Wait times for health care in Canada

Here is what I have seen in Canada:

  • Minor surgery from emergency room, wait, a few hours; if in treatment, a couple of days; cost, free.
  • Arthroscopic knee surgery: wait, 2 weeks – 5 months; cost, free.
  • Hip replacement: wait, 4 – 6 months; cost, free.
  • MRI and CAT scans: wait, a few hours – 1 day; cost, free.
  • Burn treatment: immediate; cost, free.
  • Double lung transplant with all pre and post treatment: wait, 7 months; cost, free.
  • Colostomy : wait, 2 – 3 weeks; cost, free.
  • Emergency room treatment, triaged by urgency; cost, free.
  • Medical lab tests, blood, urine, occult blood for colon cancer, ECGs, EKGs, etc: if done in hospital, a few hours, cost, free; if your doctor prescribes them, drop into the laboratory of your choice and be served in turn: a few minutes – a couple of hours; cost, free.
  • Annual physical exam, make your appointment and keep it; X-rays or ultrasounds (mammogram, prostate screening–the doctor gives you a prescription: make an appointment – a week or 1 – 2 months later, keep appointment; cost, free).
  • Colonoscopies to check for pre-cancerous polyps: doctor gives you a prescription if age or family history warrant it; you call hospital lab and make appointment; take the prep solution, keep appointment, get scoped, have someone take you home. Cost, free.
  • Blood in the urine: treatment, immediate; cost, free.
  • Spending a year in hospital dying of cancer – waiting time, none; cost, free. Planning visits from a case coordinator about long-term accommodation (that’s what the republicants are calling a death committee).
  • Stroke or heart attack – emergency treatment immediate, surgery scheduled as urgent elective and done within a day or two, physical and occupational therapy in hospital and live-in rehabilitation centres, living skills, more case coordinators, and follow-up visits at home, on schedule. Cost, free.
  • Infected wound: treatment immediate, hospitalization when symptoms warrant, daily house calls from nurse to fill & program antibiotic pump, months of physical therapy almost daily, drop in at hospital. No waiting. Cost, free.
  • Pregnancy & childbirth with all pre-natal and postnatal examinations: Waiting time, none: just make the appointments and show up. Cost, free.
  • All recommended inoculations for childhood diseases: given at school to classes or drop in at doctor; waiting, normally none (if supplies are limited, given to vulnerable age & health groups first); cost free.
  • Adult inoculations for flu or tropical diseases, drop in to clinic or doctor; free – $35 depending on province.

Get the picture?

What’s going to bankrupt the U.S.?

One Australian wingnut suggested that healthcare was the problem; but I’d say it was the actions and policies of G.W. Bush.

$87 billion, with person and car for scale

The $87 billion page shows what the $87 billion dollars asked for by Bush and the $315 billion dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan by mid-2006 would look like if stacked up.

U.S. dollars arrive in Iraq, 2003

And here’s the story of the U.S. under G. W. Bush sending U.S. $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills to Iraqi ministers and the notorious contractors. That’s 362 metric tons or about 400 U.S. tons. The U.S. doesn’t know where it went or who got it. That was in 2003:

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors.

President Obama is not responsible for the 8 years of mismanagement and overspending overseen by Bush, and the $800 billion bailout started by Bush after letting the dogs of Wall Street run mad was probably the only way to prevent a worldwide Great Depression. If anyone has bankrupted the U.S., it was the Republicans and their profiteering hangers-on.

Overheard at Pharyngula

The voluble crowd of commenters threw up this gem:

The only thing which a homeopathic remedy cures is a bulge in the wallet.

Why should life or death depend on income?

Unless you’re bribing your way past Nazi guards…

But it seems that in the U.S. you have to bribe yourself into the health system:  “Why should life or death depend on income?

What causes third-trimester abortions?

graph: reasons for third-trimester abortions

After the murder of abortion provider George Tiller for doing third-trimester abortions, there were a lot of hysterical accusations about the number of abortions he did and the reasons for them. I looked for solid research on the reasons. I read the personal experiences of people who had to face third-trimester abortions. They wanted to have a baby, but genetic or developmental errors intervened. Given the frequency of these defects, Dr. Tiller probably did about a 100 – 200 a year, but that’s just a rough estimate on my part. It’s certain he didn’t do 60,000, which would keep him working feverishly every day for two lifetimes.

