Canadian Health Care?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

It all started on our July long holiday weekend (I think it’s your July 4th weekend).  We decided to pack the family up and go camping.  24 hours into the trip my 3 year old gets a fever of 104.7.  We immediately rushed to emergency.  They get her stabilized and run numerous tests.  None of which she likes.  They  find out that she has a severe bladder infection.

Well for 3 years old this is her 5th one in less than a year.  2 weeks later I follow up with my family doctor who in turn sends me to a pediatrician.  We can’t see a “specialist” of any kind without a note from our family practitioner and that’s after documented proof that we’ve tried every other thing first.

Over these next 4 weeks we’ve had to run so many blood and urine tests that the sight of a hospital makes my daughter freak out.  4 weeks later they decide to send her for a VGCU-which is-and remember she is only 3-while she is awake and lying on a bed, they have to insert a catheter in her, insert dye into her bladder and then make her void it out all the while taking x-rays of her bladder.  This procedure lasted over an hour as they missed it the first time.  They couldn’t give her anything to relax her as she had to be able to hold it in her bladder until they told her to void.

It was an experience I DO NOT want to go through again.  Now 2 weeks later we get results.  She has 2 growths on the bottom of her bladder.  They are not solid masses because what is happening is that urine is going in there and sitting and causing constant infection.  So she is on a constant prescription of antibiotics.

Let me tell you, this has been a very long process.  We are now at week 10 and only going for her ultrasound on Oct 20, 2008.  It will be 16-18 weeks in before we even know when surgery will be and they think they will only be able to book her in after Christmas or into the next year.

I’m just stunned at how long it’s going to take.  They keep telling me there are kids worse off.  I do understand that but when it’s your own child you want things dealt with quickly.  I work full time and her being so sick, I am home very often.  She gets a high fever, vomiting, white in color and no appetite or energy.  It’s not fun.  I just do not understand why it takes so long.

Oh yes, now I know, it’s because Manitoba has “free health care!”  Look where it gets us!  I guess sometimes we get what we pay for.   So if you think you want health care like we do, give me a call.  I looked into getting this done in the states and it could have been done anytime I wanted but it cost upwards of $50.000 (minimum) with medical bills only and we would have to pay food and lodging. 

Please don’t ever think we are lucky and everything is free.  Had we had a supplemental plan we may have been slightly better off but the “regular” free, is done by worst case first.

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14 Responses to Canadian Health Care?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  1. SKL says:

    Wow! Sounds like there is a shortage of doctors up there. I wonder why? I appreciate hearing the “other side” of this phenomenon. Certainly there are pros and cons on both sides. But waiting for half a year to deal with something that sounds pretty obnoxious and scary – at the expense of a little girl’s quality of life – is unacceptable in a developed country.

    Health care can be expensive in the US, but most people who have those kinds of issues have insurance that pays for most or all of it. It’s not perfect, don’t get me wrong. But there aren’t that many people who fall through the cracks. Most folks who aren’t insured are young and healthy and usually save a lot of money by not buying insurance.

    There should be more private options, not fewer, for managing health care needs. For example, I always wished I could just buy “stop-loss” insurance – a very high-deductible insurance that is pretty cheap for healthy people – because I hardly ever went to the doctor. My medical expenses have averaged less than $100 per year throughout my adult life. In childhood, my siblings and I were almost never sick, other than the usual stuff that doesn’t require a doctor visit.

    “Poor” folks who don’t have insurance still get care. They just don’t pay for it. If it’s emergency care, they get treated exactly the same way as a rich person with a ton of insurance. If not, they have to go to a clinic and it might not be terribly fun, but from the sound of things, it’s no worse than what happens up north to everyone. And as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. It floors me when I see people protesting because the free health clinic they go to requires a bus ride across town. Only in America!

    One thing I can’t stand is that private US doctors can bill a LOT more to uninsured people, because they have lower negotiated rates for insured people. That practice seems terribly unethical to me and I’d like to see it stop.

    As far as insurance coverage for those who don’t get or don’t want the free stuff, there are a few people out of a hundred who need a better solution. Maybe they are between jobs and can’t afford COBRA, or whatever. We can focus on solutions for this small group of people and leave the well-served people alone. Why throw out the baby with the bathwater?

    My nanny is self-employed and has opened an individual health savings account (HSA). She deposits tax-deductible amounts into the account and can use it for all her health care needs. She has tremendous flexibility in how to spend the money – she even used it to get laser eye surgery. She also has a high-deductible health plan to protect her in case she has an unexpected expense. Despite the fact that she was previously uninsured, has a pre-existing condition, and is nearly 60, her maximum total health care costs are less than 16% of her overall income. And this will go down significantly once she’s been insured for a year. Now, she should be the poster child for health insurance troubles – except that she doesn’t have a problem, she has a solution. I used an insurance specialist to find the right plan for my nanny – and this is something everyone can do. But the media needs to stop spreading un-helpful rhetoric and maybe admit that there are workable solutions out there, so people will be motivated to look into them.

