My Life

Canada – Health Care

Is Free Medicine, Good Medicine?

Until this last week I would have strongly defended the benefits of the Canadian Health Care system (versus the horror stories I hear about what occurs south of the border). I think, that’s because, I seldom have to use it.

Before I go further, this will not a criticism of the men and women who are working their asses off — the doctors, nurses, and support staff. Almost everyone we talked to was courteous and helpful. But the systems they use are flawed. Fundamentally.

Maybe more money is what they need. Maybe a complete reorganization is required, I don’t know.

I have only had to use the Emergency Room twice. The first time was for myself, I think I waited four or five hours. I was annoyed, but accepted it. But when my son, a little over a year old, has to wait in the Emergency Room, I get annoyed.

Can’t it be better?

I don’t really understand why after receiving a written letter from our family doctor that we had to then explain our situation to several different people once we arrived at the hospital. That is ineffective and waste of our (and their) time. I was lucky that I was alone just had my one son but I saw mothers with multiple crying children, trying to get one of the kids in because they had injured themselves.

In our situation from the moment my family doctor told me that it was very urgent for my son to get IV-antibiotics immediately, it took four hours before he was actually in a room, with the IV attached to him. I’m certain others have much more horrible stories to tell than this.

Ultimately I just wonder at the multiple layers we had to go through
1. Family doctor with a note saying “Child has cellutitis. Please adminster IV antibiotics”
2. Emergency room wait
3. Emergency room triage
4. Registration wait
5. Registration
6. More emergency room wait
7. Nurse examination
8. Waiting for doctor to arrive
9. Doctor examination
10. Wait for nurse to be available to start IV

Smarter people than me are probably putting their heads together on this.

At the very least some of the steps should managed in a way that is more comfortable, especially to families. Maybe at the registration step (if it can’t be removed/consolidated into the triage phase) you are actually moved to a seperate location if you are a parent with children, not in the middle of emergency where there are drunks puking into buckets, people holding severed limbs in bandages and such?

Would more staff help? Probably.

Anyways its a complicated problem and I have little experience with other situations but I know that when I have health problems I do tend to avoid going in because I always feel I’m more likely to get sicker because of the long wait in emergency.

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.

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