Healthcare Incompetence And Emergency Room Waiting - Oh The Pain Of It All
Our health care system has become nothing less than a joke. Anyone who has paid a visit to an emergency department, here in Toronto anyway, can attest to that.
More of my story, opinion and possible rant below....
Health-care spending 'unsustainable': Report Canadians must consider alternatives to status quo, think-tank says Canwest News Service
Soaring costs could force most provinces to spend more than 50 per cent of their revenue on health care by 2036, says a new report, which urges Canadians to consider alternatives to the status quo if they "want a sustainable, high-quality health-care system."
"Over the past 10 years, health-care spending in nine out of 10 provinces has grown at an unsustainable rate," says Brett Skinner, the lead author of the Fraser Institute report. "Unless governments find a better way to finance health care, then provincial governments will likely be looking at tax hikes, further rationing of medical goods and services or ugly tradeoffs with other important spending areas."
According to the study - Paying More, Getting Less - provincial spending on health care is growing faster than revenues with six of 10 provinces projected to disburse more than 50 per cent of all available revenue on health care by 2036.Soaring costs could force most provinces to spend more than 50 per cent of their revenue on health care by 2036. Grant Black/Calgary Herald
Leading the way is New Brunswick which is expected to reach the 50 per cent threshold within 11 years. Manitoba could hit that target within 12 years.
Newfoundland and Labrador will likely reach the 50 per cent point within 17 years, followed by Nova Scotia in 19 years. Saskatchewan could take 25 years to reach the 50 per cent point and Ontario 28 years.
The report recommends several changes to Canada's public health system, such as legalizing the right of patients to pay privately for all types of medical services and permit for-profit and non-profit health providers to compete for the delivery of publicly insured health services.
"Canadians need to consider alternatives to the status quo if we want a sustainable, high-quality health care system. Doing nothing means that Canadians will continue to pay more and get less when it comes to health care," said Skinner.
The report by the right-wing think-tank shows that British Columbia will likely take 31 years to reach the 50 per cent point, followed by P.E.I., 61 years and Quebec, 86 years.
Alberta is the only province where total revenues have grown at a rate comparable to health care spending during the past 10 years.
According to the Fraser Institute the peer-reviewed study uses Statistics Canada data from the past 10 years to project growth trends in government spending on health care versus total revenue.
The Toronto East General Hospital ER - The Place To Go To Wait
Recently my wife had undergone major surgery at the Toronto East General Hospital. The surgery, we were told, went well, and after three days of excellent care by the competent staff of Doctors and Nurses on the fifth floor, she was discharged.
After arriving home my wife did everything she was directed to do in order to have a complete recovery but by the second day she began experiencing extreme pain, high fever, vomiting, bleeding, and was barely able to walk. We immediately decided to go back. This time to the emergency department as this was the case.
I in no way expected what was about to follow.
We arrived at the hospital, acquired a wheelchair and proceeded to the Triage desk where a Nurse took my wife’s temperature, blood pressure and gave her two regular Tylenol for her fever. This would be the last time someone would check on her for seven hours!
Now picture this: A 50 year old woman in excruciating pain with a rising fever of 101F (peaked at 104F) shaking uncontrollably in a wheelchair, fresh out of surgery only five days prior - 22 staples in the stomach and all. Not a pretty sight but apparently not bad enough for immediate attention!
After more than an hour of this nonsense and several attempts to gain the attention of a nurse I managed to have a volunteer help me move my wife to a bed in the hallway as she was so very desperate to lay down. I then finally gained the attention of a Nurse and requested an ice pack so we could try to get the fever down and make her comfortable. After what seemed like pulling teeth and damn near begging, the Nurse finally brought a make-shift ice pack made from a Zip-Loc full of ice wrapped in paper. We only realized it was a Zip-Loc after it leaked all over as the Nurse didn’t feel the need to zip the damn bag! Of course. Lets add to the discomfort!
