Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Burned by Ontario's health system, patients flown to United States for treatment

I’m writing to express my concerns regarding two more recent healthcare related incidents reported in the press. Both have to do with Ontario patients being sent to Rochester N.Y. for emergency burn treatment.

The first story is regarding an article by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones titled “Dr. Gibson deserving of medal” (Saskatoon Phoenix-Star, June 2, 2007):

This story (...see my link at the very bottom of this post for the full article...) by Dr. Gifford-Jones tells volumes about the sorry state Ontario’s health system is in today.
The difficulties encountered by Campbellford Hospital's Dr. Glenn Gibson in getting timely treatment for third-degree burn victim Charlie Godden of Campbellford were astounding.
Incredibly, in George Smitherman’s Liberal healthcare system, there were no burn trauma units available anywhere in Ontario. “Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto had five burn units, but no staff to service them, so Dr. Gibson turned to the U.S.”, wrote Gifford-Jones.
He detailed all the problems Dr. Gibson encountered with the air ambulance and its crew, then having to arrange an airplane flight instead, in order to fly across Lake Ontario to Rochester, New York, only to find that it would have no paramedics or necessary ventilation equipment on board, forcing the doctor to “keep his patient alive by hand ventilation”.
Also, the doctor had no passport ready for this unexpected journey, and was worried about that. Gifford-Jones wrote that several hours into this ordeal, “Godden’s temperature by this time had dropped due to shock and the low temperature of the airplane.
Doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester N.Y. were amazed Dr. Gibson had been able to keep him alive.
Unbelievably, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) then insisted that Godden be returned to Canada for treatment, but the Strong doctors refused to move him until he had been stabilized. Then the Strong doctors had to “debate” with OHIP about who was to do the immediately-necessary skin graft – so, after three days, Godden was to be sent back to Sunnybrook, because “economics won”, as Gifford-Jones said.
(But really, did “economics” win, or, did the patient lose?)
The helicopter that was supposed to take Godden back across Lake Ontario to Canada was too large to land at Sunnybrook Hospital, so another one had to be found. And despite the fact that the ventilator on board this one was broken, it was decided that Godden would survive the flight back home to Canada. “Rochester physicians were so shocked at this decision, possibly a life-or-death one, that they loaned the plane a ventilator. Once again, thanks to our generous U.S. friends.”
Godden, after all of this pain and suffering, finally received his skin grafts “four days after the Campbellford accident, rather than the normal few hours”.
Will single-payer-pushing-hack George Smitherman be held accountable for this abject failure of his socialist, no-choice Ontario healthcare system?
Where were Ontario’s burn unit staff?
Second - Re: news item “Burned man in hospital” (Peterborough Examiner, Osprey News, August 21, 2007):
This story reported that a Peterborough, Ontario area man was also airlifted to New York State, to Rochester's Strong Hospital burn unit, with life-threatening third-degree burns.

Liberal health minister George Smitherman has constantly derided the U.S. healthcare system, but keeps sending Ontarians to the States for treatment which his single-payer medicare Nirvana can’t provide citizens at home.
Why are we sending patients to the States?
Why are facilities in Ontario, which last year cost some $38 billion to run, not available to patients? Why should patients be suffering for Smitherman?
How much more of this Liberal treachery can we take?
See more on the Charlie Godden story here)

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