Tag Archives: healthcare

Healthscare: the Undermining of Our Free Health

I’ve already said that if the government is so worried about the funding for our health care, then part of the solution is preventative medicine. This means you can’t deny people services when they’re in an acute stage. The longer one waits for treatment, the more it costs the health system as the problem becomes chronic, sometimes with life lasting problems.

At the same time, each provincial government seems to have the impunity to whittle away our health care any way they want, without the federal government saying anything. In BC, we used to get 12 covered visits for chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy each. I suffer from soft tissue problems which often take the combination of massage and chiropractic to stop my bones from being pulled out of alignment by my over-tight muscles. The BC government somehow didn’t believe that these therapies helped people so they took them away. Then you were allowed ten visits total and only if on subsidized medical.

Subsidized? But surely health care is free in Canada. Well, some provinces are freer than others. Alberta and BC pay a monthly premium (in which you are harassed, ignored and strong-armed into these payments–to be elucidated on later). BC residents pay $54 a month. Oh, and let’s see what we lost when the Liberal (liberal?!!) government decided to bleed us, but not for our health.

  1. Premiums doubled (we’ve always had to pay)
  2. Massage, physio and chiro went to no free visits (or only 10 combined if you were subsidized)
  3. Podiatrists were dropped (what happens to people’s feet as they get older)
  4. Optometrists were dropped (what happens to eyes as people get older)

Optometrists seem to be covered if you have a health problem but a check-up is not. Glasses and/or contacts have never been covered. Likewise, somehow dental health has never been covered. As someone who has no medical/dental plan, the cost of even the basic dental health is out of reach for many people. I’ll be paying out over $2000 for one crown and one root canal. Feet problems? Well I may have to put those off. Back problems. I suffer longer, use more painkillers which do not work and worry about the problems that become worse with time, where I must visit the doctor more often, get more prescriptions and seek more specialists.

Over the years of the mismanagement of MSP (Medical Services Plan) I have written letters and asked why we pay when other provinces do not. To this day I have never received any communication from MSP except for the automaton bills, which are erratic at best. I’ll devote a piece just to the unfair billing practises of MSP.

And now we’re looking at bill c-51 about to be passed where you and I will not be able to buy vitamin C, echinacea or anything else we want over the counter. We’ll need prescriptions and that will cost more. My last prescription: the drug was $6.50, the dispensing fee was $8.30. What will this mean? Pharmaceutical companies and drugstores will get richer, we’ll put greater strain on the health care system by either having to see our doctor for a prescription or by ignoring and taking no vitamins.

Granted there is a lot of self-medication and taking supplements that don’t do anything but really, will I need a doctor’s permission to take vitamin C and iron. Write your member of parliament if you’re concerned about any of this.

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Medicare: Getting Personal

Over the past year I have known four people who ended up with secondary (and more) infections from being in the hospital. One person had an injury and his infection was more due to that than anything the hospital did, though they almost discovered it too late. One friend had surgery, went home and then developed an infection and had to go back in. I don’t know how the hospital was implicated in that.

Another friend had had hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago (his second). Subsequently the bone around the replacement crumbled and it turned out he had some sort of bone infection picked up at the time of initial surgery. They replaced the ball joint (and built up the pelvis) with an antibiotic version. Within a week it was pulling out and they had to operate again. It was then supposed to be in for a couple of months but I think it was much longer than that. He had the surgery last summer and is just now getting to 50% weight on the leg. They looked at suing the hospital because of the infection but the convoluted way of healthcare in Canada means they would have to sue the doctor too, even if it wasn’t his fault. What doctor would then touch a patient who has sued another one?

The last friend went in for bladder cancer surgery. They were removing his bladder and making a neo-bladder out of intestine. The surgery went well. The bladder was made and my friend started to heal in that first week, still needing catheterising. Eventually, after about two weeks, they sent him home, in time for Christmas. A day nurse came in to attend him and catheterize him every day. Because my friend was a particularly grumpy person, especially when not feeling well, and 6’7″, he intimidated some people. The day nurse never turned on the light in his dark bedroom and never really checked all of his vitals.

It turned out he was getting and infection, his feet had turned purple and his kidneys were shutting down. They put him back in the hospital just before new years and tried to stabilize. He had a shunt somewhere in his neck, for nutrients or something. He got one infection and then within 48 hours of being in the hospital he got C Deficil, the deadly super bacteria. He then suffered a heart attack and his kidneys shut down completely. Two operations of eight hours each then occurred. They removed his intestines and hooked him up to various machines.

