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ER doctor in Canada writes 'climate change' on patient's chart in an unprecedented diagnosis

climate change, health, british columbia

Climate change is causing record-breaking heat and intense wildfire seasons, worsening health issues.

As record-breaking heat and out-of-control wildfires raged in the beautiful Canadian province of British Columbia this past summer, people started arriving to the emergency room of Kootenay Lake Hospital with symptoms of heat illness.

Dr. Kyle Merritt, the head of the emergency department, told the Times Colonist that most of the doctors at the hospital had only seen such heat illness in medical school. Now they found themselves with a flood of it as the temperatures rose.

"We were having to figure out how do we cool someone in the emergency department," said Merritt. "People are running out to the Dollar Store to buy spray bottles."

A patient arrived who was struggling to breathe. The smoke from the wildfires in the area hadn't lifted for days, and the patient's asthma was being aggravated by it.

Merritt took the patient's chart and wrote two words he'd never written on a chart before: "climate change."


When asked why he did it, Merritt said, "If we're not looking at the underlying cause, and we're just treating the symptoms, we're just gonna keep falling further and further behind."

"It's me trying to just...process what I'm seeing," he said. "We're in the emergency department, we look after everybody, from the most privileged to the most vulnerable, from cradle to grave, we see everybody. And it's hard to see people, especially the most vulnerable people in our society, being affected. It's frustrating."

Merritt said a woman in her 70s who lived in a trailer with no air-conditioning had come into the ER. She was struggling to stay hydrated, and the heat was exacerbating her other health conditions, including diabetes and some heart failure. Patients like her, with multiple health problems and little money, will be the most affected by the climate crisis.

However, we're all seeing that there's no escaping its impact. Hundreds died during this summer's heat dome in western Canada and the northwestern United States. An entire Canadian village was wiped out by wildfire as temperatures reached a record 121 degrees this summer. We've been told for years that climate change would result in more extreme weather events, and here we are.

Merritt said he hoped seeing "climate change" on the patient's chart would prompt other doctors who see it one day to make the connection between their patients' health and climate change.

Extreme weather affects more than people's physical health. Merritt says he saw a number of patients already suffering from depression or anxiety have their symptoms worsen during the wildfire season. Wildfire smoke even triggered flashbacks in a patient who was coping with post-traumatic stress disorder from his time as a soldier.

The World Health Organization calls climate change "the single biggest health threat facing humanity" and health professionals worldwide are responding. Doctors and nurses in western Canada held a climate rally at the B.C. Legislature organized by Doctors for Planetary Health—West Coast on November 4. The healthcare workers are calling on lawmakers to act in the face of the growing ecological threat to health and demanding that the provincial government declare a climate and ecological emergency.

Writing "climate change" on a patient's chart may be unprecedented, but so are the times in which we live. If we are going to keep breaking records each year and keep seeing health-affecting extremes in temperature and weather events, we're going to have to do unprecedented things. Doctors and nurses are on the front lines, seeing those health impacts firsthand.

Perhaps we should listen to them.

Angelina Jordan blew everyone away with her version of 'Bohemian Rhapsody."


At Upworthy, we've shared a lot of memorable "America's Got Talent" auditions, from physics-defying dance performances to jaw-dropping magic acts to heart-wrenching singer-songwriter stories. Now we're adding Angelina Jordan's "AGT: The Champions" audition to the list because wow.

Jordan came to "AGT: The Champions" in 2020 as the winner of Norway's Got Talent, which she won in 2014 at the mere age of 7 with her impressive ability to seemingly channel Billie Holiday. For the 2020 audition, she sang Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," but a version that no one had ever heard before.

With just her Amy Winehouse-ish voice, a guitar and a piano, Jordan brought the fan-favorite Queen anthem down to a smooth, melancholy ballad that's simply riveting to listen to.

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After Elmo's 'trauma dump' check-in, 'Sesame Street' goes all-in on mental health

Their first PSA offers a simple strategy for managing big feelings.

The Sesame Street gang is here for kids' mental well-being.

