Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another patient forced to travel to Buffalo for "universal" health-care unavailable in Ontario

Tom Blackwell wrote in "Ontario told to pay for U.S. surgery" (National Post, Dec.15, 2010):

"Suffering headaches, vomiting and imbalance, Suresh Kapur was diagnosed with bleeding on the brain when he showed up at a Toronto-area hospital, then given an “urgent” follow-up appointment with a neurosurgeon — three days later.

The retired professional engineer decided to seek out a second opinion in Buffalo, N.Y., that same day, only to have doctors there rush him into the OR, believing “there were absolutely no grounds” for waiting longer. Now the patient has won a year-long battle to get Ontario’s medicare system to cover his U.S. costs, reviving questions about Canada’s stretched brain surgery resources and reliance on the United States to fill the gaps.

Though the situation has improved markedly in Ontario since the government poured new money into the field, the province still sends an average of close to two people a week to the U.S. for emergency brain operations, a situation specialists call unacceptable. Other provinces also transfer patients out of the country for some neurological treatment.

Mr. Kapur’s surgery in the U.S. was not approved in advance by the Ontario health-insurance program — known as OHIP — and it refused to pay his bills, saying it was not convinced his condition was an emergency. The province’s Health Services Appeal and Review Board ruled in his favour this month, however, ordering OHIP to pay for the operation.

Mr. Kapur, 70, said he believes his life was saved by the fact he has medical connections in the family — including a son-in-law who is a doctor in Buffalo — and worries about others in the same situation.

“The system is in serious trouble,” he said. “I was recently back in Buffalo and all the doctors who had seen me, all talked about this case and they all said, ‘How can this happen?’ ”

In fact, many patients are dispatched directly by Ontario hospitals to the United States. In the six months that ended Sept. 30, Ontario sent 41 pre-approved patients for emergency neurosurgery in the States, mostly Buffalo, at a cost of about $4.1-million, or $100,000 per case. That compares to 202 transfers in 2009-10 and 120 the year before, said Dave Jensen, a spokesman for the Ontario Health Ministry.

The government has provided an extra $400,000 to each of the province’s 10 neurological centres to help them handle more patients, he said. A deal to provide even more funding has just been signed with hospitals that should bring about further improvements, said Dr. R. Loch Macdonald, head of neurosurgery at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital. But he acknowledged the situation as it stands is not right.

“There’s definitely a problem,” Dr. Macdonald said. “The hospitals in Buffalo have intensive care set up to look after Canadian patients, and they’re paid handsomely to look after them.… We can provide better care, cheaper, in our hospitals in Ontario if we had the resources.”
The major roadblock is not a lack of surgeons, he said, but the other services the doctors need to provide the operations and hospital care afterward, he said.

It is common to refer a seriously ill patient to a neurosurgeon, only to be told the specialist would love to treat the person, but has no access to hospital beds for them, said Dr. Ed Klimek, president of the Association of Ontario Neurologists.

“This shouldn’t be happening,” he said. “A life-threatening situation, presenting in this province seven times a month, getting sent out of country for treatment.… Is that acceptable?”

Mr. Kapur said he had been having severe headaches last fall, then woke up in the night, vomiting and feeling confused, weak and faint.

A CT scan done after he visited a Mississauga, Ont., emergency department on Sept. 14, 2009, revealed he had a large subdural hematoma — a pool of blood between the brain and skull — with evidence of both chronic and recent, acute bleeding. Such conditions can be left to clear themselves up over time, or require immediate attention to prevent serious brain damage or death.

Mr. Kapur was referred to a neurosurgeon in Mississauga who agreed to see him on an “urgent” basis, offering up an outpatient appointment three days later on Sept. 17.

A son-in-law who happened to be a neurobiologist looked at his CT scan and “panicked,” suggesting he seek out a second opinion on whether he could wait three days for an expert examination. Another son-in-law who works as a doctor in Buffalo arranged for an appointment at a hospital there.

