Tag Archives: Surgery

In Alberta, tens of thousands of patients are waiting for surgery

From Global TV (in Regina). (H/T Jojo)


As the Alberta Health Services Board gathers to determine the fate of its CEO, tens of thousands of Albertans are still waiting for surgery while complete operating rooms sit empty.

“I was bed ridden for about three months,” says Michel Gosselin, who needs surgery on his back. “I’ve been in pain for a year and two months.”

Dr. Robert Hollingshead, an orthopaedic surgeon, says patients like Michel often wait upwards of a year once they’re finally booked for surgery. It’s a problem doctors and surgeons in all fields face because of a serious shortage of operating rooms in Alberta.

Despite pleas to the Province, little progress has been made even though a number of new operating rooms have been built, including six operating rooms that were originally used by the Health Resource Centre to perform 1,000 public hip, knee and ankle surgeries a year.

However, the Health Resource Centre is now defunct after AHS ended its relationship with the private surgical facility to in October, forcing it into creditor protection.

[…]…AHS opened the McCaig Tower at the Foothills Hospital, touting that it would offer 23 new operating rooms, 11 of which were already complete.

But one month later, less than 2 have been opened.

“It’s a travesty to open 11 state-of-the-art operating rooms in an almost $560-million facility and then open only 2 of them, and in fact, only run 1.4 – they’ve only staffed it for 1.4,” says Dr. Hollingshead.

Fifteen functional operating rooms sit empty in Calgary alone while the health system is so busy that new surgeons will likely have no place to operate.

Dr. Hollingshead predicts if the situation doesn’t improve Alberta could lose as many as 30 graduating surgeons over the next 5 years.

Singple-payer health care in Canada is not as good as the left wants you to believe.


How well does government-run health care work in Australia?

From the Sydney Morning Herald. (H/T ECM)


Westmead Hospital is cancelling surgery at four times the rate the Health Department considers acceptable, and waiting times are so long some surgeons are refusing to add new patients to their operating lists.

About 8 per cent of elective surgery patients at the flagship Sydney University teaching hospital had their operation cancelled on the day of surgery, due to a shortage of post-surgical beds.

[…]Those cancellations – which Professor Fletcher said affected up to half of patients for some types of surgery – were not formally recorded.

[…]Hospitals in western Sydney have suffered staff freezes and bed cuts due to debts that last year reached $26 million.

This is what happens when you take the profit motive out of health care. If there is no way to make money, then there is no free capital that flows into the industry. If there is no free capital, then the only way to expand is by raises taxes. If taxes are already too high, then the only way to control demand is by using waiting lists. And naturally the people in power will favor the special interest groups who vote for them with faster access to treatment.

How is socialized medicine working out in the UK and Canada?

First, this one from ECM, which appeared in the leftist UK Guardian. (H/T Secondhand Smoke)


Blunders by GPs, hospital doctors and nurses jeopardised the health of thousands of patients when cancer was misdiagnosed or not spotted soon enough, according to an NHS report.

Over a period of a year, doctors failed to spot key signs of cancer, tissue samples were mixed up, some patients were wrongly given an all-clear and vital diagnostic tests were delayed because of staff and equipment shortages, the study, undertaken by the NHS’s National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), found.

[…]When 508 cases were examined in detail, it was found that 177 patients were harmed. Two died, 25 suffered severe harm, 52 moderate harm and 88 low harm. Of a sample of 150 patients, 37% experienced delays of up to three months, 38% of more than three months and some had delays of three years. The government estimates that 10,000 die each year because of late diagnosis of cancer. The UK is poor by international standards at diagnosing cancer, studies have shown.

The post features tons of alarming examples. There’s socialism. When you don’t have your money in your hand, you cannot expect to be treated properly. You need a choice among providers to negotiate the best deal for your dollars.

Next, also from ECM, this one from the UK Telegraph.


The Ambulance service is being paid bonuses for not taking patients to hospital in a bid to help the NHS hit controversial targets.

Patients’ groups expressed horror at the “sick experiment” in which NHS managers have agreed to pay £38 for every casualty that ambulance staff “keep out of Accident and Emergency” (A&E) departments after a 999 call has been made.

The tactic is part of an attempt to manage increasing demand for emergency care amid failings in the GP out-of-hours system.

[…]The bonuses are among dozens of schemes being tried out by ambulance trusts across the country as they attempt to improve their emergency response times and help A&E departments meet controversial targets to treat all patients within four hours of arrival.

Another plan uncovered would see thousands of 999 calls currently classed as urgent downgraded so that callers receive telephone advice instead of an ambulance response.

But we’ll soon surpass them, I’m sure.

But wait! Maybe Canada’s single-payer system is better!

The left-wing Montreal Gazette reports.


