Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do the right thing

With increasing frequency we read of Canadians travelling south of the border for diagnosis and treatment of medical concerns that cannot be provided in their home province in a timely fashion. Earlier this year the Canadian Medical Association cautioned that Canadian Health Care is heading towards a crisis situation. Premier Danny Williams travelled to the USA for his surgery rather than queuing up for treatment in Newfoundland.

When Obama first introduced his health care plan, arch rival Sarah Palin referred to his committees on health as "death panels." I thought that label was best reserved for the American HMOs who delayed approval on costly procedures for their insured long enough so that the patient would die, or be beyond help, prior to any approval being granted. I also recall reading that 80% of American bankruptcies are due to debt accumulated as a result of medical need.

In today's SP (Nov. 18/10) is another example of a young man that has an opportunity to survive a otherwise terminal disease by getting surgery in the USA that is apparently not available to him in Saskatchewan. In order for him to receive any funding from Sask Health he needs a referral from a specialist. In most instances it takes six months to a year to see a specialist in this province. After that it will be months of testing and diddling before any action will be taken. I glean from the news article he does not have the time to follow the protocol.

More appalling is the response from the oncologist's nurse that the doctor will not provide a referral because then "we would have to pay for it." Its starting to sound like a HMO.

It is sad in the province that spear-headed medicare that a family should lose everything and have to appeal to public for donations in order to receive necessary medical treatment.

If Sask Health cannot immediately provide him with this treatment, then they should be honour bound to help finance, at least in part, his treatment elsewhere in Canada or at the Mayo Clinic.


  1. Tommy Douglas would be spinning in his grave, so much for universal health care. This is the system that the unions love and until they are broken no significant improvements will occur. The inmates are running the asylum.

  2. Tommy could not possibly have invisioned the costs of modern health care when he championed medi-care in the early 60s. I feel bad for the young man in question but the reality is the cure sounds worse to me than the alternative but that's his decision. I am sorry but I don't believe a public system should pay for radical Hale Mary surgerys. I know this will probably cause an uproar among the Civic Mistress faithfull but I don't think this is the time to union bash,medi-care bash or any other kind of bashing it is a time to hope or (for those so inclined) pray for the best for this young person.

  3. Anon 8:33 are you proposing that our Health Care system should be able to turn down treatments for individuals because of the chances of recovery?

    I sincerely hope that you never have a loved one in the situation, I can assume that if it was your loved one you would be all aboard attempting any surgery that had a chance to save their life.

    This mentality is the exact same thing that the Mistress referenced above, decision being made on a financial basis.

    Re the costs of modern health care, how much of those costs are as a result of double-dipping/overpaid union workers?

    (please don't cite the costs of medicine, I realize they have doubled in last 10 years but still only consist of less than 10% of spending)

  4. "this is predominantly a civic blog."

    Thus, we shouldn't be talking about such matters.

  5. Anon 9:31, get lost already. Why bother coming here? Do you get some sort of twisted pleasure from continually insulting the Mistress.

    And for the record 'predominantly' doesn't mean 'solely'

  6. Anon 9:31, yet another of the NDP trolls, god I thought you were dying off.

  7. it would be great if an intelligent debate could be had without the usual personal attacks or demonizing of unions.

    I think the bigger concern for health care costs would be those associated with management and not frontline - unionized - employees.

  8. I think the bigger concern for health care costs would be those associated with management and not frontline - unionized - employee

    I think you need to look more into the breakdown of where health care money is spent then. Bureaucracy (yuck, I agree with you on that waste and word leaves a bad taste in my mouth) is a problem, however, in terms of real dollars it is a drop in the bucket compared to what the unions are raking in.

    But hey, maybe the next federal government will bandaid the problem by throwing more money at it.

  9. I think many of you are missing the point. A 30 year man has an opportunity to live if he receives the appropriate medical treatment. It is not available to him in Saskatchewan. It is not a "Hail Mary" scenario as others have apparently had this successful surgery. Yes it is high risk, but all surgery is risky.

    To Anon 8:33, any cure cannot be worse that the alternative. He has a will to live. He has a child he would like to raise. Simply put, at 30 you are just beginning life and the best is yet to come. This man deserves the chance at life.

    What good is a medicare system that provides medicore care and ignores its citizens when extraordinary care is required?

  10. civic mistress;
    reread the article; in reference to Janis Olson...."The 34 year old woman remains cancer-free and since her surgery, three others have had the surgery. ONE SURVIVED". That would make two survivors out of four operations 50% odds for survival of surgery are not good odds! This is definitely "Hale Mary" surgery. Haven't you ever repeatedly visited a loved one in hospital who had their life extended or saved by heroic measures where their quality of life was gone or severely limited and quietly wished for the "alternative"

  11. Civic Mistress,

    Please check out the following, which you may find interesting

  12. No issue with the Saskatchewan party caucus running a blog on taxpayer dimes though?

  13. Thoughts, prayers and HOPE for this young man and his family :)

  14. The Media today said the Saskatchewan Government through Med-Care will fund Jeff Lukye's surgery having recieved required information from a specialist. I wish for him and his family the very best outcome possible. While respecting his privacy it would be nice for us to have follow up stories on how he is doing. Best of luck to Jeff, Keri and their family.
    Anon 8:33


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