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Andrew Burd

Andrew Burd: Chaperones, sex, and lies

6 Feb, 13 | by BMJ

Andrew BurdI suspect that like many others of my generation the concept of a chaperone was introduced through school era reading of the classic works of Jane Austin. The necessity to protect the virtue of the young unmarried lady (of any significant social standing) required the presence of an older companion if any social intercourse with the opposite sex were to be encountered. more…

Andrew Burd: Are data real?

17 Jan, 13 | by BMJ

Andrew BurdI have just turned 60 and am due to retire at the end of this academic year. In anticipation of this rather sad situation I enrolled, two years ago, in a part time PhD in epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is a research based degree and continues my life long interest in paediatric burns care. Primary prevention of paediatric burns has always been a major concern, and now I have an opportunity to look at it in more depth. One of my community service hats is that of chairman of the prevention committee of the International Society of Burns Injuries (ISBI). I am trying to promote an awareness of global prevention in burns that spans from primary, through secondary, tertiary, and quaternary prevention. In all aspects of prevention, data is needed both to record the past, but also to predict the future. I should digress for one moment to mention that after giving a presentation on the importance of data at an International Burns meeting held in China last year, a senior American burns surgeon could not resist criticising me for my use of the word data. I was using it as a collective noun, but he wanted me to talk about datum (singular) and data (plural).
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Andrew Burd on toxic beauty treatments

12 Oct, 12 | by BMJ

Andrew BurdA recent report in the South China Morning Post described three ladies who developed septic shock and needed ICU admission after receiving “beauty” treatments in a local clinic. More details are available on the government website.  It is apparent that the ladies were all receiving treatments with intravenous infusions.

Intravenous infusions sound “invasive” to me, and it is of particular concern that such invasive treatments should be given in a beauty clinic.  Who was responsible?  What training had been given?  What facilities were available if something went wrong?  What protocols were in place to ensure that patient, sorry, client safety was ensured? more…

Andrew Burd on a white coat party

25 May, 12 | by BMJ Group

Last week the annual celebration of the passing of the final MBChB exams took place at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is a tradition. Saturday morning, after a week of exams, the successful students gather in the lecture theatre. They all proudly wear new white coats given by the Faculty of Medicine and spend a few hours listening to words of wisdom from the faculty dean, the dean of education, the chairman of the department of surgery, and other luminaries. The occasion is relaxed, it is fun, it is a celebration (see photo). more…

Andrew Burd: Ethics and clinical trial registration

8 May, 12 | by BMJ Group

Andrew Burd These days I do not so often have a gauntlet dispatched in my direction, but when one lands at my feet I have an irresistible urge to pick it up.  By way of explanation, one of my passing pleasures is to engage in debate and discussion in the WAME list serve, a discussion forum for members of the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME). more…

Andrew Burd on young women in flames

7 Mar, 12 | by BMJ Group

Andrew BurdWhilst reading the 27 February issue of the South China Morning Post, my eye was caught by an article titled “Mother of girl set on fire vows court action.” This was a detailed story of a teenage girl in Anhui province who had kerosene poured over her and was set alight by a man whose advances she had refused. This happened last year and it would appear that the family had decided not to settle out of court with the assailants family to cover the medical costs of treating the girl.  The family was going to pursue legal action and the mother had turned to the internet last week to seek help with her case. It is obvious the case is causing strong feelings to emerge in the Chinese internet community. An additional point of outrage is the dalliance of the police in preparing an injury report. Whether this is justified is not clear as it will certainly take time in the UK to complete the assessment of the prognosis in a burn victim.  What struck me though was the prominence given to this incident, in terms of column inches (two columns of around ten inches each). Contrast this with a  report in the Indian Express (16 January 2012). In just two column inches was a report of a 17 year old girl who was allegedly abducted, raped, and set on fire by four youths in the Khekhreru area of Uttar Pradesh by four youths. The girl had been admitted to hospital where her condition was critical. I read this whilst in Mumbai waiting for a plane back to Hong Kong. Of note I had been at a wonderful conference of Indian Reconstructive Microsurgeon held in Aurangabad.  My Indian friends in Hong Kong responded in a very matter of fact way when I told them of the article and said that the youths would have just been trying to destroy evidence of the rape. more…

Andrew Burd on hot potatoes in Hong Kong

26 Jan, 12 | by BMJ

Andrew BurdThere is no doubt that Hong Kong is going through an identity crisis. Those who have had teenage children will appreciate the mood swings and the irrational emotionality of the conflicted child; anxious to grow up but reluctant to face the reality of adulthood. I came to Hong Kong two years after the handover/return of the territory to mainland China. Economically things were not so bright, but politically Hong Kong residents were still delighted with their new freedom from British colonial rule. Now we are in 2012 and the fateful 2047 seems not so distant anymore. As the territory moves inexorably towards full reunification with mainland China, the days of British rule are increasingly being referred to in nostalgic terms. more…

Andrew Burd: Moments of madness

28 Oct, 11 | by BMJ Group

Andrew BurdThree months in prison for a kiss on the back. Weeping in the dock with the realisation of the implication. A moment of madness. And that is the point. Madness is not the same as badness. A 45 year old male GP from Wanchai was examining a 25 year old female. She was lying face down on the examination bed and he loosened her bra and kissed her back. The case was reported in the English and Chinese press last week. According to the local radio the girl was complaining of back pain and the GP was examining her.  Sometimes terms are lost in translation, at other times they gain in meaning and implication, and in English the word “massage” has been used in the context of the translation of said examination. Whatever the case the key issue was that the doctor did not have a chaperone. The reason why, has not been elaborated but in many cases it is economic i.e. the saving of another salary. The report describes a middle aged father of two young children who does good works for his local church. more…

Andrew Burd on Chinese medicine, burns, and HIV

27 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Andrew BurdA story has just emerged in the local press about a 30 year old woman from Guangdong province (just across the border from Hong Kong) who sustained 85% deep burns in an agricultural accident. The reason this unfortunate burns patient became the focus of publicity is that she is HIV positive and that has led to her being refused treatment in three different hospitals. Details are scanty regarding the original route of infection although there are a significant number of HIV positive patients in China related to blood transfusion contamination. Whatever the case the hospitals concerned raised the issue of risk to health care workers from dealing with an extensive burns patient with a socially stigmatised infectious disease. more…

Andrew Burd: Karma

5 Sep, 11 | by BMJ Group

Andrew BurdKarma is a word that has distinct cultural meanings and can relate to spiritual or more secular events. Whatever the context, the general meaning concerns actions and consequences. After the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, China in 2008 it was an acknowledged faux pas for Sharon Stone to relate the death and destruction to “bad karma” over the Mainland’s treatment of Tibet. more…

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