Health Minister Yves Bolduc said Friday over-crowding in Quebec’s hospital emergency rooms would be resolved in “four or five years.”

“We have the best health care system in the world,” Bolduc said, while admitting that patients sometimes have to wait for that care.

“All the patients are well treated,” he said.

[…]Quebec still has a shortage of doctors and nurses, he said…

[…]Bolduc announced his newest timetable in response to reports patients are kept for 48 hours and longer in emergency.

As well, relatives are blaming deaths in their families on emergency-room congestion.

From the communist CBC, here’s more:

Guy Morisette, head of the Outaouais health agency, told CBC News that the hospital has worked hard to fix the situation, but recruiting and retaining enough staff remains a problem, and additional solutions such as training personnel and developing new programs are longer-term efforts.

Hospital Average ER Wait Time
Buckingham 20 h 30 min
Gatineau Hospital-Hull campus 20 h 06 min
Gatineau Hospital-Gatineau campus 25 h 36 min
Gatineau-Memorial 17 h 00 min
Maniwaki 10 h 24 min
Pontiac 13 h 12 min
Outaouais average 20 h 42 min
Quebec average 16 h 30 min

Taxing and regulating doctors and treating patients for paper cuts for FREE doesn’t create a shortage of health care at all. Oh, no. And anyway, the politicians just get treated in the USA anyway.

Last, Quebec, Canada’s most liberal province, proposes massive user fees.


Quebeckers are bracing themselves for sweeping increases in taxes, rates and fees after a provincial budget that also proposes a controversial user fee for health-care services.

By proposing a fee for medical appointments, the 2010-11 budget tabled Tuesday represents a shift in how the province addresses spiralling health-care costs, and could trigger a national debate over conflicts with the Canada Health Act.

[…]The user fee would take the form of a deductible that, according to one proposal, would be capped so that total charges do not exceed 1 per cent of a family’s annual income. It would involve charging $25 per medical visit and be paid on a fee-for-service basis. It was estimated under one proposal that a couple with two children making 10 medical visits a year would pay a maximum of $250 annually.

The government of Premier Jean Charest also announced a new health tax to commence in June, 2010, that will be levied on individuals when they file their income taxes. The “health contribution” will cost adults $25 this year and eventually climb to $200 in 2012. Lower-income families will be exempt. When fully implemented, the new tax will generate $945-million a year.

Ontario already has massive income tax rates, property taxes, surtaxes, sales taxes, municipal taxes and health care surcharges of hundreds of dollars a year. It’s not just that they have no freedom of speech, but they die waiting for health care. (This isn’t the Conservative Party’s fault – they don’t have a majority yet to bring in market reforms to lower the cost of health care, and they don’t have a majority of the Senate and not even close to a majority in the Supreme Court).

How Democrats convert political contributions into political favors

Story from the left-wing New York Times. (H/T The J-Walk Blog via ECM)


The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that four New Jersey congressmen and its own former commissioner unduly influenced the process that led to its decision last year to approve a patch for injured knees, an approval it is now revisiting.

The agency’s scientific reviewers repeatedly and unanimously over many years decided that the device, known as Menaflex and manufactured by ReGen Biologics Inc., was unsafe because the device often failed, forcing patients to get another operation.

But after receiving what an F.D.A. report described as “extreme,” “unusual” and persistent pressure from four Democrats from New Jersey – Senators Robert Menendez and Frank R. Lautenberg and Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. and Steven R. Rothman – agency managers overruled the scientists and approved the device for sale in December.

All four legislators made their inquiries within a few months of receiving significant campaign contributions from ReGen, which is based in New Jersey, but all said they had acted appropriately and were not influenced by the money. Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the former drug agency’s commissioner, said he had acted properly.

The only way to get money out of politics is to de-regulate so that government has no influence in the free market. If government doesn’t influence the free market, then businesses would have no reason to give contributions to politicians at all. Republicans are the party of limited government and small businesses, and Democrats are the party of ACORN, unions, lawyers, and Planned Parenthood.


Canada cuts deal with US hospitals to reduce waiting times

UPDATE: Welcome, visitors from Blazing Cat Fur!

Story from the Detroit Free Press. (H/T Health Care BS via ECM)


Hospitals in border cities, including Detroit, are forging lucrative arrangements with Canadian health agencies to provide care not widely available across the border.

Agreements between Detroit hospitals and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for heart, imaging tests, bariatric and other services provide access to some services not immediately available in the province, said ministry spokesman David Jensen.

The agreements show how a country with a national care system — a proposal not part of the health care changes under discussion in Congress — copes with demand for care with U.S. partnerships, rather than building new facilities.

I am not so sure that we should be adopting single-payer health care. Who can we cut a deal with to reduce our waiting list delays?