Over the months his kidneys started working again but he lost teeth and bone to a parotid artery infection from one vein. He couldn’t eat because it turns out the kidneys change the way you taste food. Or sometimes he was vomitting. Slowly, he wasted a way to a skeletal frame. His veins would collapse. Sometimes he could eat, sometimes he need a gastrointestinal tube. His kidneys never worked right and another surgery was performed in the summer to put a shunt into his ureter or kidneys. He had bags, he had tubes, he had needles.

He did start to eat again, many foods but he was so weak that his hands would shake and it could take up to an hour to eat a chicken leg. I should mention here that the food was often abysmal and in no way nutritional or conducive toward healing. He wouldn’t eat the broccoli because it was cooked to mush. He was celiac (before they decided/determined that he no longer was) and he’d get two pieces of dried out rice bread, with margarin and one thin slab of processed luncheon meat, along with two hard boiled eggs and no fresh vegetables. CBC has done a good series on hospital food (Sounds Like Canada) as well as an expose on the lack of cleanliness (doctors or nurses not washing their hands).

Eventually, he was too weak to recover. He made the choice when they said, we have to put a gastro tube in or you will die and he refused the tube, choosing his time. But he fought a long battle of 14 months where I watched his spirit slowly drain from him and his body collapse upon itself. He died a week before Christmas last year.

I still hold a great anger for the fact that many deaths are needless and could be prevented if cleanliness and hygiene were adhered to in hospitals. As well, with the Campbell government illegally (as the courts did decide) firing unionized hospital workers and farming out the cleaning to the lowest bidder, we now have hospitals being cleaned by people/companies who may not be up on dealing with biohazardous material. Our provincial government is saving money at the expense of lives.

At the same time this is endemic across the country. It’s a criminal tragedy that people are dying because something as simple as washing hands is not followed and super bugs are thriving. The four people I mentioned above all went to the same hospital, one that is supposedly not on the watch list for infections.

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The Slow (and Planned?) Demise of Medicare

I consider the various world governments that have suddenly proclaimed the environment as in dire shape as having really just tried to gain popularity with their voters. They’re not doing this in many cases because it’s right but because it will garner votes. Likewise, I see the present Canadian government as having put out the smokescreen of environmentalism to draw our attention away from the dire straight of our health care system.

Over the years, Alberta went through a stage where the Klein government cut back on many services. My mother, a senior, needed a blood test and there were only two labs in the city of Calgary because the rest had been closed down. She waited eight hours. Other similar cases lead to a crisis, wherein Klein then started letting in privatized clinics because of the waiting lists. Of course he set up the situation in the first place. Gordon Campbell in BC, like Klein, was a Liberal as opposed to a Conservative in sheep’s clothing, did the same thing. They both proved themselves to be the wolves at the doors of the health care system.

Healthcare in Canada is free to everyone. Except in BC and Alberta, richer provinces than any of the Maritime provinces, where people must pay a premium. How is this fair? How is this right?

On top of that, the healthcare system has never considered basic dental care as integral to someone’s health. As anyone who has ever had a toothache, broken tooth, crooked teeth or gum disease can tell you, dental care not only matters for hygiene, it matters for overall physical and mental health. In BC, chiropractic, massage and physiotherapy have been cut out of the system, leaving many people with trying to rely on drugs should they not afford the therapies that help with soft tissue problems. As someone who suffers from this condition it is massage that is most effective and yet denied. Should I even mention that the Liberal government also cut out podiatrists and optometrists, somehow not see foot or eye care (the areas that can have many problems for aging people) from the healthcare system. We’re living in an age of whittling away our healthcare benefits.

Granted it takes a large budget for all the country’s benefits but how is penalizing some people fair? I now know people who exist everyday in pain because they can’t afford the therapy needed to fix their problem. Private clinics won’t change that. It may put the good doctors into the clinics and the specialists, leaving a majority of the public with fewer good resources.

I have many friends in the US. Sometimes they must drive an hour or more to go to their doctor because that doctor is the only one on their company paid healthcare coverage. Others, even working, can only afford to cover their children, not themselves. A friend who is diabetic was paying over $800 a month for healthcare. Another friend who had uterine cancer surgery last year now owes over $20,000 to the hospital. That’s where privatized medicine will get you. Albeit, our system isn’t perfect and you must sometimes wait months for a specialist appointment, it is still better than paying thousands.

This is by far, not the end of this topic. I’ll have more to say and rant about another day.

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