Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Vaunted Canadian Health Care System

Vaunted, or vaulted? I'd like to see it vaulted somewhere after I read stories like this one:

A 23-year-old single mom claims she was made to wait nearly two days at Surrey Memorial Hospital before doctors repaired her broken leg.

How impatient can that woman be! Why the big rush? I mean, it's not like her injury was life threatening.

Sandy Southwell says she broke her fibula in a fall on an icy sidewalk just before midnight Sunday. She was admitted to Surrey Memorial shortly after.

"They said my surgery would be in the morning [Monday]," Southwell said. But the hours dragged on and the operation to put a plate on the damaged bone was delayed.

I'm sure Sandy would have been willing to fork over some extra cash if it meant getting treatment in a timely manner. Or if her insurance coverage wasn't "universal" (read: lousy for everyone) perhaps she could have called her independent insurance company they could have found a way of getting her treated right away.

"I was getting scared," she said. "I felt like going to a different hospital, but what can I do. I was scared and shaking."
Southwell said doctors finally operated about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Have you ever had a broken leg before? Here a fun game to play: break your leg, and then wait around for two days before you get it fixed! This could be the start of a Christmas tradition!

Lisa Thibault of the Fraser Health Authority insists Southwell was treated for her injuries within 24 hours of being admitted. But Southwell's mother (also named Sandy) disagrees.

"She called me at 9 o'clock Tuesday night and they told her she had to get off the phone because she was going into surgery," the elder Southwell said.

Earlier, Thibault had said a wait of two days for surgery to repair a broken leg is not abnormal.

A wait. Of two Days. To repair a broken leg. IS NOT ABNORMAL.

"More urgent cases would have been seen first," she said. Surrey Memorial's orthopedic caseload was stacked over the weekend with injuries caused by people falling in slippery conditions.

It's a pandemic! We need a study group! How about a governmental think tank that focuses on finding a treatment for this unexpected rash of slippery fallery.

Sandy Southwell's ordeal came just days after another patient, Susy Horna, described an excruciating four-day wait for broken-leg surgery at Surrey Memorial.

Southwell says she was hooked up to morphine and given painkillers but was fed only once -- a measly meal of soggy noodles, Jell-O and tiny sandwiches after her surgery.

Obviously this outbreak of Slippery-Fallery has caused a food shortage as well.

The next time someone pulls out the "40 millions Americans have no health care Insurance" line on you in an attempt to convince you of the wonders of socialized medicine, tell them they will get what they pay for.

Which is to say, "free" health care is anything but free.