In brief

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 19 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1348

“Door to needle” time for thrombolytic treatment speeds up: An audit by the Royal College of Physicians shows that the proportion of heart attack patients receiving thrombolytic treatment within 30 minutes of arriving in hospital has risen from less than 50% at the beginning of 2001 to 76% in the first three months of 2003. The second report of the myocardial infarction national audit project is accessible at

Rare death from avian flu: The “extremely rare” death of a 57 year old Dutch veterinary surgeon from avian flu was the result of the “unique and especially unfortunate convergence of factors,” an independent investigation has concluded. Jan Bosch died from pneumonia 15 days after taking blood samples from an infected chicken (BMJ 2003;326: 952, News Extra 3 May).

Non-smokers use nicotine patches: Five per cent of US high school students said they have used nicotine patches or gum-including some who misuse the products, a US survey reports. The survey found that, overall, 18% of all nicotine replacement users, including adults, were not smokers (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2003;157: 517-22).

Iron tablets can kill young children: Records in Ontario, Canada, show that almost half of all hospital admissions for iron poisoning in young children could be prevented if iron supplements were kept out of reach of children in the year before and after the birth of a sibling. The researchers say that as few as 10 ferrous sulphate tablets, totalling 600 mg of elemental iron, can kill a small child (CMAJ 2003;168: 1539-47).

CHCs granted a reprieve: Community health councils (CHCs), which were due to be abolished by the end of August, have been granted a temporary reprieve until the end of December. Guidance on the new patients' forums, due to take over from the councils in September, is still out for consultation (see

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