Based on his CT and other test results, the neurosurgeon who saw him said, “ ‘I thought I was going to see someone who was dead, or about to die,’ ” Mr. Kapur said. Within hours, the hospital performed an operation to drain the blood from his brain.

Statistics on out-of-country neurosurgery are harder to come by from other provinces. In Saskatchewan, seven neurological cases were sent to the United States last year. Alberta said it cold not provide statistics because of “privacy” reasons, while figures were not available from British Columbia. A spokesman for the Nova Scotia Health Department said that province treats all of its neurosurgery patients at home. "

Let's hear Good Ole Liberal MPP Jim Bradley - a McGuinty health care monopolist - once again laugh at and dismissively denounce the American health system: the same system which Bradley and his Canadian-flag-waving single-payer health-care monopolists keep on sending [in fact, FORCING] patients to, for falsely-promised health services which are strangely unavailable in Bradley's own state-run Liberal monopolist "health nirvana" of Ontario.

Once again, Buffalo's hospitals have helped treat and save another Canadian patient, but you won't hear Liberal hypocrite Jim Bradley thanking Buffalo's hospitals for their service. Jim Bradley refuses to provide details of how many Ontarians are being forced to leave Canada to obtain out-of-country health-care, care which was not available to them when they needed it at home, in single-payer Ontario.

Why don't McGuinty or Bradley or Matthews explain to Dr. MacDonald exactly why more resources aren't available to provide 'better care in Ontario'?!
Is it because Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty's idiotic health-care monopolism deprives the health-care system of resources? Is the state-run OHIP monopoly (controlled by McGuinty's Liberals) purposefully short-changing patients? Would de-monopolizing the state-run health-care apparatus allow for the system to have the proper resources necessary to meet patient needs?

Why isn't anyone looking into the patient-health consequences of McGuinty's Liberal health-care monopolism?

[Bear with me here: it's interesting how Ontario's medical officer of health, Arlene King, claims that the proliferation of George Smitherman's government-subsidized wind turbines throughout Ontario cause no ill health effects upon those living nearby, yet King did not interview any of the affected people nor conduct any independent studies. McGuinty's Liberal health minister Deb Matthews, predictably, is satisfied with this position. Yet the medical officer of health for Grey Bruce, Dr. Hazel Lynn, has nevertheless been asked by her Board to look into carrying out a study locally of the effects of living too close to wind turbines.]

Why then, similarly, aren't any of Ontario's local medical officers of health studying the effects upon their own local health-care systems of Dalton McGuinty's Liberal health-care monopolism?!

These local medical health officers throughout Ontario well know that patients are being told to wait for necessary care {...this is not even 'elective' care we're talking about, where time is not of the essence; this is necessary and immediate care.}
These medical officers know that Ontario patients are being forced to leave the country because necessary health care is not available - so why are Ontario's medical officers of health ignoring this?!

- Why is no medical officer of health, anywhere in Ontario, bothering to ask about THAT?!

That is a health care issue: it is the of fallout of false promises based on failed Liberal ideology, based on faulty monopolist/statist political policies.

- Why are Ontario's medical officers afraid to examine the dangerous toxicity to Ontarians of McGuinty's poisonous Liberal health care duplicity?

- How is it that Ontario's proximity to, and reliance upon, available American health-facilities, has now BECOME A COVERT PART of Liberal health-care policy in Ontario?!

- McGuinty's Liberal hypocrites are forced to send patients from Ontario's failing monopolist so-called 'Utopia' to medical facilities in the States - to facilities which would be ILLEGAL if they were located on the Canadian-side of the Niagara River, in Ontario's perverted ideologically-illogical single-payer health-monopoly!! 

Even premier McGuinty himself  has already admitted  that his Liberal health-care monopoly "can't deliver the best possible care within every Ontario community" - yet, McGuinty then negligently continues to propagate his failing statist single-payer health-care monopoly, as if it does (or even could) 'deliver the best possible care within every Ontario community'!!

