Stray thoughts…

This is a bit of an unusual post for me… I would like to simply put forth a few ‘stray thoughts’ which have been occurring to me, yet none of which is really significant enough for a separate post of its own. I don’t necessarily have a formed opinion on them – answers, if you will – but that does not mean that the thoughts are going away.

If you can add something to them, please, do so – I will welcome any ‘food for thought’!

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In the little clip of the ‘Harper Fox interview’ which I heard this morning, Mr. Harper described Canada as having ‘universal health insurance’. This, of course, is not the same thing as having ‘universal health care’. Is this a signal that things are going to get better in our health care delivery?

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After all, things could not get much worse…

This morning, Ottawa’s ‘Medical Officer of Health’, Dr. Kushman, was interviewed on the radio station CFRA regarding the ‘long waits for MRI’s in Ottawa.  While in the Ottawa region, the average wait for a diagnostic MRI is ‘only’ somewhere around 270 days, at The Ottawa Hospital, this wait is a full 360 days.

This means that if you have a medical problem serious enough for your family doctor or your specialist to requisition an MRI, it will take about a week short of a year for you to actually get one.  This includes the times when your doctor thinks you may have had a stroke, or a malignant tumour – as well as serious injuries to your back, neck or just about any other reason an MRI would be ordered.  The only way to shorten the wait time is – according to my family doctor – to go to the emergency room while experiencing externally visible symptoms (like of a stroke).  And, while the wait times in some emergency rooms in Ottawa are currently as long as 30 hours, this is better than dying on a waiting list.  (This is, of course, assuming that you could survive in the waiting room for that long.  People have been known to die of heart attacks, miscariages and appendicitis while in The Ottawa Hospital emergency waiting rooms.  But, that is not the point here….)

And, getting the test is just first step… about a year ago, I had a test (not MRI) done at The Ottawa Hospital.  It took eight and a half months after the test was done for me (and my doctor) to actually receive any results of the test from them…

My point here is the response Dr. Kushman gave during the interview:  big part of the problem, he said, lies with doctors who just rely on MRI’s as their diagnostic tool (sic!).  He specifically said that for many musculo-skeletal injuries, the treatment consists of time, anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy.  Yet, he lamented, many physicians persist on sending their patients for an MRI to be diagnosed for the type of musculo-skeletal injury they had suffered, thus overloading the system.

His implication was clear – the backlog is caused by the abuse of the system by physicians who send people to be tested ‘frivolously’.  You know, with back problems and whiplash and such…

Now, let me re-iterate what he said:  MANY of the …..injuries….CAN be treated….

The point is clear:  NOT ALL!!!  SOME injuries will be untreatable using the ‘standard’ method – and not treating them properly right away will result in permanent disability.  (Ask any MD – I did!)

Yet, without the diagnostic capability of the MRI, the doctors cannot tell which injuries fall into the ‘many’ category, treatable by the ‘standard’ method, and which are serious enough to require other interventions.

I present to you that while the ‘good’ Dr. Kushman did speak the literal truth (i.e. ‘MANY of the musculo-skeletal injuries are easily treated in the ‘standard’ way’), he implied the opposite of the truth in his conclusion:  instead of commending the MDs who use a diagnostic tool in order to separate the injuries treatable by the ‘standard’ method from the ones that need other, immediate attention, he implied that taking proper medical precautions is, in some way, an abuse of the system … and the direct cause of the backlog in the wait for an MRI!

Frankly, I find his attitude outrageous, offensive – and very dangerous.  To my health – and to that of all us poor souls within his jurisdiction!

How come he was still the ‘Medical Officer of Health’ by the end of the day???

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OK – an unrelated thing…

When America’s President, Mr. Obama, was in Ottawa last week, he had a little chat with our Governor General (GG), Mikael Jean.  The head of the government of the United States of America and the head of the State of Canada speaking together:  very statesman-like, even if they did look like they giggled.

Did not Mr. Obama come out saying he would like to offer help to HAITI???  What?  How about talking about CANADA and the USA?

Can someone please explain THAT one to me?

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And while on the subject of Obama’s visit to Ottawa last week…

The guy had admitted to ‘using’ Cocaine in his youth.  So, now he walks about ‘The Market’ – THE spot in Ottawa for buying drugs – and asks “where does one buy a ‘SNOW-GLOBE’ around here?”!!!  Is the guy nuts (or are these the type of effects past drug users must live with)?

First, I would like to know what his handlers have to say about this, then I’d like to know how come the media is not having a feast with this juicy line!  (OK, perhaps most of the members of the media are suffering through brain damage of their own…most HAVE shopped for ‘snow-globes’ of their own in the past.)

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OK, these are not ‘complete’ and ‘finished’ thoughts in themselves.  But, are these not things to wonder about?