  2. thegoddessanna says:

    After what SKL said, I can’t beat that! I feel ya with the waiting, though. The military health care system is pretty laggy too, and I’ve had to wait months for simple appointments (I once waited three months for a pap, and my BC script ran out and I was SOL). Heck, I can’t even get a knee replacement because I’m too young, and the military doesn’t want to have to pay for it. If we had regular insurance, I could get it, but it’s a beaurocratic nightmare to have two different insurances while being a military dependant, especially because I also have access to the VA. Long, boring story.

    I hope that your little one does not suffer too much, and that when she does get in for surgery, everything is properly fixed. Sounds like hell… I’m keeping you in my thoughts.

  3. nikki says:

    No kidding, SKL always knows what to say!!! She’s the smart one in our group:) I feel so bad for that precious little angel. I know how bad bladder infections hurt and I only get one a year. I can’t imagine being 4 and having 5 in one year!! Keep us updated please!! Give her lots of kisses from all of us:)

  4. SKL says:

    We have lots of smart people in our group – I just usually get the “first word in” because I’m up “working” at midnight. Not very smart, if you think about it!

  5. Laura (LS) says:

    I recently had an experience with our “broken” health care system. My family had been without health insurance for almost two years when my husband was in a near-fatal car wreck.

    He spent about 4 hours, unconscious and wet, in nearly freezing conditions (around 34 degrees during the night). When they found him, he was hypothermic and barely responsive. They took him to our local hospital (which, for our town of 5000, is simply an emergency room and a basic-care hospital – they don’t “do” trauma), where they stabilized him, then airlifted him to the University of Iowa Hospitals. There, he spent a week and a half in Surgical Intensive Care, on a ventilator, a feeding tube, and receiving various procedures to warm and filter his blood when his body couldn’t do it, X-rays, MRI’s, and CAT Scans. After being released from the SICU, he spent another three weeks in In-Patient Physical Rehab, learning to walk again, and learning the first steps in dealing with his new blindness. He continues now with Physical Therapy three days a week, 7 ongoing prescription medications, and multiple follow-up doctor’s appointments. I, myself, have one prescription and see a counselor to deal with the trauma of the event.

    Remember, we had NO health insurance.

    The final bill from our local hospital, the helicopter flight, the ambulance service to our local hospital and our local hospital/doctor bill for that day have come to approximately $200,000.00.

    We have not paid a cent, other than co-pays of $3 for a doctor visit and $1 per prescription. Why? Because I was able to apply for Medicaid, and it was “retroactive” to the first of the month that I applied in. We continue to go forward, with our entire family – not just my injured husband – covered by Medicaid. As our income increases (we have none, at the moment – he was the breadwinner, I was the SAHM, and now I’m trying to generate some freelance writing work), we will still be covered by this “Medically Needy” category of Medicaid, but we will have higher co-pays as we can afford them.

    Our system is flawed. Our system is NOT broken. I am confident that we received the best possible care available – the University of Iowa Hospital had just been rated #1 in the country for Trauma the week before the Wreck. There was never any worry that we would be turned away, that the doctors, nurses, or the hospital would look at us and say, “Oh, he needs this procedure, but you can’t afford it, so he’ll have to die. So sorry. NEXT!!”

    This is why I get so frustrated at the “Healthcare Debate” in our country. So many people hear “Universal Healthcare” and think… FREE!!! But it’s not. All of this care that we have received has already been paid for, in taxes. It’s a good system, at this point. We can (almost) afford the safety net that is in place right now, and that’s the way it should remain – a safety net.

    I am adding your daughter and your family to my list of those I think about throughout the day. It is my hope that she is just fine, and quickly, despite the bureaucracy that seems to be aligned against her.

  6. Joy says:

    I’ll try and be brief and will only tell the “most serious” things I’ve seen. I am half Canadian. I have a lot of relatives up there. My cousin A had to wait 8 years. YES, 8 years to get a hysterectomy. Her youngest son was born with a tear duct that didn’t close so his eye always ran. ALWAY. His poor little face was always wet, runny and dirty from this. He was almost 4 when that surgery was done. Another cousin J had to wait 2 years for surgery on a herniated disk in his back.