That jarring incongruity is the very essence of McGuinty's Liberal health-care duplicity: McGuinty's admission shows that he knows full well that his single-payer health-care monopolism is a failing, fraudulent political charade; yet, his Liberals nevertheless continue to peddle their monopolist health-care pretensions with more illusory, ever-receding promises.

Why won't St.Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley support a coroner's inquiry into the death of Helen Harris, who was transported from St.Catharines to Buffalo N.Y. for health-care which was mysteriously, unexplainedly unavailable in Liberal Jim Bradley's own Liberal health monopoly in St.Catharines, Ontario??

Why isn't anyone in Ontario looking into the circumstances surrounding Helen Harris' death; into how it came to be that her health-care treatment - such as it was - had to be delivered not in Canada, but in Buffalo, New York?!!
Where was McGuinty's grandiose (criminally fraudulent) Liberal health-care monopoly when this Ontario patient actually needed it?

By taking the initiative to leave Ontario and head for Buffalo N.Y., Suresh Kapur was lucky enough to have survived Dalton McGuinty's and Jim Bradley's Liberal health-care house of horrors - it is obvious in Blackwell's report that Ontario's Liberal health-care monopoly utterly failed this patient; other Ontario patients - such as Helen Harris - were not as lucky. Are any Liberals accountable for this? Or are we just supposed to sweep these incidents under the rug, while bowing to the medicare-myths of Tommy Douglas?

Why have McGuinty's Liberals, Niagara's Regional health officer, and Ontario's chief coroner, ignored examining the circumstances surrounding Helen Harris' death in 2009? If it wasn't for his courage to escape McGuinty's Liberal-run Ontario health-care prison, we could have just as easily been reading about Suresh Kapur's death in 2009 - - - and nobody would care...

Certainly, no-one in the Liberal Jim Bradley butt-wiping Niagara press cared to ask their hero Jimmy about how Jimmy's monopoly failed Ms. Harris.

...[Still waiting for Naomi Lakritz to attack Kapur for leaving Canada to get health-care, the way she attacked Shona Holmes for doing the same thing!]...

Why can't Ontarians know the extent to which monopolistic, ideological Liberal health-care policies played in Helen Harris' death?


Kartik in Ottawa said...

The canadian system needs serious reform. I suggest a free market approach - where individuals have more control over their dollars and decisions.

Kartik in Ottawa said...

Canada's system needs serious reform - I suggest a free market approach. Where we as consumers take responsibility over our dollars and decisions. HSAs are a promising start in the US. I can't stand Michael Moore either.

R.Bobak said...

CTV reported on Feb.22, 2013:
"Dr. Hazel Lynn, the Grey-Bruce medical officer of health, unveiled a new report Friday that suggests wind turbines can cause physical harm.

Lynn, working with research assistant Dr. Ian Arra, spent months reviewing 18 wind turbine studies from around the world.

“Basically, what we found was that all of the peer-reviewed [papers], which is the highest level of papers that we could review, all showed an association with distress people and wind turbines.,” Lynn says.
In fact they found that every single study showed some level of distress caused by wind turbines, some severe, some as simple as occasional headaches.

While it is not the result anti-wind power advocates would have liked, the results are in direct contrast to the conclusion of Ontario’s medical officer health, who has said wind turbines are safe.

And for the crowd, at the very least it was support for their belief that wind turbines are an unproven technology that could cause harm.

Lynn says “I work for Grey-Bruce and I live among all the people who are distressed here, which makes a difference. If you are just viewing this from a distance and you don’t know, it’s much more difficult.”

Supporters of wind energy suggest this report, like others, will help determine future turbine policy in Ontario, and stress that it isn’t direct evidence that wind turbines are making people sick.

The report will be shared with Ontario’s Ministry of Health."
Hmm... Just don't ask Ontario's GreenFear-spreading Liberal Environment Minister MPP Jim Bradley about this!! You can bet that the JimmyFanClub at the St.Catharines Standard Bradley Bootlicker won't.