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More will die, says fed up surgeon

February 23, 2005 - A LEADING Sydney surgeon who quit in frustration warned today more cancer patients would die unless urgent action was taken to reduce surgical waiting lists.

Professor David Morris resigned last month as divisional director at St George Hospital because he believed it was wrong to make patients wait up to six months for an operation.

Prof Morris said today he had had great difficulty coping with the death of two people who had been waiting for treatment.

"The thing that I felt was something I really couldn't cope with, was the length of time our cancer patients were waiting (for surgery)," he said.

"I basically only operate on cancer and we have got patients with liver cancer waiting three months before their surgery.

"For the more complex procedure of peritonectomy, we currently have people waiting six months and I don't think those waiting times are appropriate.

"I think it's something I can't be part of in an administrative sense."

Prof Morris said he believed more people on waiting lists for cancer treatment such as mesothelioma and pseudomyxoma peritonei would die unless a solution was found to the chronic waiting list problem.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Bill Glasson said waiting lists were to blame for doctors such as Prof Morris resigning from their posts across Australia.

"In frustration at seeing these people languishing on waiting lists doctors say 'I can't stand it, I'm out of here' because you feel responsible for the list," he said.

"It's your waiting list and therefore it's your responsibility."

A tremendous capacity within public hospitals was under-utilised and the public was not aware of this, Dr Glasson said.

"There are teams of surgeons and nurses who stand around waiting to have access to theatres," he said.

Health Minister Morris Iemma said he was disappointed by Prof Morris' decision to step down.

The NSW Government had offered additional support to Prof Morris' specialist cancer unit last year, Mr Iemma said.

"I met with David last year and we made a special allocation to David Morris' unit at St George of $2.5 million," he said.

"I might also add that (of) the $2.5 million that was allocated, we've received very little result in the sense of what outcomes were achieved ... but it (was given) on the basis of wanting to continue to work with David and his unit."

The NSW Opposition called for an independent investigation into Prof Morris' claims people had died while waiting for treatment.


Ex-Navy engineer wins asbestos suit

Bob Egelko

SAN FRANCISCO - March 26, 2005 - A jury has awarded $2.1 million to a 60-year-old former Navy engineer and his wife for exposure to asbestos that left him with terminal lung cancer.

Anthony and Maxlyn Cadlo of Pine Haven, Wyo., won the verdict Tuesday against John Crane Inc. of Illinois and Metalclad Insulation Corp. of Anaheim after a six-week trial in San Francisco Superior Court.

Cadlo joined the Navy in 1964, at age 18, served four years and was in combat in Vietnam. He was exposed to asbestos from the equipment and insulation he installed and removed on the ship and from dust emitted by the destroyer's guns when fired in combat, his suit said.

Cadlo was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2002 and is near death, the couple's lawyer, Christopher Andreas, said.

Jurors assigned one-third of the fault to the Navy, but it is immune from damages, Andreas said.

John Crane, which formerly manufactured asbestos pumps and valve packing, and Metalclad, which supplied asbestos insulation, both denied that their products caused Cadlo's cancer. The jury assigned 4 percent of the responsibility to Metalclad and 3 percent to Crane and assessed their damages at $2.1 million.

Crane's lawyer, Philip Ward, and Lisa Oberg, a lawyer for Metalclad, said they would ask Judge John Conway to reduce or overturn the verdict.

Protein key to lung cancer drug response

WASHINGTON (myDNA News) - Mon 15 Aug 2005 - A protein called EMP-1 that is present in the tumors of patients who fail to respond to treatment with Gefitinib (Iressa) has been identified by Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The drug is used in the treatment of patients with non small-cell lung cancer - the most common and deadly form of lung cancer.

Study senior author Dr. David Agus said "Our results show that the EMP-1 protein is a biomarker for resistance to treatment with Gefitinib and may enable us to identify patients who won't respond to the drug. If we know who won't respond, we can explore other treatment options sooner and use Gefitinib when patients will benefit. This means we will be able to maximize use of this dug and treat more patients effectively."

Gefitinib is a drug approved to be used only after conventional treatment with chemotherapy has failed. But, Gefitinib is effective in only one-tenth of patients with non small-cell lung cancer, and most of the patients develop resistance to the drug. Due to the limitations of Gefitinib, scientists started looking for proteins within cancer tumor cells that might indicate who would be most responsive to the drug.

Researchers first developed a resistant tumor model in the laboratory in order to identify the proteins involved in resistance to Gefitinib. Researchers chose prostate cancer tumors for the study because of their similar behavior to non small-cell lung cancer. They found that EMP-1 was significantly expressed in the Gefitinib-resistant tumors, whereas it was not expressed in the Gefitinib sensitive model.

The study, published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, may ultimately help physicians identify patients who would benefit from treatment with Gefitinib.

Asbestosis claimants paid out more than R91m


07 August 2006 - THE Asbestos Relief Trust, set up to compensate asbestosis claimants, paid out more than R91m in 1378 claims in the past two years.

Trust chairman John Doidge said in his report today: "The manager’s report shows that to date we have been able to compensate 1378 people suffering with an asbestos related disease. The amount paid to these people is R91,371,598."

The average payment per claim was R68,000.

Since the first claim was received in March 2004, the Trust had worked closely with accredited claims handlers and set up offices in Johannesburg, Kuruman and Mpumalanga, to ensure claims were processed speedily.

The Trust was established by Gencor after extensive litigation was brought against the company.

It provides compensation to ex-miners, or people living in mining areas, who suffer from an asbestos-related disease, as well as the families of people who have died due to asbestos exposure.

In order to qualify for compensation, the claimant must have been employed by one of the qualifying operations during certain qualifying times when the mines were owned by Gencor, Gefco or Msauli.

Doidge said the highest payments to beneficiaries were made in the past 12 months with the Trust paying out R49,976,510 to more than 600 claimants.


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