Don’t take this personally, Doc…

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

modern-art-1127794_1280 copy Do you remember me telling you the story of my earliest signs of patient empowerment? That story was about the day I decided, at the feisty age of five, to fight back against our family doctor during his house call to our little bungalow on Pleasant Avenue.  My totally out-of-character childhood revolt was launched when I overheard Dr. Zaritsky tell my mother that he’d have to give me a needle to fix what was ailing me – and that he’d have to pull down my pajama bottoms to aim the needle just so into my bare bum. But I was having none of it, as I described here:

“I wept. I screamed. I struggled. I tried to run away from him. I think I may have even punched Dr. Zaritsky right in the stomach – until I finally ended up exhausted, sobbing and humiliated, face-down on the chesterfield, essentially calf-roped into submission by two exasperated adults.

“In hindsight, I’m indeed amazed that I actually somehow found it within my (very sick) little 5-year old spunky self to try to fight off a great big doctor who, in our home, was a man second only to Pope Pius XII in terms of authority and reverence.

To speak or act so disrespectfully to the wonderful Dr. Zaritsky – or to any physician – would have been inexcusably bad behaviour in my family. But meanwhile, in a foreign country far, far away from Pleasant Avenue (i.e. in the United States of America), the stirrings of an even bigger patient revolution were simmering.  Continue reading “Don’t take this personally, Doc…”

Why you should have your heart attack in Canada

As much as I’ve tried so far to keep my nose out of the health care reform circus that’s happening with our dear neighbours to the south, I can’t resist sharing a wee dose of reality from Canada (also known to some Americans as “Commie Pinko Land of Socialized Medicine”).

A piece in the Washington Post reminded me this week that, in other democracies of the developed world, patients are somehow receiving medical care that is not only universal, it’s actually considered better and cheaper than care in America.

In fact, the World Health Organization now ranks the U.S. 37th in the world in terms of quality health care access. American infant mortality rates (an oft-quoted criterion for how well countries are caring for their citizens) are double those of most Western countries. Almost all advanced countries have better national health statistics than the United States does.

The U.S. health care system forces over 700,000 Americans to declare bankruptcy every year.  In France, the number of medical bankruptcies is zero. Britain: zero. Japan: zero. Germany: zero. Canada: zero. Yet I’ve actually read warnings from U.S. health reform opponents that reform will somehow mean a slippery slope towards the ‘horrors of Canadian medicine”. Seriously. Continue reading “Why you should have your heart attack in Canada”