Thursday, 3 September 2009

To our American cousins: This is healthcare in Canada (open thread)

This great vid is getting a lot of play in the Canadian blogosphere.

Invitation to Canadians: tell your healthcare stories -- minor, major, funny, frustrating -- here, and/or at one of the other Canadian sites hoping to inform our southern friends:

Unrepentant Old Hippie

Canadian Cynic

We Move to Vancouver.

This is my boring story that I posted at UOH:
In the hopes that Americans are visiting here, here’s an account of my encounter with the Canadian healthcare system this week.

I got an infected toe (don’t ask). I was treating it — soaking, antibiotic cream. But by Monday, I had to admit it wasn’t getting better. Called doc, asked if I could come in the next day. Yup. Zero wait in waiting room. Doc said I needed systemic antibiotics. Doc pulled out scrip pad. Moi: You got any samples kicking around? Doc: I’ll look. Yup, he did and handed them over.

Upshot — total cost: two transit fares. No waiting. No problemo. Not a bureaucrat in sight.

I wrote about that just because it was so minor and mundane. If I were uninsured in the US, as I surely would be, I'd think twice, thrice, and so on, before spending I-have-no-idea-how-much-dough on a doctor's visit. A minor ailment would become worse, more painful, perhaps dangerous, certainly more expensive to treat, more wasteful of my time and that of a bunch of trained professionals.

When heathcare is accessible and cheap/free, people take better care of themselves. They seek and get timely, cost-effective care.

Canadians live longer than Americans.


ADDED: The Huffington Post has this video. Lots of comments!


Kelseigh said...

I had to see an endocrinologist a few years ago, and I ended up on a 9-month waiting list. Oh, I had the option of going with one who didn't work at the hospital part-time, but this way I got to see the best endoc in the province. Since it was nothing urgent, I was entirely too happy to wait for that sort of quality.

Very nice doctor too, she was great.

croghan27 said...

In 2002 I was diagnosed with a faulty valve in my heart - on a Tuesday.

Friday I was scheduled for replacement. The only charge I got was for an ambulance ride from one hospital to another. $35 that I did not pay.

Bina said...

I've added the video to my own blog, and my own mini-story to boot. I find it remarkable how our system attracts doctors from all over, including the US, because here, it's about medicine, not wallet biopsies!

West End Bob said...

Thanks for the plug, fern hill.

My Canadian health care story is short, also:

Had to be referred to a dermatologist by my family doc here, due to years of living in the South, no doubt. Multiple trips there consisted of a Translink fare - normally the visits were so timely I could return on the same fare. No out-of-pocket costs, no pre-condition denials, and no waiting.

The drivel that is being spewed about on the airwaves of the US is crapola. The MSM is as culpable as the right-wing crazies, IMHO . . . .

fern hill said...

You're welcome, Bob.

And yeah, the media's insatiable lust for the soundbite -- the crazier and angrier the better -- has to wear a lot of the blame for the insanity.

jj said...

Okay! (I didn't want to be Frist)

Cancer: diagnosis to surgery 3 days, surgery to radiation 4 weeks -- and only because I had to wait for the scar to heal -- then 6 weeks of radiation. The whole routine, from discovery of renegade lump to cure, was about 3 months. Cost to me: $7 to rent a TV when I was in the hospital for surgery.

Can't beat that.

Alison said...

Tuesday afternoon Dec. 2007: something's not right...
Tuesday 7pm : visit to my doctor
Tuesday 8pm : emergency evac to Vancouver hospital, blood tests, CAT Scan, morphine.
Wednesday 8am : MRI, diagnosis, free drugs
10 day stay in hospital:
My mate coincidentally in temporary coma in ICU in same hospital and when I was well enough, they wheeled me down and back every day to spend time reading to him.
One night a nurse from another floor on her way back from her break noticed I wasn't asleep at midnight and gave me a bath.
Another day I got weepy about a family issue. Nurse holds my hand; social worker arrives an hour later.
I go home; mate still in coma. Hospital gives me a card so I can commute via ferry to visit mate for free. They call me almost daily with updates on his condition for six weeks. Mate's doctor has his tests delivered to my house regularly.
Mate comes out of coma, everything needed to begin full mental and physical recovery provided.
He comes home. Hospital physio makes ferry journey to my house to make sure we're ok.
One year later he's fully recovered.

Total cost - $100 in ambulance fees.

When I lived in the states for a while five years ago I met a lot of homeless people. Some of them had jobs, others had kids.
The predominant reason for their homelessness was having to sell their home to cover medical costs.

fern hill said...

That's some story, Alison. And brings up a good point -- Canada is a very BIG place. Transportation to get care -- and to visit the sick -- can be very expensive. But in Canada it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter how rich you are, and it doesn't matter where you are. You get the care you need.

Glad to hear that your sweetie is A-OK.

West End Bob said...

Lady Alison had shared some of the mate's medical experience from that period, but the fact that she was also in hospital for some of the time escaped me.

Man, what an ordeal for both of you . . . .

Alison said...

Forgot to mention that was all just on basic
BC Med. I go around testifying for Canadian healthcare now.

Go, JJ! You tell 'em, sistah.

Pale said...

I have been posting a bit at the Big orange satan on this very topic.

My main experiences with the healthcare system have been with pregnancy. Despite the fact that I have 4 kids, none of my pregnancies and deliveries have been easy or simple. Heh. I have almost been a maternal death "statistic" 3 times as a matter of fact.
Our healthcare is humane for the most part.
Any issues I have had have been personality problems with staff which could happen anywhere.

fern hill said...

Yay, Pale, you made it!

jj said...

There's also a massive thread (over 900 comments) at Huffington Post that's full of Canadians defending our system and it's gone viral, it's being tweeted all over the place and sent to all the MSM -- I'd strongly suggest posting in there.

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