Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oy Canada?

Did Canada's National Healthcare System "kill" Natasha Richardson?
That's the question raised by the New York Post. For the record, let us note that we are truly sorry for her family's loss, and wish to score no "points" from this tragedy. Still, it may be worth examining the premise of the allegations to see if those who advocate that we should adopt such a system are justified.
First, Canada's gummint-run system isn't too keen on high tech health care:
"About three hours after the accident, the actress was taken to Centre Hospitalier Laurentien, in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, 25 miles from the resort ... But Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts is a town of 9,000 people. Its hospital doesn't have specialized neurology or trauma services. It hasn't been reported whether the hospital has a CT scanner, but CT scanners are less common in Canada [than in the US]."
I read some years ago that there were more MRI machines in Ohio than in all of Canada; I don't know whether that's still the case. But a system that relies on government largesse is unlikely to be profligate with "the tech."
And there's this:
"Quebec has no helicopter services to trauma centers in Montreal. Richardson was transferred by ambulance to Hospital du Sacre-Coeur, a trauma center 50 miles away in Montreal -- a further delay of over an hour."
That hour might have been key: after a certain interval, it seems that a less-than-optimal outcome is essentially inevitable. According to the Post, she didn't receive necessary care until some six hours after the incident, which drastically reduced her chances of survival.
For once, though, I'm willing to cut "CanCare" a break: it appears that, immediately following the initial incident, she was conscious and ambulatory, and appeared to be okay. I'm told that this is fairly common with this kind of head trauma (it helps to have a surgeon in the family). Obviously, just appearing to be okay was deceiving, but what else were those on the scene to do? She was a grown woman, not a child, and presumably able to make decisions regarding her own care.
Hard to believe, but I'm going to give Our Neighbors to the North© a pass on this [ed: how noble of you].
blog comments powered by Disqus