Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Response to Freestar Media

My recent letter to this guy who is making a movie about the horrors of the Canadian health care system. He requested true Canadian health much do you want to bet that mine won't make the cut?


I recently received an email about the movie you are making (Sick and Sicker) and wanted to write in with my true Canadian health care story. I am an otherwise healthy 29-year-old woman and was recently found to have Type 1 diabetes. It was a real shock and I was scared for my health and of course, for the quality of my life in the future. Within weeks of my diagnosis I was seen by an endocrinologist. When I mentioned to her that my husband and I were interested in starting a family I was moved to the Diabetes in Pregnancy clinic here in Calgary. I had an appointment within a week and was given my own nutritionist to help teach me about food choices, carbohydrate counting and prenatal nutrition. I had a diabetes education nurse who helped to get me on insulin and supplied me, free of charge, with my insulin pens. She calls me every week to go over my blood sugar numbers. I also see an endocrinologist who has been absolutely phenomenal and who is very up to date on what is going on around the world in diabetes research. When we struggled to get pregnant we were referred to a fertility specialist and I had an appointment in less than a week. They provided me with hormone supplements and free ultrasounds to monitor my pregnancy.

I am now over 5 months pregnant, educated about diabetes and healthy. My sugars have been well controlled - through my efforts and through the efforts of my "team". Aside from prescriptions I haven't paid for a thing...I have spoken with friends in America who have paid thousands of dollars for the kind of care I received. I did not wait and I have received world-class care.

The only other experience I've had was when I had a miscarriage two years ago. I went to the Emergency room and did have to wait a few hours, although I was not bleeding heavily. When I did get in I was treated with compassion and kindness and felt very much taken care of. Again I saw a doctor and had an ultrasound and only paid for the parking stall at the hospital.

While I recognize that some people have had an entirely different experience with the Canadian health care system, I do not thinking it is fair to demonize the system as a whole. My husband and I have lived in Africa, Asia, Europe, America and Canada and as someone with a chronic health care concern such as diabetes there is nowhere I would rather be than Canada. Working on the system to improve and fix its flaws is one thing but misrepresenting it as a failure on all counts is not only unfair it is inaccurate.

I am not a leftist Michael Moore fan, nor do I believe that the Canadian health care system is perfect...but it has certainly been good to me...and to my bank account.

Caroline Knox
Calgary, Alberta

Sometimes I just get so mad about this issue...our system is not perfect but just last week I had a flu shot, a blood test, a visit to my ob/gyn, a visit to the endocrinologist and an electrocardiogram of my baby's heart - all for free. And you know the best part? Anyone living in this country would have access to the same thing - and that just feels right.


Koreyan said...

I wish they would use your story. We need to hear more about the good things happening with health care.

Eileen said...

You are a very lucky person Caroline. Perhaps the province of Alberta is a very lucky province. Health care is just not up to any form of standard here in Ontario. I came from a two tier system in Ireland, one that I was not best pleased about, but believe you me I am wishing I had it back. I CANNOT get a GP here in Canada. As in there is not a single doctor in my area that will see me as they have reached their quotas. If I want a doctor he or she will be an hour's drive away.bIf I am to fall ill I will have to go to an ER and wait and wait and wait. I want to see a doctor for a minor issue right now and it will involve taking a whole day off work to wait in line at a walk in clinic without any guarantee of seeing a doctor or actually being treated.

A friend of mine here did not have the treatment that you are getting during your pregnancy. At one stage she encountered some trauma mid way through her 9 months. Medical staff and hospitals were so ill equipped to deal with her matter they prepped her for an airlift into the United States.

I really wish I had to care you are receiving in Calgary available to me here in Toronto. I have been treated by medical staff in various countries throughout the world and I must say Ontario has demonstrated the weakest ability to tend to its people. Sure the population is high so more doctors are needed. Lots of doctors are graduating from the Canadian system, but lots are heading South to make enough money to payback their debts. It;s time for some sort of a shake up

KneuroKnut said...

I think you're right Eileen - there is a lot of variance. Getting a Doctor here in Calgary is next to impossible as well. I am not convinced however that we can blame that on the system. I think the medical schools have to take some of the blame. Their old-school mentality needs to change and I think they should be opening seats and opening their minds when it comes to medical training. There needs to be a better way to become a doctor in the first place.