Situation critical — one patient’s story

By Charles Adler, QMI Agency

Thursday, February 16, 2012 


The entire Canadian health care system is suffering from a terrible terminal disease. It’s trapped in an archaic mindset that reminds me more of bloodletting than modern medicine.

Spending is unsustainable and the inefficiencies are inexcusable. Provinces are wasting our money. Approximately half of all provincial spending pays for medical coverage that simply isn’t serving the needs of the Canadian people.

In fact, it’s failing us. We all know dramatic changes need to be made, yet politicians don’t have the stomach for it.

Most of us have experienced the frustration of those emergency room waits. Too many of us have gathered cobwebs waiting on lists. But when lives are put at risk by this medical mess, it’s way past time for some Canadian common sense.

Laurie Anderson is a 33-year-old mother of two young boys. Laurie’s been patiently waiting for years for the care she needs. And she’s fed up. She recently started a Facebook page titled: “This is what it is like to be a patient in Saskatchewan.”

You can read her story on my website.

Laurie has fallen through the huge, crumbling cracks in the system. And the valuable time wasted by the abysmal service she received has put her very life in jeopardy. Her story isn’t just a Saskatchewan story. It’s a Canadian story.

Laurie’s been treated for years for ailments she simply didn’t have. Not only was she misdiagnosed, she bled on waiting lists month after month to get even that misguided attention. A patient in purgatory, dying in line to see a specialist. A wait that included multiple trips to her local ER, only to be sent home with some Advil.

Taking her life into her own hands, she personally had to shop herself around to different doctors and hospitals, encountering service from staff more akin to jaded airline employees than those working in a modern hospital. As she begged for help, she was treated more like a number than a person.

After the long, agonizing wait came the real insult. A complete failure to diagnose the cancer that was growing inside her. A very curable kind of cancer if caught in time. She not only lost her ability to have more children, she may lose her life.

Her treatable cancer has now metastasized. Instead of a 90% survival rate, her life is now a 50-50 flip of a coin. The system failed Laurie, failing all of us in the process.

Do you think if Laurie had the option to pursue private care she would have received the same treatment?

Do you think the Mayo Clinic would have made her wait for years for care while giving her attitude?

Do you think they would have treated her like a burden if she showed up with a credit card?

We need a fundamental shift in attitude. As taxpayers we pay for the care we receive, but we aren’t treated like customers. As a result we’re not getting the care we deserve.

It’s time dithering politicians stopped worrying about their political capital. And it’s time many Canadians re-evaluate their irrational fear of a multi-tiered health care system. One that would fill those crumbling cracks and ease the burden on public care —before more patients fall into the abyss.

And that’s Canadian common sense.

8 thoughts on “Situation critical — one patient’s story

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    Sheila White on

    Charles thank you for supporting Laurie and being a voice for her and all of us that find ourselves relying on a system that too often fails us. Hopefully her bravery in coming forward will help others step up and demand change for 3better treatment.

  1. Charles, here’s where our tax dollars are being wasted…I’m a truck driver and almost every morning when leaving Regina I have seen at least 1 snowplow out for a drive. There hasn’t been any snow, no ice, no reason to have people out just driving around in a $200,000 snow plow ! Now I understand that we need these people and services on standby, but I would rather pay thgem to play solitare on the computer ! Just because firemen are on shift, they aren’t out driving around in their fire trucks. There’s allot of money being thrown out the window that could be put toward a cat scanner .

  2. Thanks for this,Charles. No problem for me though, I have enough money to take myself or a loved one to the USA. I guess that’s how the system works

  3. People that disagree with providing private health services either aren’t sick or are clueless as to how the wasteful public system works. The public system isn’t sustainable and it will only get worse. As inefficient as it is, the public system will always be available so why the fight against providing efficient private health care?

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    Western Farmer on

    My sympathies to Laurie with regards to her case, and may she recover.
    The problem I have is that we always hear that “The system needs more money so that we can hire more doctors, nurses etc.”, BUT when more funding is provided, the various unions all line up with out-stretched hands DEMANDING more pay on threat of strike.
    After the threats are dealt with, all the extra money is used up AND the staffing level has NOT changed-in fact, there possibly have been REDUCTIONS, so nothing has been accomplished.
    Want to “fix” medicare? Allow the private sector to provide the services, paid for via medicare. That way,we can get rid of a bunch of “administrators” along with a whole shwack of unions and put the money to use in the way it was intended-patient care.
    That is “Western Canadian Common Sense”.
    ps-Sorry to corrupt your tagline Charles.

  4. Dear Charles: Just a comment on the latest “news” story, residential school “survivors”, “Victims of Genocide”, I am wondering just how stupid our society can become. It seems the natives, and their ambulance chasing lawyers, have for decades made an industry out of the victimization of themselves, their culture, their spiritual heritage etc. ad nauseum, that any amount of money thrown their way is simply unable to remedy. It seems to me that when the white men first arrived in North America the natives had little more than a Stone Age culture, maybe not quite, they hadn’t yet invented the wheel, and it seems that many of their native leaders today haven’t progressed any further than that same Neanderthal mindset, there are simply a bit better dressed. What will it ever take to turn this whole native victimhood and dependance on handouts around, the early missionaries had it right, they need to be self-empowered through education, they perhaps didn’t go about it in exactly the right way, buy their intention was right, and those children who did receive an education , I am sure benefitted immensely from it. The reserves have to go and the natives given title to their homes, they like everyone else need to be able to take responsibility for themselves and their families, just ask those natives who have left the reserve system behind, gotten an education, a career, established homes and families, they are doing well, thank-you very much. Dan

  5. Yeah that’s real smart!. Do you know what the bill would be at Mayo clinic??? People don’t have money for your silly solutions.
    What kind of a job is talking radio personality anyways???
    what kind of expert are you??

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