| Sep 28, 2006

Feature Article - September 28, 2006

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Feature Article - September 28, 2006

The Lady, She Rants:Another one bites the dust

Commentary by Janis Lantz

A young woman is rushed into an emergency ward. A shunt needs to be replaced in her head but all of the neurologists are busy. She has to wait. One day passes. Two days pass. Then three days. On the fourth day she dies.

“She was just twenty-three,” her cousin says, holding his head in his hands and fighting back tears. “How could she die for a lousy $100 shunt.”

Her cousin is obviously in shock, grief stricken and angry with frustration. He is a doctor, and so overcome by the situation that he is telling a patient his troubles for a change. With nine years of training, fifteen years of practice, he was at the top of his game at forty-three as a family physician. But there was nothing he could do for his cousin. Who would expect a young woman would die while waiting in an emergency room in one of the richest provinces, in one of the richest nations, in the world?


The doctor has watched as the Ontario government has progressively cut health care services in the province - reducing the number of students who can get into medical school, firing thousands of nurses in one fell swoop, cutting the number of beds in hospitals, etc, etc, etc, and creating a crisis so deep that it would take decades for the system to recover. Of course that is if the government had a will to make the changes.

Ontario has over 1.2 million people who don’t have primary care. As of the end of June it will have another 2,000 more “orphaned” patients because the family physician with the dead cousin has decided to quit.

He doesn’t know what he will do next. He doesn’t know if he will even be practising medicine. Whatever he does, it won’t be in Ontario. With a practice in Kingston, he had a lot of patients in the outlining area of Frontenac County. It goes without saying that no family physicians are accepting new patients in Kingston.

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