Remember when Elmo broke everyone simply by asking how people were doing on X? The viral check-in prompted a flood of responses in which people poured their hearts out onto the beloved Sesame Street character, and the wave of woes was so great all the other Sesame Street friends chimed in with their own words of support.

There's a reason Elmo's check-in hit people so hard. There's something viscerally comforting in the familiar faces and voices of our favorite childhood characters. Over 50-plus years creating high-quality shows for kids, Sesame Workshop has gained and retained people's trust and confidence, so engaging with Sesame Street characters feels safe and cathartic.

The folks behind Sesame Street have always incorporated kids' feelings and emotions into it educational programming, but a new initiative is taking a direct approach to mental health awareness. Teaming up with Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Sesame Workshop and the Ad Council have launched the "Love, Your Mind" campaign with a kid-friendly PSA.

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Dog turns down his owner's pets and the internet is laughing.


Sometimes we're not in the mood to be touched, and the same goes for our pets. While cats are notorious for snubbing humans who dare to touch them without explicit affirmative consent for exactly 3.5 pets, dogs are different. Dogs like to get head scratches, butt pats and for some reason slapped on the ribs somewhat aggressively. I don't know why dog owners do the last one but I've seen it enough to think it's a thing that dogs enjoy.

The point is dogs generally want you to pet them as often as humanly possible and until it feels like your arms are going to fall off. They try to climb up on your lap because being as close to your cornea as their snouts will allow is comforting to them. But apparently, dogs also get into moods where they don't want to be touched by their humans.

Weird, right? A chocolate lab on TikTok is simply not in the mood for pets and his reaction to his owner attempting to pet him has commenters in stitches.

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Can we bring back some 50s fridge features, please?

There are very few things that would make people nostalgic for the 1950s. Sure, they had cool cars and pearl necklaces were a staple, but that time frame had its fair share of problems, even if "Grease" made it look dreamy. Whether you believe your life would've been way more interesting if you were Danny Zuko or not, most would agree their technology was...lacking.

All eras are "advanced" for their time, but imagine being dropped off in the 50s as someone from the year 2023. A recent post by Historic Vids on Twitter of a 1956 commercial advertising a refrigerator, however, has some people thinking that when it came to fridges, maybe they were living in the year 2056. I don't typically swoon over appliances, yet this one has me wondering where I can purchase a refrigerator like this.

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via Pixabay

A middle-aged woman holding a baby.

A story that recently went viral on Reddit’s AITA forum asks an important question: What is a parent’s role in taking care of their grandchildren? The story is even further complicated because the woman at the center of the controversy is a stepparent.

The woman, 38, met her husband Sam, 47, ten years ago, when his daughter, Leah, 25, was 15. Five years ago, the couple got married after Leah had moved out to go to college.

Leah’s mom passed away when she was 10.

Last year, Leah became pregnant, and she wanted to keep the baby, but her boyfriend didn’t. After the disagreement, the boyfriend broke up with her. This forced Leah to move back home because she couldn’t afford to be a single parent and live alone on a teacher’s salary.

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Health

We asked people what they really enjoy that others can't understand. One answer dominated.

Interestingly, research shows that these people are particularly unlikely to be neurotic.

Canva

Some people really enjoy being alone.

We recently asked our Upworthy audience on Facebook, "What's something that you really enjoy that other people can't seem to understand?" and over 1,700 people weighed in. Some people shared things like housework, cleaning and laundry, which a lot of people see as chores. Others shared different puzzles or forms of art they like doing, and still others shared things like long car rides or grocery shopping.

But one answer dominated the list of responses. It came in various wordings, but by far the most common answer to the question was "silent solitude." Here are a few examples:

"Feeling perfectly content, when I’m all alone."

"Being home. Alone. In silence."

"That I enjoy being alone and my soul is at peace in the silence. I don't need to be around others to feel content, and it takes me days to recharge from being overstimulated after having an eventful day surrounded by others."

"Enjoying your own company. Being alone isn’t isolating oneself. It’s intentional peace and healthy… especially for deep feelers/thinkers."

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