Two Ontario patients who had brain tumours removed in the United States because they say they couldn't get quick treatment here are suing the provincial government over what they claim are unjustly long wait times for medical care.
Lindsay McCreith, 66, of Newmarket and Shona Holmes, 43, of Waterdown filed a joint statement of claim yesterday against the province of Ontario. Both say their health suffered because they are denied the right to access care outside of Ontario's "government-run monopolistic" health-care system. They want to be able to buy private health insurance.
Ironic, isn't it? Here we have factions that claim the private health insurance is the root of all evil and government run health care is the cure all, and we have actual, no-kidding patients of a government run health care system suing to be able to buy private health insurance.
The problems involved?
Holmes began losing her vision in March 2005, she told a press conference at Queen's Park yesterday. An MRI in May 2005 revealed a tumour in her brain. Her family doctor couldn't expedite appointments booked with specialists for July 19 and Sept. 19, 2005. As the tumour pressed on her optic nerves, her vision deteriorated. Afraid to wait any longer, she went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Within a week she met three specialists and was told she had a fluid-filled sac growing near her pituitary gland at the base of her brain. They urged her to have it taken out immediately. She went home with the hopes of quickly removing what is known as a Rathke's cleft cyst.
Unable to get surgery fast, she returned to Arizona and had the mass removed on Aug. 1, 2005. Her vision was restored in 10 days. The Holmes family is now in debt $95,000 because of medical costs.
Holmes experience isn't uncommon:
Holmes' experience was similar to that of Lindsay McCreith, a retired auto collision repair shop owner. According to the statement of claim, McCreith suddenly experienced seizures on Jan. 2, 2006. After waiting seven hours in a Newmarket emergency ward, he was examined by an internist. A computed tomography or CT scan showed a large wedge-shaped brain tumour. He was discharged from hospital four days later with a diagnosis of stroke and a prescription for anti-seizure medication.
Worried the tumour might be cancerous, McCreith and his family wanted an MRI. He was given an appointment date four months later. McCreith went to the U.S. and paid $494.67 (U.S.) for an MRI. Armed with the scan, he saw his Ontario family doctor, who referred McCreith to a neurologist. He was examined on Feb. 8, 2006. He was referred to a neurosurgeon but would have to wait three months.
Unhappy with this, he returned to Buffalo. In early March, during a biopsy, the tumour was found to be malignant and surgically removed. He paid $27,650 for his consultation, biopsy and surgery in Buffalo and OHIP has refused to reimburse him because he failed to seek pre-approval for the expense, the claim notes.
As you probably know, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a decision in June of 2005 striking down Quebec's ban on private health insurance. Most thought that would open the door to private health insurance plans for those who wanted them. But 2 years later, that still hasn't happened.
Meanwhile these anecdotal but obviously real incidents keep happening while Canada insists its monopoly on health care is in the best interest of all Canadians. But no sweat, when we get it we'll do better because, you see, John Edwards will make us go to the doctor on a regular basis.
Come on, Joel. There are plenty of folks who show up around here and tell us that socialism will work if the right people are in charge. You know, people with good intentions, who only want the best for us. People like them.
OK, that’s enough of my own sarcasm. Most of the nationalized healthcare partisans don’t even realize how close their own positions are to socialism. In fact, they don’t want to know, so they studiously avoid even thinking about it. And then act outraged when you point out that their positions are de facto socialistic, no matter what clever facade they’ve come up with this time around.
But that misses the point, which is that Americans don’t recieve equal treatment—the rich can afford better treatment than the poor. The Canadians may have to wait, but at least the rich don’t receiver better treatment, unless they travel to the US for treatment.
See, if the US had a similar socialized system, it would also help make Canadian health care even more egalitarian. Rich Canadians would have to use the same crappy health care system as poor Canadians. True justice.
Yet another tediously anecdotal wail that pretends to be about delivering healthcare when you all really know it’s about making sure the health racket keeps making money in the U$. The real question to ask is not whether the patients concerned got better service in Canada for free or in the U$ by handing over their life savings, but this - What if they couldn’t afford the treatment in the US ? Which system would have seen them better treated then ?
You know someone has no argument left when they start using cherry-picked case histories. It’s like the smokers who all know an old Uncle Albert who smoked 80 Capstan full strength a day and lived to be 80. He’s the exception that proves the rule.
If you can present some genuine stats showing how privatised medicine actually delivers more effective healthcare per head of population, with shorter turnaround times and better cure rates etc, let’s see them. If not, quit yer whinin and stop being so bloody greedy.