Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Doctor, doctor, give me the news...

There is a definite difference in the mindset of Canadians versus Americans concerning health insurance and health care. It can be illustrated by the following:

Before we moved to Canada, we heard of a couple that lived in my in-laws' complex that was visiting Hawaii. The husband had a heart attack and required triple-bypass surgery. The doctors told them that it would cost $40,000 to cover the surgery and the hospital stay. Rather than pay for it out-of-pocket, the couple decided to return to Canada, where they had health insurance, and get the surgery there. They returned, and after waiting the normal six months, had the surgery and recovered nicely.

Please note that this decision was not based on what they could afford. The husband passed away about one year ago, and the wife has made several trips back to Hawaii to visit family since that time. The decision was made because that is what they do here: government health insurance is supposed to take care of this.

Since we have moved, there are three stories that I think are of value concerning health care. To begin, one of the hospitals in Victoria has been having problems having enough rooms for patients. At one point, they were housing patients in the Tim Hortons coffee shop.

The second story involves an elderly lady. She was recently in the hospital in Kelowna for approximately one month.  Within that time frame, she was in four different wards and one of those wards was the maternity ward. (It should be noted that males and females are housed on the same ward.  Private rooms are limited, but are available at extra cost.)

The third story involves expectant mothers who live outside of well populated areas. The hospital in Tofino no longer delivers babies and expectant mothers are expected to drive to Nanaimo, 1 1/2 hours away, to have their babies delivered. This is because of doctor shortage. (To be fair, this is probably the case in a lot of rural areas in the U.S. However, Tofino is  tourist attraction.)

In the eastern part of Tennessee, the hospital situation was completely different.  In Johnson City alone, there are two major hospitals and a new teaching hospital at ETSU. This doesn't even include the medical centers in the Johnson City area. And this does not include the hospitals in Kingsport and Bristol.  Here in Kelowna, we only have one hospital.

We certainly aren't in Tennessee anymore...


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