With waist­bands ex­pand­ing and no sign of self-reg­u­la­tion in sight, Mau­rice Gueret pon­ders a tar­rif on doc­tors’ cars

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - RUDE HEALTH - Dr Mau­rice Gueret is ed­i­tor of the Ir­ish Med­i­cal Di­rec­tory dr­mau­

to a main meal at lunchtime in­stead of bed­time? Have we sim­ply stopped cook­ing for our­selves? Is it all to do with por­tion sizes? I watched a fam­ily of lean Bel­gians hav­ing their evening meal in Con­nemara this sum­mer. Sur­rounded by Ir­ish din­ers who were all on the five-course spe­cial, each mem­ber of the fam­ily or­dered a soli­tary main course. And they all opted for the least pop­u­lar op­tions on the menu, namely the fish and the game. They drank wa­ter and re­tired as merry as any­one. The next morn­ing they were at break­fast. While lo­cal guests tucked into ce­real and crois­sants fol­lowed by the enor­mous full Ir­ish, the Bel­gians ate fruit and drank or­ange juice. One let the hair down and or­dered kip­pers. Food for thought. one, you hum a tune and the vi­brat­ing mem­brane gives off a buzzing sound. I’m not con­vinced of a new syn­drome, but I’d say a ka­zoo is eas­ier to rinse once a week than a set of bag­pipes. While we are on the sub­ject of blow­ing, a gen­tle­man in Cork has writ­ten to me with some in­ter­est­ing ob­ser­va­tions on vac­uum clean­ers in hos­pi­tals. Over the past 15 years he has been an in­pa­tient in no fewer than four hos­pi­tals in the south and south-east. One com­mon fea­ture he no­ticed of clean­ers in all hos­pi­tals is that they use or­di­nary do­mes­tic type vac­uum clean­ers. He tells me that th­ese suck in dirt and air and bugs in one end and then blow the air and bugs out the other end. He rightly won­ders if this is good enough in th­ese times of MRSA and other hos­pi­tal su­per­bugs. He may be on to some­thing here. One man­u­fac­turer of a high-grade fil­tra­tion ma­chine says that one of the very best ways of cre­at­ing an in­door air­borne health haz­ard is to suck all the bac­te­ria, spores, dust mites and fae­cal par­ti­cles off a floor cov­er­ing and then blow them lib­er­ally into the sur­round­ing air where they travel eas­ily from room to room con­tam­i­nat­ing a whole build­ing. This could make an ex­cel­lent re­search study for a stu­dent doc­tor or nurse. My in­for­mant tells me that there are new vac­uum clean­ers that are de­signed for hos­pi­tal use which kill many bugs with ul­tra­vi­o­let light and don’t blow them all back out the rear of the ma­chine. Hiqa has been in­formed of his ex­cel­lent ob­ser­va­tions. I won­der what they will say. Doc­tors have to dis­close al­most ev­ery­thing th­ese days bar their means of trans­port. So I was in­ter­ested to read of one medic, a former min­is­ter for health no less, who put his 10 Jaguars, three Daim­lers, Tri­umph Spit­fire and Mit­subishi Pa­jero on the open mar­ket and re­ceived plenty of me­dia cov­er­age for them. An­other doc­tor dis­closed to the High Court that he was get­ting rid of his Fer­rari in part ex­change for a McLaren MP4 sports car dur­ing a case he was tak­ing against a car dealer. There are fears in the guild of mo­tor­ing medics that our fi­nance min­is­ter may in­tro­duce a spe­cial Rolls-Royce tax on our pro­fes­sion. Lest some read­ers think that all doc­tors in­habit the lux­ury-car mar­ket, I think it only fair that all of us de­clare a full mo­tor­ing, mileage and ser­vice his­tory. Since 2011, I have been the proud owner of a sin­gle Honda CRV diesel model. It’s go­ing well with over 100,000km on the clock. In a driv­ing ca­reer that be­gan in the mid 1980s, my pre­vi­ous house-call ve­hi­cles in­clude a VW Polo, VW Jetta, Nis­san Primera and Audi A4, fol­lowed by three con­sec­u­tive Honda CRVs. With a full no-claims bonus, only the treat­ment is high pow­ered and vin­tage!

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