Friday, March 03, 2006


Two stories below about what "caring" Leftists create:

No mercy for man waiting for surgery:

A mentally disabled Elliot Lake man will have to live with a painful stomach condition for a few more months because Sudbury Regional Hospital (SRH) has a limit on the surgery he needs. The middle-aged man, who was born with his stomach in the wrong place, suffers from severe and painful dry heaves. His condition can be cured by a procedure called laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, which would change the position of his stomach. However, the hospital has limited Sudbury's two thoracic surgeons to doing just 25 of these surgeries in a fiscal year, and they have already surpassed their limit.

The man was originally scheduled for surgery at Sudbury Regional Hospital in December, but the procedure was cancelled twice, says Heather Tasse, a home support worker for Community Living Algoma who helps to care for the man. The man's surgeon, who has asked not to be named, told Tasse the hospital isn't allowing him to perform any laparoscopic anti-reflux surgeries from the beginning of February until the end of March, when the fiscal year ends.

Demand for his services has been increasing over the past few years. He is one of only a few doctors in the province able to perform anti-reflux surgery in a minimally invasive fashion. Tasse says her client is near the top of the surgeon's 14-month waiting list, because he is in so much pain. "How can you put a cap on people's health?" asks Tass‚. "Maybe more people should ask why (the surgeon) is being limited in the number of these procedures he does. I mean, that's ludicrous."

SRH chief of staff Dr. Chris McKibbon says the hospital has many surgical priorities, and must decide how to allocate funding within their tight budget. The hospital puts a cap on many types of surgeries, not just laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery, he says. "One of the things that you need to understand is that we're funded for particular volumes of all kinds of things. We project how many cardiac surgeries, knee replacements and cataracts we're going to do," says the doctor. "The struggle is try to do the best we can to get it right and actually deliver on our commitments. So is this (capping numbers of surgeries) unique? Not at all."

Couple face long, painful wait for care. Man, wife need knee, hip surgeries:

Incapacitated by joint damage, Joan and Don Brigden have squeezed their lives into two rooms by installing their bed and a shower downstairs. She is 70 and was slated for hip replacement since May; he is 68 and was to get a new knee in September. But then their files and referrals got lost between two Gatineau hospitals. The couple from Bowman, 70 kilometres north of Ottawa, had to start from scratch, facing an eight-month wait for a consultation.

"She's gone from using a cane to a walker to a wheelchair in four months," Don Brigden said of his wife. "We are literally living in two rooms. It's terrible. We shouldn't have to suffer this way."

Montreal orthopedic surgeon Ethan Lichtblau "inherited" the two cases in December after a referral from a family doctor in Hawkesbury, Ont. The Brigdens had expected their suffering would end shortly. They were looking forward to doing their grocery shopping together once again. But this week, they found themselves on yet another waiting list. Lichtblau's hospital, Santa Cabrini, has shut its operating room to knee and hip replacements because of budget restrictions.

When is Quebec's plan of guaranteed wait times going to kick in?, Don Brigden demanded. The Brigdens say they understand surgery delays aren't the hospital's or the surgeon's fault. "But from where I'm sitting, it doesn't seem fair," Joan Brigden said. "You can't blame the doctors - it's the friggin' system," her husband added. "We paid taxes all our lives for this and now they tell us they don't have the money to do it right away."

Tired of waiting for the pain to abate, other Gatineau-area patients have paid $15,000 for hip surgery, done in a private clinic in Laval. The Brigdens are going to wait until Santa Cabrini opens again to knee and hip surgeries in April. "It's just a shame we have to wait that long. She should be walking around being functional," Don Brigden said of his wife. "It's just not right."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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