Anxious patients likely to use more painkiller after surgery: study

Being anxious before an operation may lead to higher demands for morphine from patients after surgery, a new study suggests, wrote The Canadian Press Feb. 6. The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, shows that patients who fret about upcoming surgeries tend to push the dispensing button linked to an intravenous morphine pump after surgery more often than patients who are not anxious.

"The study tells us that our emotional and psychological state before surgery is related to how much pain we have and how much morphine one takes by pressing for more painkiller," said Joel Katz, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health.

"Our state before surgery predicts our behaviour after surgery," Katz said. "The more worried you are before surgery, the more likely you are to take more medication after surgery. Our study shows that excessive demands for patient-administered morphine after surgery are related to these negative feelings and thoughts prior to surgery," Katz said.

The study is significant because morphine is used to control pain but it has some negative side effects, such as grogginess and depressed respiration, and some of these side effects can prolong hospitalization, Katz said.

Court delays show the need for streamlined procedures

The public – not just lawyers and defendants – should be outraged by delays [in court hearings, trials and appeals], wrote James Morton, adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the National Post, Feb. 6. Just last week, the Ontario Superior Court decided that corruption charges against a group of Toronto police were too stale to proceed. The facts behind the charges, many of which were widely reported in the media, were a decade old, and the charges themselves were laid four years ago.

To eliminate the delays that now afflict the system, it will be necessary to simplify and limit pre-trial mechanisms, and to shorten and simplify trials. This will be hard, and we must protect the rights of the accused. Still, we have no choice but to reform the current system: the best has become the enemy of the good. The concept of justice delayed being justice denied is not merely a platitude – it is reality. We need swifter justice.

Worried that your retirement savings will expire before you do?

A recent study commissioned by Manulife Investments and conducted by York Professors Moshe Milevsky, personal finance professor in York’s Schulich School of Business and Tom Salisbury, mathematics professor in the Faculty of Arts, examined the Retirement Risk Zone and its impact on retirement income, wrote BC’s East Kootenay Weekly Feb. 6. The Retirement Risk Zone is the critical period leading into and just after retirement when the retirement nest egg is most vulnerable to market downturns.

Pension management case will have wider implications, says ‘The Court’ writer

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an appeal of a case involving Kerry (Canada) Inc., a Woodstock-based manufacturing company, that could have a tremendous impact on future pension-fund management, wrote the Woodstock Sentinel-Review Feb. 5.

"The eventual outcome of the case will have implications (that) reach much further than the parties involved," wrote Osgoode student Chris Donovan, a senior contributing editor to “The Court”, an online publication of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School that examines Supreme Court issues.

In his Feb. 3 entry to “The Court”, Donovan observed the Supreme Court’s eventual decision would impact "other companies that have been conducting similar practices of using pension funds to pay for the administration of a pension plan."

"The Supreme Court of Canada will have to provide even more guidance on whether pension plan expenses can be paid for by a pension fund and when surplus funds can be used to satisfy a company’s contribution obligations," Donovan wrote.

Canadian lawyers at an advantage in overseas firm

A number of Canadian recruits are bucking the odds and not only achieving partnership status, but playing a prominent role in the success of international law firms, wrote the National Post Feb. 6. And what’s it like for a newbie? York alumnus John Guccione (LLB ’01) started his career at Torys in Toronto, after completing his degree at Osgoode Hall Law School. He’s been at the London firm Linklaters, which has 30 offices in 23 countries, for less than six months, having taken about a year to make his decision to move. His field is project finance and, like the others, he’s in awe of the international scope.

Would he go back? It’s too soon for Guccione to tell, but he thinks he’ll stay. "It’s been an easy transition. London’s a great city, very liveable with young children, and our money goes further than we thought. And Paris is just a couple of hours away."

Who knows how the current financial situation will affect the international market for young legal talent, but when Canadians make partner in international firms, they’re highly likely to recruit more of their own kind – and hold onto them. Canadian firms, take note.

On air

  • Fuyuki Kurasawa, sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Arts, spoke about US foreign students in Canada and their right to vote in US presidential elections, on Radio-Canada’s national program "Le Radiojournal" Feb. 5.