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healthcare

A French couple has been charged in the death of their 11-month old baby, after allegedly feeding her an insufficient vegan diet and refusing to treat her illnesses, instead using “natural” (aka useless) remedies:

The couple, Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou, are strict vegans who chose to feed their daughter, Louise, no solid food, giving her only breast milk.

After Louise died in March 2008, a post-mortem exam showed the child weighed just 5.7 kg (12.5 pounds) when she should have weighed about 8 kg (17.5 lbs).

The cause of death was listed as a pneumonia-related illness. But the autopsy also revealed the child suffered from a severe deficiency of vitamins A and B12, which may have left her susceptible to infection.

The vitamin B12 deficiency could be linked to the mother’s eating habits, since the only source of the vitamin is meat, dairy or vitamin supplements.

The couple reportedly did not follow their doctor’s advice to take their daughter to hospital when they went for her nine-month checkup and found she was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight.

The court has heard that the parents chose instead to treat her with cabbage poultices, mustard, camphor and clay.

Good. They should pay for what they did to their innocent child. If this case sets a precedent and sparks a debate on the issue, even better.

If adults want to be stupid, fine. It pisses me off but it’s their decision. But don’t take your stupidity out on your kids – you’ve already saddled them with your genes; no need to make it worse.

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When it comes to so-called “universal” Medicare under the Canada Health Act, as the Globe and Mail reports, Quebecers are truly second-class citizens:

Under the portability requirement, every Canadian is entitled to full medical coverage, no matter where he or she lives, and provincial health insurance plans are supposed to be good anywhere in the country.

But that tenet is showing cracks at the Quebec-Ontario boundary. Quebec patients are turned away or pay out-of-pocket for medical services outside their home province, essentially denied portability.

[ . . . ]

And physicians inside Quebec have their own issues to contend with. Louis Godin, head of the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec, says the government needs to resolve the problems in its home province before appeasing doctors elsewhere. Two million Quebeckers don’t have a family physician. Meanwhile, in the four faculties of medicine, 250 family-medical spots remained vacant over the past four years because doctors are paid roughly 30 per cent less than their counterparts elsewhere in the country. There’s a lack of medical infrastructure, especially along the boundary, which has resulted in a number of doctors moving to private clinics or simply picking up and leaving for other provinces.

Basically, what this means is that there are much longer waiting lists for elective procedures inside Quebec, due to a severe shortage of doctors and resources. So people go to Ontario to get health services. If they pay up-front and ask to get reimbursed by RAMQ, they’ll only get part of their money back — if they’re lucky. And many doctors in other provinces will refuse to see Quebec patients, because they’re strained enough meeting the demand from the local populace, and because of the bureaucratic roadblocks that get thrown up when they themselves try to bill RAMQ for their services.

This is an inevitable consequence of a system that makes federal promises but relies on provincial jurisdictions to carry them out. Quebec’s healthcare is a mess, and understandably, the rest of Canada doesn’t particularly want to enable or subsidize the mess.

If the Quebec government were truly serious about fixing healthcare, it would pay doctors as much as they’re getting paid in other provinces, make more spots available, and commit funds for infrastructure and services, to stem the steady tide of doctors across provincial borders. Canada already has a hard enough time hanging onto doctors who are seduced by the private salaries and perks south of the border in the US. But this inter-province competition needs to stop.

Of course, it won’t happen. Quebec will point a finger at Ottawa, at once demanding more funding, and then loudly decrying it when it’s offered as “interference” in a provincial matter. Biting the hand that feeds — nothing new for La Belle Province.

So if you’re living in Quebec and are one of the rare few with a family doc, consider yourself lucky. And if not, well, best hope you don’t get sick anytime soon.

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Charest government backs down on user fees

09.22.2010

There will be no user fees for healthcare in Quebec after all: Quebecers quickly organized large street demonstrations when the government announced it would charge taxpayers a $200-a-year health premium, then bill patients another $25 for each hospital visit. [ . . . ] Quebec’s user fees would have brought an estimated $500 million a year [...]

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We’re American and we love our guns

06.28.2010

The U.S. Supreme Court has been hard at work, ensuring that all Americans have the right the own handguns. Of course, with fifty million potential gunshot wound victims without health insurance, one would think that the Founding Fathers might have anticipated the need for a universal right to healthcare in the Constitution too, no?

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Debunking the vaccination-causes-autism myth

02.02.2010

The study that had initially claimed a link between childhood vaccination and autism and had long since been essentially debunked as having no supporting evidence, has been formally retracted by the Lancet: The Lancet published the controversial paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues in 1998. British parents abandoned the vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of measles. [...]

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More H1N1 conspiracy theories

01.12.2010

Why rely on information when conspiracy theories are just so much more fun? THE swine flu scare was a “false pandemic” led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines, a leading health expert said. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, claimed major firms organized a “campaign of panic” [...]

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Doctors returning to Canada… but not to Quebec

08.24.2005

A new report says the doctor brain drain has reversed; more doctors came to Canada last year than left. However, none of this is helping Quebec, whose ridiculous regulations are driving most medical school graduates to leave the province to start their careers, because there aren’t enough positions in Montreal. Upon graduation, new doctors have [...]

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The healthcare verdict

06.10.2005

I was reserving judgment on yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision on healthcare because I wanted to give everyone a chance to calm down before reacting. With public healthcare practically the Canadian religion, passions are undertstandably running high. Half the country is in hysterics because they’re afraid of the door being open to a two-tier system that [...]

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Respect or more language policing?

12.05.2004

This new rule is designed to increase doctor-patient respect: The hospital’s administration will ask staff to address patients using the formal French pronoun “vous’”instead of the informal “tu.” [ . . . ] He says staff who repeatedly ignore the new measure will face disciplinary action and could eventually be suspended without pay. Hey, any [...]

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Around the blogosphere

05.27.2004

I haven’t been able to post as much as I’d like to lately, due to being very preoccupied with work and with other stuff in my life. So in the meantime, here are some must-read links: If you’re not reading Imshin, you should be. She has been blogging in her typically insightful fashion lately about [...]

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