Thursday, April 20, 2006

Encounter a hospital waiting list? Call the media!

A lot of people are talking about a situation in Saskatchewan where someone with rapidly-spreading cancer was told to wait three months to see an oncologist before the treatment could even begin.

The family of a 57-year-old Meath Park woman says it will take at least three months before their mother gets to see a Saskatchewan oncologist who can tell her if her cancer is treatable or fatal.

And while Health Minister Len Taylor says three months is too long to wait, he offered little Wednesday to indicate wait times to see cancer specialists in this province will soon be getting shorter.

Emily Morley has already waited a month to see an oncologist since receiving her biopsy results that identified her secondary cancer, but were inconclusive in determining the primary source. Until that primary source is identified, her treatment cannot begin.

And even though the cancer is now in Morley's lungs, liver, pancreas and spine, the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic has advised her it will still take at least three months to see an oncologist.
Well, CJME is now reporting that they have now moved up her appointment to next week. What does this say about our health system? Who, exactly, is responsible for moving the appointment up?

Did Health Minister Len Taylor call the health authority to have the appointment moved up, or was this an initiative taken by the health authority? Either way, doesn't this suggest our health system is politicized? If Len Taylor made the call, was it simply because of the media scrutiny focused on the incident?

There is a disturbing trend developing in Canadian society. People, fed up with the health system -- their very lives at stake -- are going to the media to get the treatment they pay for and deserve. To think that politicians or health bureaucrats have the power to snap their fingers and grant health care to someone is...well...unthinkable.

22 comments:

Dr. Kildare said...

The news item stated: "And even though the cancer is now in Morley's lungs, liver, pancreas and spine, the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic has advised her it will still take at least three months to see an oncologist"

This appears to be a case where the medical profession understands that the patient's prognosis is not good even if she saw the oncologist today. Medical practicioners often deal with families and patients who will not accept the fact that the cancer is so advanced, the medical profession cannot provide any further assistance.

Other times families and patients accept this and resolve to live out the remainder of their lives in a manner that is dignified.

If this case is one where there is advanced cancer in the spine, lungs and pancreas, it is likely hopeless and it is unfortunate that the case is being used as a news worthy or political story. Very unfortunate.

Shawn said...

Dr. K, I completely disagree with you.

First, this needs to be in the news because it shows the lunacy of this system. We'll look after you (so long as you don't get too sick). And then after we desert you, we'll make it virtually impossible for you to obtain any other care(via the prohibition on private insurance). No rational person would willingly be involved in such a system.

Your veiled insinuation that these people should just shut up and go home and die in a "dignified"
manner strikes me as grotesque. I can only hope you would care enough about your own loved ones to reject such absurd advice and move heaven and earth to try and see them helped.

David MacLean said...

Grotesque is the right word.

Anonymous said...

No, what is 'grotesque' is this families tragedy being spread all over the CTF site for your own political purposes of attacking the Canadian medicare system.

David MacLean said...

The health system doesn't need me to discredit it. Stories like this do the job on their own.

Think about this. OK, as kildare pointed out, this woman is victim of rationing. So the system says "Sorry, we don't have enough resources for you."

Fine. Well, not fine, but I will accept that premise. But why the hell am I prevented by law from buying my own insurance? How is that justifiable.

Think of this way -- the health system eats up $3.2 billion this year. That's the combined total of all government revenues from the PST, Income taxes, Fuel Tax and and Tobacco Tax.

That means that if a person makes 50,000 a year, they are paying say, napkin math, $6,000 a year in income taxes. For that amount you can buy great american health insurance for a family of 6.

Absurd.

Anonymous said...

What if you are a mother of three and earn $21,000 a year? How do I afford health insurance. If you live in Alberta it is hard enough to pay the health premiums. Yor way only works for rich people.

David MacLean said...

A mother of three making that much money doesn't pay health premiums in Alberta.

I guess all those poor people in Sweden are just dying on the street right?

Anonymous said...

No - but ALL of those personal bankrupcies in the USA are because of inability to pay health costs. (Source: Time Magazine - December, 2005 - Number one cause of personal bankrupcy in America is inability to pay health costs).

David MacLean said...

People who have insurance don't go bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

Yep - very typical of your way of thinking. Blame the poor for being poor. Survival of the fittest. 'Animal Kingdom' style economies. If you can't afford health insurance, that is your own fault and too bad for you. See. You have completely proven the argument that those of us who value medicare have been making. You and your ilk only care about rationing health care by eliminating a sizable percentage of the population based upon their inability to pay for health insurance, health premiums or health care.

David MacLean said...

Nice rant, but no. Some countries have mandatory private insurance, like car insurance, but subsidize low income earners.

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

Do you realize this women is terminal? She's on her last leg. The family should make her last days as comfortable and pain free as possible. Quit grandstanding and dragging dying people to the legislature. What point is the SaskaTory party trying to make? Like they stand up for the dying? For whom's benefit was this fiasco?

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

I've made up my mind. After seeing Ron McMorris(I know the family) Millionaire farmer on TV. I know the Saskparty stands for justice. They stand up for the dying. It doesn't get much better than that. It brought a tear to my eye knowing the Sask Party are there when it's my turn to go. Some people have no pride. When I saw Ma and Pa Kettle on TV I could hardly contain myself. How touching. They had their 15 mins. of fame.

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

Maybe Don McMorris can lay his hands on her and heal her??!!!

Anonymous said...

stf, I think that you are a sick old man: you have a terrible case of being a rabid-true-beleiver socialist. Must be hard to continue to ignore and rationalize the obvious failings in your world-view.

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

My party doesn't drag dying people around to make a political point. I see goofy Murray Mandrake making his silly comments in the LP. What a joke this is getting to be.

Shawn said...

stf,
Your party is the one leaving them to die. Hope you are proud.

Sask.taxpayers federation said...

What's youe excuse for the Saskatory party dragging the dying to the legislature? This helps who???!!!

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

Hey "Shawn of the dead" get a new original line.

Anonymous said...

People are dting becasue specialists would rather live in Alberta, and becasue your Dipper friends are spending $500,000 on propaganda instead of on health care.
And ignoring the problem helps who? Only you Ndppers! ignoring population loss helps who? ignoring ongoing deficits helps who? ignoring job losses while government grows helps who? subsidings poverty and mediocrity helps who? yes, stf, you: your socialism is a selfish and complacent kind, and reality bothers you.

Sask.Taxpayers Federation said...

Yellow journalism at it's best. Her cancer is fatal. The family is in denial.

Anonymous said...

stf, we all gotta go sometime: so why have a health care system?

you are still a sick man, stf: I think that you are in denial, you efuse to see the rot that your socialist friends have caused.

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