Now, after seven of the longest hours my wife has ever endured had passed, her name was called. I immediately proceeded towards the nurses desk while requesting a wheelchair since she was unable to walk, and was told, “No no. If she can’t walk she must go over there (pointed to another location across the room) and she will have to wait.”
At this point my patients were running thin and was almost pushed to the max as any sane and compassionate human being would be after watching a loved one be treated worse than a junk-yard dog at an animal shelter.
“Excuse me?” I said. “You listen too me! We’re not waiting any longer! You get her in a goddamn wheelchair and you bring her in to see a doctor! You’ve already called her name and we’re not going anywhere else!”
She said OK and went down the hall - and we waited - and waited. More time passed, then we were approached by another nurse who told me I could bring her in with a wheelchair if I could find one. I couldn’t believe it.
I looked around and said, “Where can I find one?”
She replied, “Look around over there or maybe down the hall by the doors.”
I looked around, found a chair, sat her in it and wheeled her into the ER where it was pretty much the same scenario throughout the night until she was admitted back up to the more competent and caring staff on the fifth floor.
Sign of the times
With signs posted throughout the emergency wing that read, “Respect - Above all we care” and “If your condition changes, please notify the Nurse”, I found the overall lack of compassion rather troubling, along side these slogans promoting false hope.
At one time I did mention my wife’s condition had changed which was greeted with the Nurse walking by as though we didn’t even exist.
During most of this wonderful experience we were treated to a show of absolute foolishness complete with a display of flirting between some of the Nurses staff and the on duty security guards. Swearing and joking as though no others exist. I bet most of you didn’t know there are games as well as the internet on those computers.
At this point in my story you may be thinking, “Awe c’mon Mike, you must be exaggerating. It can’t be that bad.”
Well sadly it most definitely is. Without a doubt. I’m actually finding it hard to put into words it was so bad! Completely disrespectful and absolutely appalling pretty much explains it!
My wife ended up having a 13 day stay before Doctors came to the conclusion that she had a severe infection due to surgery, treated it and sent her home.
Now at home for just under a week she had taken a slight turn for the worse. My wife was in extreme pain here at home and still refused to go to the emergency room for lack of caring. Instead we barely controlled her pain with pain-meds and after seeing the Family Doctor the following day, has decided it’s what he thinks is a virus which was picked up at the hospital.
Now NO ONE should ever have to go through this kind of treatment! NO ONE should ever have to endure that kind of pain in fear being treated worse at the hospital’s emergency room!
I did realize one thing through all this. After watching the ER staff in action, during what seemed to be endless hours, the fact of the matter is the Emergency room staff at the Toronto East General Hospital have grown numb to the situation and simply don’t care. This is very unfortunate and was more-less confirmed by the hospital Manager Denise Bowmer, whom I had the almost useless pleasure of meeting with regards to this unacceptable ordeal.
Denise went on to explain there was a patient who, at the time, was in the ER for four days! Four Days! Can you imagine? How is this acceptable?
Miss Bowmer assured me she would go and “have a word” with the ER staff. I did not hold my breath.
This is just our horror story. There are many, many others that are similar or far worse. We witnessed some and heard of others.
Canadian citizens are over-taxed and under-serviced and should not have to put up with such negligence. In fact our government has consistently raised and are coming up with new ways to add new taxes. We deserve and should demand better!
In his latest economic statement, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said the provincial government won't have as much to spend on health care as it previously expected. As a result, there will be a delay in hiring the 9,000 nurses that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty had promised by 2011.
And now The Conference Board of Canada has released a report that says Canada’s overall health performance has taken a downward spiral from 5th to 10th place in its survey of 16 “advanced” countries.
So the simple questions to ask are, “Where’s all the money going?”
How can our taxes consistently rise while our services drastically decrease?
What can be done to shorten Emergency Room waiting times?
Prioritising which patients get medical attention first by degree of illness or injury coupled with ER staff babysitters. That would be a good start .....