Medicare “smiles” at us with… his rotten teeth

It was once the pride of all Canadians! “Our health system is unparallelled,” we boasted when we went abroad. If anything, apart from his peace-loving reputation, Canada considered Medicare, the diamond of its crown.

How times have changed…

Endless hours of waiting (now) to see a doctor in the emergency room, irritation, reduced and exhausted health staff, elderly people who leave their last breath on a ranch abandoned, after investing all their lives with their taxes in this broken system.

Of course, we continue to pay the same unaffordable taxes, while the few private health options are out of reach. Do you want a doctor to come to your house? Shut up $350 and wait a couple of days. Did you fall on a weekend? It is better to light a lamp and start praying that the grace will not take you.

Recently, a friend of mine Tony (withholding his real name for obvious reasons) could not wait any longer and decided to go to a private clinic for arthroplasty surgery.

He had already waited a year to see an orthopedist, when in Europe you pick up the phone, call the doctor on his mobile phone and with 80 euros he comes home. Our story begins with an operation that cost her family nearly $32,000, a significant financial burden for a middle-class family. They decided on this operation with many expectations, trusting the expertise of doctors and nurses and the support of our health system. Little did they know that the real challenges would begin after surgery.

Upon returning home, it became apparent that more recovery was needed, ideally in a clinical setting with the expertise of nurses and physiotherapists. Unfortunately, after a day in the private clinic, Tony was sent home and his family did not have the necessary means to cope with the crucial first week of rehabilitation. The physical, emotional and financial burden was enormous. Postoperative care is incomplete. Apart from a few phone calls and emails, the family was left alone to deal with the situation when the money had been paid. The local CLSC contributed to the care, but their resources were limited and the family was always expected to play the role of doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, psychologist, etc.

For years now we all know that our health system, faces serious challenges. The lack of financial support from the state for the elderly, a demographic group that has contributed to the health system throughout their lives, is disappointing. It leaves them without the necessary help during their difficult times.

In contrast to the broken health system in Quebec, in Europe supposedly… all citizens are entitled to fast hospital care. A call to SOS DOCTORS and in 1-2 hours comes to your home not just a pathologist, but also specialized doctors. There are currently no portable X-ray machines in Quebec – and next to Ottawa.

It is inconceivable in Europe not to have your doctor’s mobile phone. Most doctors in Europe who advertise their practices always have their personal mobile phone written in the advertisement. Here in Quebec, of course, this is science fiction. Not only can you can’t find a doctor to talk to, but even Info-Santé’s automated line takes a long time to put you in touch with a nurse.

As citizens the government health authorities encourages not to go to the emergency rooms where, depending of the hospital, you wait 12 to 38 hours to be seen by a doctor. They tell us in other words (in free humorous translation by me) that… If you don’t die, please don’t go to the emergency room because we’re full! Take info Santé, talk to your psychologist, the neighbourhood tarot reader, and no prayer hurts.

In a society where everyone works for a living, our health system fails to adequately support. Despite the recent Trudeau-Legault agreement on large financial support for Quebec medicare, I doubt we will see that money pay off and services improve. I wish from the bottom of my heart to come out as a liar.

This situation reflects poorly on our society and our government, which seems to neglect those who are most vulnerable – our elderly and sick. It is a stain on our conscience, a reminder that we must do more to support those who have given so much to our country.

Dimitris Ilias