Posts Tagged ‘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.
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.
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 to the provincial treasury.
The province says it now has to find another way to fill that budget shortfall; health care costs in the province are now more than $20 billion per year and are projected to grow five per cent annually.
Here’s a thought: How about we start by scrapping $20 million annual budget for the Office de la langue française?
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?
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. Subsequent studies found no proof the vaccine is connected to autism.
Ten of the study’s 13 authors renounced the study’s conclusions, and The Lancet has previously said it should never have published the research. “We fully retract this paper from the published record,” its editors said in a statement on Tuesday.
Predictably, the Jenny McCarthy conspiracy theorists are dismissing this as a… you guessed it… conspiracy theory.
But, crackpots aside, hopefully this will finally parents who just want what’s best for their kids that getting them vaccinated against disease is the responsible thing to do.
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” to put pressure on the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic, UK tabloid The Sun reports.
He believes it is, “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century”, and has called for an inquiry.
Maybe Wodarg should go hang out with Jenny McCarthy. I bet they have loads in common.
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 a choice: they can go work in the “regions” or accept a 30% pay cut. That leads most of them to take the third choice: go to Ontario or elsewhere for double the pay.
This is a frequent source of frustration among friends currently in med school, many of whom would like to stay here but can’t get jobs in Montreal. This despite the fact that the province has a shortage of hundreds of doctors, and the shortage is actually worse in Montreal than it is in many outlying regions. Anyone who’s tried to find a GP lately can attest to that.
The Quebec government needs to realize that a stick-only approach only works when you can restrict people from leaving; when they have other, better options, you’d better break out the carrots.
In the meantime, if you get sick, you’ll be better off in Alberta or Ontario.
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 will favour the rich, deny the poor, and turn us all into the worst Canadian nightmare: the United States. The other half of the country is decrying the decision as too soft, saying that more private healthcare is the only thing that will save us from total ruin and a third-world medical system.
As for me, I’m somewhere in between. I’ve pretty much always considered myself mostly in the public system camp, because I think that some things ought to be universally accessible regardless of ability to pay. Yes, this contradicts my position on university education, and no, I don’t think that’s hypocritical, because higher education is an investment into the future while healthcare is a basic survival tool.
On the other hand, only a fool would deny that our system is badly, badly broken. The universal system works nicely only if it’s universally good, or at the very least, universally adequate. But it falls apart if the only things universal about the system are doctor and nursing shortages, outdated equipment and mile-long waiting lists.
I’m also pragmatic enough to recognize that the ideals of universal healthcare fall apart when it’s personal. It’s all very well and good to say that everyone should get the same treatment… but when it’s my friend or family member, I want the best damn care in existence for them. And if better care exists but a law stands forbidding them to seek it out, then I would be the first to fight that law.
Unlike the Quebec Supreme Court, I don’t believe this is strictly a case of individual versus collective rights. I think it has much more to do with government incompetence and mis-management of funds and resources. The idea of universal healthcare is a good one, but we’ve messed it up royally over the years. There’s a doctor shortage because, as a monopoly, the healthcare system took them for granted, causing them to seek opportunties in the States or elsewhere. There are waiting lists because the government is so busy spending money on useless nonsense, so there’s not enough left for the healthcare system.
In short, in an ideal world, this court case shouldn’t have even been necessary in the first place, because the healthcare system would provide a good standard of care to everyone. But it’s become increasingly clear that without some private involvement to fill in the serious gaps in our system, it will collapse. a judgment forbidding it would be based on a nonexistent ideal and not on reality, which is why the Supreme Court was right to overturn it.
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 hospital that addresses patients by a name instead of by the name of a disease is a positive development.
But as a person who frequently stumbles over her French, I’m a little sensitive to this rule in particular. I’m sure this isn’t much of an issue in Saguenay, where French is spoken by basically everyone, but I personally have a particularly hard time with the tu/vous distinction. Oh, I understand it well enough, but when I’m speaking quickly or I’m flustered, the wrong one often slips out. I blame it on my grade school French curriculum, which – ostensibly to avoid confusion – taught us to say “tu” when addressing any person in the singular second person, including our teachers. It’s hard to break the habit now and I have made some embarrassing gaffes when addressing professors or even clients too familiarly.
Maybe I’m being over-sensitive, but instituting a rule that could result in suspension seems a bit heavy-handed to me. If the lesson the hospital is trying to teach to staff is respect, maybe they could try having a little respect for their staffers. Most likely, a simple memo reminding people to use “vous” would be enough, rather than a rule. Besides, there’s a lot more to respect than pronouns, and any staff members with truly disrespectful attitudes should be disciplined regardless of what exact words they use.
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:
In Canadian news, the election talk that seems to be dominating the airwaves. But Damian Penny and David Janes have a disgusting story of racism interfering in custody cases that proves just how dangerous these “PC” policies can be for innocent children. As for the election, Paul Jané comments on the Liberals’ transparent scheme to make ridiculous healthcare promises at the eleventh hour that they clearly have no intention of keeping. (Anyone else remember the “no more GST” promise? Remind me again why I keep voting for these guys?)