How do we make sense of such a tragic and unexpected event? The impact circles from those friends and bystanders who desperately tried to save him, his immediate and extended family, his friends, to the numerous colleagues and extended urology and research family he had created over the past years. “At age 33 years, Dan had so much left to give we can only cherish what was shared with us all and celebrate a person who engaged rather than watched - who loved life to the fullest - something to which we can all aspire. Our thoughts are with his parents, brother and sister who are undoubtedly proud of Dan - an incredible individual who will never be forgotten." Even the Victorian State Health Minister Jill Henessy MP was moved to comment on Twitter, highlighting what a loss his tragic death is. "We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Dr Daniel Christidis who was a research fellow with Austin Health," said a spokeswoman from the hospital. "Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time." She added that staff were being offered counselling to deal with the sudden loss of their colleague. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE CHRONICLE OF THE ATTACK Attacked by an unknown species of shark, the incident with Dr Christidis is the third serious attack in the area in two months. In September both Justine Barwick from Tasmania and Hannah Papps from Melbourne were bitten on separate occasions at Cid Harbour. Central Queensland Helicopter Rescue crewman Ben McCauley, 31, who tried to save Dr Christidis said he has been deeply affected by the man's death. McCauley attended the scene of all three attacks but until Monday's incident he was coping with the predicament as the first two victims survived. "It's tough," he told 7.30. "If you came in to work the next day and you pretended like it didn't affect you, you're just lying to yourself. One hundred per cent it affected me. "It's just something that will sit in the back of your mind. You went there, you did your best, it wasn't enough." The injuries from the attack were so bad that even though Dr Christidis' co-passengers had administered CPR and the wounds had been bandaged Practioner expresses concern over My Health Record As the deadline to opt-out of My Health Record fast approaches, Dr Con Costa feels it’s his responsibility to inform the community of the other side ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS Controversy surrounding My Health Record continues, as the deadline to opt out of the digital database fast approaches. Despite a senate inquiry into the matter recommending that it be postponed for 12 months, supported by Labor and the Greens, the coalition has chosen to ahead with its plan giving Australians until 15 November, after which around 17 million Australians will automatically have a health record created for them. It will include their medical data from the past two years including every doctor they have visited, medical conditions, pharmaceutical data, and pathology results – all of which will automatically become available to some 900,000 medical practitioners across the country - a reality that concerns Dr Con Costa. The outspoken Sydney-based practitioner says it could have long-term implications on patients if the data gets into the wrong hands. He says the original idea for My Health Record, which was designed as an opt in record for complex care patients and already had six million Australians on board, made sense. "I'm feeling very unhappy that something that started off as a doctors and computer people trying to help patients with chronic medical conditions - an elective scheme where the doctor and the patient decided, making an informed decision assisted by independent advice from their doctor – has changed," Dr Costa told Neos Kosmos. It is estimated that 40 per cent of Australians have yet to hear about My Health Record, a concerning figure given Dr Costa treats a large percentage of CALD patients. "They say it will be personally operated by you; you will have control. You can go in, you can take stuff out - which reduces the effectiveness of it anyway, you can block people from seeing it - great, sounds fantastic. None of my patients can do that! None are computer literate; they're older Greeks or migrants," he says. To help ease concerns, this week Health Minister Greg Hunt unveiled changes to the My Health Record legislation. Among them, the doubling of fines to $315,000 or up to five years' jail for those that misuse the e-health system, and that the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) cannot delegate access to patient records to other entities, health insurers cannot access records, and employers may not use them to discriminate against workers. But the legislation is unlikely to be set in stone by 15 November. "There's no law to prevent the sale of this private data to insurance companies and the corporations. If someone hacked it, or even if the government wanted to later sell the data to get the money back for all these costs," he says. "The government's saying now we're going to introduce some rules to say that the government can't do that, but who's to say that they can't change the laws down the track and say 'well maybe we can sell a little bit'" - a claim that may not be all that far fetched. My Health Record after all has a privacy framework that is identical to England's failed system, cancelled after it was found to be selling patient data to drug and insurance companies. "The big money this century isn't going to be from gold or uranium in the ground, it's going to be from this mass data. If you can get mass data you will control everything: economy, profits," he says. "How come Medicare has no money, the ABC has been cut back, so has Centrelink. There's no money for anything, and yet this thing ... they can't throw enough money at it. You start getting suspicious." Meanwhile it would seem Dr Costa isn't the only physician with concerns, the numbers speaking for themselves. "Three quarters of Australia's GPs have opted out – 30,000 specialists, only 300 have shown any interest. In other words, all the specialists are not in, so why am I sharing my record if the specialist isn't in? It's absolutely scandalous." Adding to Dr Costa's concerns is monetary incentive for uploading patients' data, with a payment of up to $50,000 per year, per medical practice being allocated. Taking his Hippocratic Oath seriously, he says this creates a conflict of interest. "My responsibility as a doctor is to protect you, that's what you come to me for. And I think now they're forcing the doctors into an unethical position. So you sit down with your doctor, and your doctor says 'I'll upload this, it's good for you' but the doctor's not saying 'and I'm going to get $50,000 a year for doing this'," he explains. While the record has in large part been justified to ensure better treatment of patients, with more accurate information, Dr Costa says that the biggest factor when it comes to mistakes in the medical field is a lack of time with the patient for critical thinking, a direct cause of a lack of funding for Medicare. With My Health record estimated to cost over $2 billion with annual costs currently at $500 million, he says the funding would be more wisely injected into Medicare to give doctors more time with patients to better understand problems and manage conditions. "Let's be quite clear about this, I would not be talking to you had it stayed as opt in because what the doctor and patient do voluntarily, that's their decision. I don't think it's safe, but I agree for someone that's 85 years old, has had cancer and lots of doctors," says Dr Costa. "I think My Health Record Opt In was the Trojan horse, getting all the medical professionals involved, thinking we were going to help the chronic, complex patients with this and then once they got us all involved, they changed it to opt out and thought we'd be stupid enough to keep supporting them. "You asked me why I'm doing this? Wouldn't you as a doctor? Having been trained in the Hippocratic Oath and watching all this happen, the more I looked at it, the worse the smell got." Dr Con Costa will give a free talk on My Health Record on Saturday 10 November at the Greek Bilingual Bookshop (837 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, NSW) at 11.00 am. Free entry. Presentations in English and Greek.
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