Publication Date 01/03/2012         Volume. 4 No. 2   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the March 2012 edition of i2P E-Magazine.
We have continued to have programming difficulties into this month (hence we are a few days late in our publishing schedule), but it has caused the major decision to rebuild the site from scratch.
An expensive decision, but one that needed to be made to lessen editor stress and allow for a new educational module to be integrated, which will massively increase the 4 gigabytes of data we currently manage in our files.
We will spread the work over the next six months.

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Con Berbatis Prepares for Retirement

Neil Johnston

articles by this author...

Neil Johnston is a pharmacist who trained as a management consultant. He was the first consultant to service the pharmacy profession and commenced practice as a full time consultant in 1972, specialising in community pharmacy management, pharmacy systems, preventive medicine and the marketing of professional services. He has owned, or part-owned a total of six pharmacies during his career, and for a decade spent time both as a clinical pharmacist and Chief Pharmacist in the public hospital system. He has been editor of i2P since 2000.

Ten years ago Con Berbatis was involved in an accident while on a holiday in Greece. The injuries he sustained eventually affected his health to the extent that he had to curtail his workload, including the writing of research reports for publication in i2P.
 A list of some of his more important reports appears below.
When you check the date of publication against the content you will note that Con was well in advance of his time.
In his letter of resignation to Curtin University, Con outlined some of his difficulties since his accident:

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“You are aware that my health has deteriorated over the past 10 years.

This originated in July 1994 when I was one of three people hit on a city footpath by a vehicle piloted by a drunken driver. One person, a lady, lost a leg. I was subsequently comatose for three days and spent three months in hospitals. This has resulted in a badly damaged right knee which will soon require artificial replacement.

From 2004 to 2009 I have suffered non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (2004-05). In 2007, my left leg required surgery which included a 10cm metallic support along the length of the left shin bone and replacement of left knee tissue. In 2008 I had a pacemaker inserted due to a bradycardia which had caused fainting spells, falls and accidents including broken ribs. In 2009 a very serious cellulitis of the left leg developed which required hospitalisation, specialist care and months-long treatment.  As a result of the cellulitis my left leg is still oedematous and has developed footdrop which is disabling and embarrassing. I can no longer even jog. Each of these events has required many hospitalisations, manipulative and other physiotherapy, and resulted in unremitting pain requiring opioid medications and sedatives. The last decade has been physically limiting, frustrating and difficult. I am very fortunate to have had a forbearing Rita and Catherine, and working with people at Sydney and Fremantle Hospitals over the decades, and others like Bruce Sunderland in important areas of research (methadone, national survey and misuse of licit opioids) which have enhanced the status of the School. The last 15 years of research associated with the School have been exciting and productive.

In February, CAT scans have revealed severe damage to L4 and L5 which will require surgery and result in more repercussions.

The Drug Information Science 528 Unit which I have managed since 1990 has been organised and is ready to run. I regret however, given my above health situation, that this Semester will be my last in teaching. I believe the area of the misuse of licit opioids in Australia stands out as one of importance for further research. I welcome assisting in any way possible if you believe it valuable for the School.

My Warm Regards

Con Berbatis, Lecturer,  School of Pharmacy
Curtin University of Technology (Western Australia)”

The university responded:

“Dear Con

Many thanks for your email. I am sorry to hear that you have had ongoing problems with your health,  the unfortunate incident in Greece seems to have been the beginning of a series of ongoing medical issues. I can understand your circumstances, and I can appreciate that you now see that the time has come to retire.

I am greatly appreciative of the fact that you have delayed this till the end of Semester 1 and continued to take on the unit coordination of Drug Information Science. You have been a major contributor to the School over more than 3 decades, and you will leave lasting legacy given the extremely important research you have conducted with Bruce and other over many years.

I would agree with you that misuse of prescribed opioids is a major issue, and one of the foci of my future research is going to be on better post-discharge pain management with the aim to reduce unnecessary post-hospital use of opioids.
Projects looking at opioid use, particularly oxycodone, supplied through community pharmacy is of critical importance both from the prospective of potential addiction and also diversion. It would be great to have you continue to engage in research with the School post your retirement.

You have been a loyal and valuable servant of the School and contribution is well recognised. I wish luck with the surgery on you back.

Yours sincerely

Prof Jeff Hughes

BPharm, PostGradDipPharm, MPharm, PhD, AACPA, MPS Head | School of Pharmacy Faculty of Health Sciences”

i2P also extends best wishes to Con for the best recovery in retirement that he is able to sustain and we certainly hope that he is able to do some continuing work in pharmacy research, maybe even extending to more material to publish through i2P.

Good luck Con and i2P subscribers can work their way through some of your reports by clicking on any of the links below.

 

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