    What happens is you need “documented” proof that you’ve been trying to fix these problems. So, if you rush to the emergency room just when your supposed to each time, you may get help faster. But someone who might think “oh, I’ll feel better in a while,” gets put to the back of the line. You have to keep going in all the time and it can’t be to your doctor because they will tell you “when” to come back and if you go back sooner, you get a lecture. You have to go to the emergency room so someone “else” puts this in your file that you had to be rushed in. That happened to Lisa with Emily last month. She was told to come back in “so many weeks” and she developed another high fever so she took her in. The antibiotics weren’t working and the doctor yelled at her and told her she wasn’t supposed to be back yet. So she took Emily to Winnipeg and he told her the same thing though did prescribe something else for her to try. The thing is Em is getting immune now to the antibiotics. She’s been on them her whole life because they have never tested her for anything until Lisa was camping in Ontario. A different province .

    I begged Lisa to write this. She calls me crying over Emily. She feels so helpless and she’s not letting up on this. Some people shrug their shoulders and limp along with all these medical problems because it’s all they know. They try to “drug” everything instead of fixing it until it’s so bad you don’t know what to do.

    In a year of an election. In a year of all this fighting, more times that I can count I hear people say “we need health care like Canada” and I just shudder. You can’t go to a gynecologist or a heart specialist or even like Lisa said, a pediatrician without a GP’s recommendation. It’s just crazy with the way we are used to things. I wanted someone who was going through it to talk about it.

    We need something different with our health care and I’d be the first one to admit that but we do NOT want what Canada has.

  7. mssc54 says:

    Please excuse my frankness, but this just pisses me off!

    I thought health care providors took the hipocratic oath that says “Do no harm.” Isn’t doing no harm actually treating the ailment expeditiously?!

    So sorry for your little girl. 😦

  8. Laura (LS) says:

    the problem is, the Government *doesn’t* take that same Hippocratic Oath. They take no oath except, really, to themselves. So when it comes to healthcare, the primary issue is the bottom line, the second, sometimes the third, issue is actual good care.

    That’s why I wrote that big long tirade up there… To demonstrate that there was never any question of payment, or who has to do what, or what tests can be done now, and which should wait until later. My husband got every ounce of care that he required, and is still receiving it. In a “broken” American system. I shudder to think what would have happened in a “free” Universal System. Because, even though I’m singing it’s praises… I’ve had my problems with the system. Problems that will only be exacerbated if healthcare becomes completely government run.

  9. SKL says:

    I’ll chime in again along the lines of what LS wrote.

    When my Granny had a massive heart attack in her 60s, she was taken to the Cleveland Clinic, one of the best hospitals in the world, and was given the most amazing care. She came out so much better in so many ways. She did not have insurance and did not have to pay one cent.

    My friend was in a car accident when she was 8.5 months pregnant. Three other passengers, including her husband, died instantly of broken necks. She nearly died due to kidney damage among other things, and she lost her baby. She was rescued by the “jaws of life” and life-flighted to the Cleveland Clinic. Her life was saved and she received a tremendous amount of state-of-the-art care. She was able to raise her 5-year-old son. Although she still has some kidney issues, her life is very normal; she is remarried and has two more beautiful children. She had no insurance and did not have to pay a penny for her medical care.

    Would we even have a Cleveland Clinic if we had nationalized health care? Where would people go for state-of-the-art treatment? What would the state of the art be, for that matter? Do we really trust our government to keep us ahead of the game?

    I am sure there are true horror stories in our system. But it’s neither honest nor helpful for politicians to overgeneralize and hype them up and demonize doctors and hospitals just to get votes.

  10. nikki says:

    Joy,I was pretty sure you would speak of A’s problem up there. I still can’t believe what she went through!! I had similar problems and could not begin to imagine waiting that long!! I was scheduled and had my surgery with in a month. Well that was after 4 years of dealing with doctors telling me it was all in my head. But as soon as I got the RIGHT doctor, I was fixed in now time.

  11. Amber says:

    Don’t get me started on Nationalized Healthcare… It SUCKS!

  12. mssc54 says:

    Nationalized Healthcare = Regardles of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability everyone is screwed equally.

    That is unless Senator Obama is elected then it’s all going to CHANGE. 🙂

  13. Joy says:

    LOL mssc54!! Why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel?? LMAO!!!!

  14. Jane says:

    Boy, I could have written this. That’s how close I feel to this subject. From parts of our land, we can see Canada. I would say half of our friends are Canadian and we spend a lot of time there and our friends spend a lot of time here.

    I lost one of my best friends from Ovarian cancer two years ago. She just couldn’t get to see the right doctor. Nobody took her seriously and like Joy said, you have to go to your own doctor until he/she decides to send you somewhere else and if you don’t keep going to an emergency room and let it be on paper that you went, you wait for years. Her doctor over looked her bad cramping as “womanly issues” and just prescribe her Motrin. I can’t go into it because I’m still not over losing her. I will say that the way it is there is horrible. A lot of our friends just pay for it and come down here.

    We may have fractures in our health care but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else and I want a say as to who I get to see. Of course the politicians don’t tell you that.

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