Dr. Yoel Abells wrote in "The emergency room is no place for politics", (National Post, Feb.25, 2009):
"A number of years ago, an asthmatic died en route to a Toronto hospital. Apparently, the ambulance carrying the boy could not go to several closer emergency rooms because these were filled to capacity with acutely ill patients. They could not accommodate a patient who would likely need intubation and respiratory support. A system designed to prevent ERs from being overwhelmed beyond their limit was in place. The intent was to ensure that ERs were not in danger of providing suboptimal care. Once the capacity to handle critical patients had been reached, ERs could register online and request that they be bypassed entirely (CCB, or coronary care bypass) or partially (RDC, or redirect consideration). Unfortunately, as the demands made upon these departments grew, the incidence of CCB and RDC requests rose. Sadly, circumstances resulted in this patient not reaching an ER in time.
No doubt, this tragedy should not have been allowed to happen. However, the response of government to this event was typically short-sighted. The processes of CCB and RDC were essentially banned. A directive was issued that appeared to be a potent and immediate response to an unacceptable circumstance. However, no long-term solution designed to address the system-wide problem that had led to the ER crisis was developed and implemented.
As a result, ERs were expected to handle all visits regardless of whether they had the facilities or staff to do so. Over time, critical congestion within ERs has become the norm. Patients are piled up in waiting rooms, often lying on ambulance stretchers, anticipating the availability of an ER bed. But waiting times have increased dramatically because most of these ER beds are occupied by admitted patients. Matters have only worsened with hospital restructuring, particularly since the establishment of promised community-based infrastructure has never occurred.
Last week, the matter of ER wait times was raised again, as the government issued a new edict to ER departments: Get wait times down to four hours for patients with minor ailments and eight hours for sicker ones. As part of the strategy, a new website has been set up, ostensibly to collect data and make everyone sensitive to the situation. Ontario Minister of Health David Caplan stated that this information will “open a lot of eyes in the province.” Whose eyes does he want to open? Certainly, those of us providing care are aware. Undoubtedly, after years of increasing waiting times and decreasing accessibility, the public perception is clear. Hospitals have been acutely sensitive to the issue for a long while, finally compelled to do what government should be doing — for example, finding ways to move chronic care patients out of acute care beds. One hospital has been directing dollars from its limited budget to pay long-term care facilities to take chronic care patients sooner. This is appalling.
So, open your eyes, Mr. Caplan. The problem is not the hospitals — the problem is the system. Until the government takes a long-term, system-wide approach to a broad-based, system-wide predicament, the impact of what it does will be minimal: another bandage solution and nothing more."
"The problem is the system" - and Ontario's single-payer, government-run health-care monopoly, championed by duplicitous, secretive, unaccountable Liberals such as St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley, is a perfect example.
Liberal Jim Bradley has based his entire career instituting his failing statist monopolist ideology upon Ontario's patients. For Liberals, politics most certainly belongs in the emergency room: hospitals and health care is where duplicitous Liberals peddle and seed their populist illusions that they are somehow 'helping' and 'saving' health-care - when the last thing anyone needs is any Liberal involvement in health care.
(For years, Bradley has squawked at every possible opportunity about perceived failures of government health care policies - WHEN HE WAS IN OPPOSITION: "They are running from crisis to crisis and are not prepared to make sensible allocations," a suitably indignant Jim Bradley once thundered. "They just throw money at the problem, making allocations in a quick fashion without giving it a lot of thought." (St. Catharines Standard, Feb.24, 1999)
Yet, that's exactly what hypocrite Jim Bradley and his Liberals have themselves been doing now in Ontario for five years!!
And now, nary a word from Good Ole Jimmy and his flicked-up Liberal monopolist policies. Hey, has Jim Bradley even responded to the Oct.08 Kitt's report yet??!)
During the Oct.2007 election campaign, Liberal premier McGuinty even campaigned in a hospital; when McGuinty encountered a cancer patient in the lobby who challenged McGuinty's claims and refused to shake McGuinty's hand, the smarmy Liberal premier slithered away from the man, essentially calling him a liar! (see: 'You're Not Helping Me,' Angry cancer patient tells Liberal Premier of Ontario ; also see Are we aware two-tier is coming?)
McGuinty's smarmy Liberals have already been once caught playing their deceptive wait-time games, back in Nov. 2006, see: We've seen enough of McGuinty's Liberals ; see also Liberal Healthcare Duplicity, An Ontario Overview 2003-2007 , page 8. Abells asks Health Minister David Caplan, in Caplan's own words, exactly "whose eyes" does Caplan want to "open": patients's eyes? Doctor's eyes? Liberal eyes?!
The only eyes that haven't opened, and which remain ideologically blinded by monopolist grandeur, are the eyes of LIBERALS themselves!!
Does Caplan think that Liberals such as Jim Bradley will get anything from this web-site, other than a knee-jerk "oh,oh... it looks like we need more government intervention! We need to save health care... therefore, we need to cut health care budgets... American-style... Harris... bla...bla...blah..."?
Abell's article says government must take responsibility for failed systems: but Jim Bradley and his McGuintyites apparently cannot believe that they are in any way responsible for their own health-care monopoly's failures.
There is a disconnect in responsibility, accountability, and liability between what politicians do and the subsequent fall-out from their actions.
Ontario's two-term majority Liberal government has no excuse but to see that McGuinty and his MPP's should be jointly and severally held liable for the health-care consequences caused by their unreasonable political perpetuation of a monopoly regime in this province.
Their actions should not be shielded by their rhetoric.