The reasons they gave were basically the same as those I found in a research paper from 1999, on second-trimester and third-trimester abortions at one hospital over several years. Only “singletons” were studied, so none of the fetuses were conjoined twins, which is another way that a fetus can be non-viable. About 2/3 were done in the second trimester and 1/3 in the third trimester. The reasons for a third-trimester abortion were:

* In 40%, an earlier test indicated that a defect existed but not how serious it was. Doctors delayed and re-tested to see if the defect was serious enough to be life-threatening. Some genetic conditions can be mild or severe, so to prevent unnecessary abortions the doctors waited.
* In 37%, an earlier test failed to find the serious defects that showed up later.
* In 18%, a diagnosis for this kind of defect can’t be made until the third trimester. This often seems to include anencephaly, a fatal birth defect.
* And in the remaining 5%, doctors or parents delayed the decision to abort. I correlated this with what I’ve read about doctors ordering yet another another test to make sure, waiting for a referral, parents not able to believe the news, having hysterics and going home, and praying for a miracle.

Dommergues M, Benachi A, Benifla JL, des Noëttes R, Dumez Y., British Journal of Obstetrical Gynaecology, 1999 Apr;106(4):297-303. The reasons for termination of pregnancy in the third trimester. PubMed ID: 10426234.

If third-trimester abortions are outlawed, some parents may choose earlier abortions when it’s not certain they are needed.

Some critics mentioned club foot as a reason for abortion. Club foot means that at least one foot is turned in. It is not a reason for abortion, but it is a warning to screen very carefully for other health problems. The same goes for other deformities of the digits or limbs. Club foot is associated with spina bifida and anencephaly and other birth defects, some of them fatal.

One defect that can be missed at the second-trimester scan is anencephaly, in which the brain fails to develop. It is uniformly fatal, often before or during birth.

anencephaly back of head

Anencephaly, view of back of head

Video: “Why do women give McCain a zero?”

The McCain Clinic:

More at http://TheREALMcCain.com/

John McCain’s record on reproductive rights couldn’t be more appalling. There, we said it! We said it because the corporate media won’t confront McCain on the real issues in this election. They won’t tell you, for instance, that McCain has consistently received a big fat zero from NARAL on its pro-choice scorecard. Nor will they tell you that McCain has flip-flopped on Roe v. Wade and now supports overturning this all-too-crucial case.

Because the corporate media has failed to do its job, we have to work extra hard to do ours. And so we’ve created McCain’s Clinic, a sneak peek at what a women’s health clinic could look like if McCain were elected.

We must spread awareness about McCain’s record now, especially considering a recent Planned Parenthood poll found that half of female voters in 16 battleground states don’t know enough about McCain’s views on reproductive health. What’s more, one in four pro-choice McCain supporters would be less likely to vote for McCain after knowing he opposes Roe v. Wade and backs abstinence-only education.

Here’s what you can do: send this video to everyone you know and Digg It! By taking these steps, you can help educate female voters in battleground states about McCain’s anti-choice record.

We’re talking about a man who has voted anti-choice 123 out of 128 times. A man who wouldn’t require prescription coverage for birth control. A man who voted against allocating $100 million to preventative health services that would have reduced unintended and teen pregnancies. A man who could irreparably damage women’s rights in our country unless we get the word out about him now.

Is this supposed to be a serious debate?

Obama Pictures and Sarah Palin Pictures
see more John McCain pictures

You wouldn’t know it from the way John McCain treats it. Women’s health is the issue of abortion: women are ten times more likely to die in childbirth than from legal abortion.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Barack Obama pictures

Measles in the U.S.

From the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, an Editorial Note:

Once ubiquitous, measles now is uncommon in the United States. In the prevaccine era, 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 measles cases occurred every year, resulting in approximately

  • 450 deaths,
  • 28,000 hospitalizations, and
  • 1,000 children with chronic disabilities from measles encephalitis.

Because of successful implementation of measles vaccination programs, fewer than 100 measles cases are now reported annually in the United States and virtually all of those are linked to imported cases, reflecting the incidence of measles globally and travel patterns of U.S. residents and visitors.

Don’t avoid vaccines!

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