Health

* NEWS: Measha vs. Ontario Healthcare

The sparks were flying over an issue that’s near and dear to our heart and an artist we feel the same way about. Libby, with the latest on soprano Measha Brueggergosman and her controversial criticism of our healthcare system.

As reported two weeks ago, the soprano underwent lifesaving heart surgery to repair a tear in her aorta. As you’ll recall Measha was misdiagnosed at the first hospital she was rushed to, and she was sent home.

Thankfully her doctor sent her to another hospital the next day, and she got her operation in the nick of time. But the scare left her with harsh words for our system. She could have died and she says it’s because doctors don’t know or trust their patients.

After the airing of the interview with Measha, some of our listeners took the time to send in their comments, feedback, and outrage.

“I listened with surprise to how people responded to Measha Brueggergosman’s criticism of our healthcare system. I have a lot of sympathy for hospital staff who labour under unenviable conditions. Everyone should expect a professional to do his or her best, but also accept that people make honest mistakes.  I was about to dismiss Measha’s criticism as unreasonably demands on those who tended to her in good faith, and then you read the doctors’ comments on air.

The comments you read were very arrogant and immature. Instead of refuting Measha’s claims, they demonstrated her argument and further embarrassed the doctors who made them.  I could argue that healthcare is essential to our economy and our lifestyle, that our healthcare system was created to uphold those principles, that Canadians share the responsibility of healthcare by paying taxes, and, therefore, doctors have a duty both as compassionate people and as government contractors to serve Canadians to the best of their ability.

Instead, though, I will simply be shocked at how evasive the doctors you quoted were in accepting their failure and advise them, as someone who serves clients, to do their duty and not expect unquestioning gratitude
in response. Doctors, as any professional, should strive to do better.”

—–

 “I do not think anything is perfect and neither is our Health Care System but being a consumer of that system the past four years in particular I really need to comment. First of all, the system is overloaded  I think because of the sheer number of people who are covered most of whom have not lived without universal health care and the balance who had no health care before they entered the country.

Expectations are very high with, in my opinion, people generally have a sense of entitlement that needs to be looked at. I have had  four surgeries in the past five years and have not paid a cent for any of it. I have been well cared for and cared about. From the lowest person on the health care totem pole to the doctors that looked after me. They have all been ready to answer my questions, had time to deal with any anxiety and provide an incredible level of care. I am not a well known personality, rather the usual consumer of health care as most other people are.

I am talking to a group of people including doctors in the U.S. who are trying to reform health care and their stories of what it costs to be looked after there is mind boggling. Most are paying anywhere from $800 to more than $2K per month for insurance and most find out if they have a serious incident they are not covered for all of their care and they lose their insurance coverage if they have an incident and do not report it within 8 hours. The reality is that some are coming out of emergency surgery and are in no shape to remember to make that phone call at which time the insurance company cuts them off and they become responsible for the bill which could be several hundred thousand dollars. I have heard of one woman who knows she has cervical cancer who will not go for treatment because she is afraid that once treatment starts she will not be covered for all she needs and her family will have to make choices about treatment or keeping their home and putting food on the t able.

I think both the provincial governments and the federal government have not necessarily been wise in planning for health care in a growing population and one that is aging.  I do believe we have better health care than anywhere else in the world and I for one am grateful. The only charges I had for excellent treatment was for a semi-private room and that was choice so I was happy to pay.

I have not paid into the system other than through my taxes and while most people complain about a high tax rate they do not recognize that is a price we all must pay for having medicare and other social programs which by the way, we have demanded. I think doctors and hospitals should give an invoice to every user on every visit so that they know exactly how much the system has paid for their care. Then they may fully appreciate what we have and stop griping and blaming doctors etc.

I think what happened to the opera singer has and could happen to anyone. We are consumers and have the right to challenge. I certainly know if there is something going on with me that could have been missed and every time this has happened I sit down with my family doctor and say something like “You know me, you know I know my body fairly well, there is something going on here and I need you to deal with it or facilitate my dealing with it.” At no time have I been ignored. Let’s all be responsible for our health and the health care we need and stop blaming an overloaded system but still the best system in the world.”

—–

“Measha was not, from what I heard, criticizing our healthcare system (as much as it warrants criticism) but the incompetence and indifference of the emergency care at St. Joseph’s.  I’m sure she appreciates the care both of her GP and the physicians and staff of the Toronto General Hospital, whose skill is seldom called into question.

When one’s life is at stake and the first responders have failed so miserably, who would not be critical, but her’ observations are a criticism of St. Joseph’s and its personnel, not of the system in general.

Sadly, many people suffer at the hands of incompetent and poorly-funded facilities.  Fortunately, Meesha survived and her comments should be valued, not deprecated.”

Want to be a part of the discussion? Send in your thoughts to [email protected].

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