The fact that we have less than 215 doctors per 100,000 people in Canada – one of the lowest in the whole world – and that you must wait in the doctor’s office, walk-in clinic or hospital for hours isn’t an accident. By 2016, this was down to 2.07. * Free medicine in Canada is an illusion. The demand of a free product restricts the supply; medicine is rationed in Canada like bread was in Bolshevik Russia. You could sometimes get it there, but you always had to wait in line, often, for the whole day.
These are some of my subjective experiences with the system. Nine or ten years ago, I came down with a severe body rash. I went to my doctor, who (after waiting two hours to see him) sent me to a dermatologist some miles away. I booked an appointment for the next day. I waited two hours to see the specialist. My condition was diagnosed as scabies, a rash sometimes caused by mites. In treating me with a mathathion solution, he effectively condemned me to weeks of suffering. I ended up at the emergency room at around midnight 48 hours later. My skin was radiant red. You’d be surprised how incredibly unconcerned the staff of the hospital were about it.
Anybody Who’s Spent Time in a Canadian Hospital
Knows How to Define Callous
After five hours in the waiting room – at approximately 5 a.m. – I stopped and asked a doctor who happened by if anyone would be seeing me that night. The anger leapt to his face, and in a moment of frank honesty, he said, “Not a chance. You have to wait for the day shift,” and rushed away. I went home.
The next day after being up the entire night, I was heartbroken to learn my doctor had the day before left for his two month long summer holiday. I visited his partner and anxiously waited a couple hours to see him. His waiting room was in the middle of a pharmacy. This way people could admire my red glow–they also gave me a wide berth. I told him my story. “It’s eczema,” he said, interrupting me. Then it came to me. I had contracted eczema when I was an eight or nine year old boy. “Why didn’t my regular doctor see it?” He could only apologize for his partner and the specialist he had sent me to. He prescribed creme with steroids and the eczema retreated in the following weeks.
Even the Simplest Conditions Stump Them
One day, some years later, I fell and split the skin on my right shin, a cut about three inches in length, but not too deep. However, the bleeding wouldn’t stop, so the next morning, I went to a walk-in clinic. I asked the receptionist before getting in queue, if the doctor would be able to give me stitches. “Of course.” I had my toddler son with me. Two hours later, when he examined the wound, he told me he couldn’t do it and that I’d have to go to the hospital. I went to the nearest one. After an hour in triage, I was put in queue. Five hours later, I was finally able to see a doctor. She put a bandage on my wound. I complained that I had waited all this time for stitches to prevent any scaring. She looked me in the eyes with hostility and explained that I didn’t need stitches, that if I wanted them, I could go back to triage, get back in queue and wait for another doctor.
I Thought of Asking for the Manager
But That’s Ridiculous
No managers exist. No customers exist. Only the “Best Medical System in the World!” I looked at my three year old son, who had been so good for six hours, and realized I could live with a scar, even an unnecessary one. We left. (By 2015, the scar had disappeared.)
A year later, after a spring cold, I developed bronchitis (some of this is my fault as I occassionally smoked before 2013). I lived with it for some weeks, taking long walks in the sun and coughing to clear my lungs, not knowing my ailment. It wouldn’t pass. I made an appointment to see my doctor (a different one than before) and after waiting two hours to see him, he mis-diagnosed my complaint. He slapped me on the back and told me it was congestion and would pass. He prescribed some decongestant. Thirty six hours later, I found myself at an after-hours clinic. After a three hour wait, the doctor examined me and told me I had bronchitis and then prescribed Amoxicillin. It didn’t work and I was sick with bronchitis another ten days. Finally a friend’s doctor agreed to examine me. After a two hour wait to see him, he wrote a prescription for Avelox. Within 48 hours, I was feeling my old self.
That was in 2007; in 2010, I again developed bronchitis. As soon as I felt its onset, I went to a walk-in clinic. I waited over four hours to see the doctor. I brought the empty prescription bottle for Avelox, described my condition and told her I was coming down with bronchitis which I had had before. She insisted I didn’t have bronchitis but that I might be having a heart attack. I was dumbfounded but I remained unintimidated. I begged her to give me the prescription I needed to cure bronchitis. She declined. I offered her $200. She told me it wasn’t about the money. “I wasted four hours,” I complained.
“What about my time?” she replied, as though she wasn’t getting paid. I explained it might take up to 8 hours to see a doctor in a hospital. She said, “Take along a good book.”
“Have you ever heard of the Hippocratic oath?” I returned.
She walked out of the room.
If You Offer Opinions on Your Condition
You’ve Got a Lot of Nerve
I couldn’t sleep that night and only passed out at 4 a.m. exhausted from coughing. At 2 p.m., when I crawled out of bed, I began phoning clinics, asking how their line-ups were. Five calls later, I found one which stated, “We’re not too bad.” I rushed over, breaking every speeding law in the city. I had taken money with me in case I had to bribe the doctor. I told him about my unrelenting cough and that I was certain I had bronchitis. He remarked that my lungs were free of congestion and I wasn’t coughing. I returned that I had been up all night coughing. He looked doubtful. He would, he announced, prescribe a puffer. I told him it wouldn’t work, that I knew what I had and what I needed for a cure. I begged him to take my money and he smiled and said, “It’s your life. If you want Avelox, then so be it. Keep your money.”
He wrote me a prescription for Avelox. By midnight, my cough had cleared. Within 48 hours I was my old self. Not that the doctor who refused to give me Avelox gave a damn whether I lived or died, but she isn’t an exception to the rule in Canada: she is the rule. I remember offering to race her to the pharmacy down the street to prove I wasn’t having a heart attack. If I won she would write a prescription and if she beat me in the race, I’d go to the hospital. She didn’t even crack a smile. I don’t have to race you, she had said. Even though she was some 25 years younger than me, she had metabolic syndrome and probably had 30 pounds of body fat on her. I could have easily trounced her in a race even though she was around 35 years old and I was around 60. In December of 2013, (just before I quit smoking altogether), I went to see a doctor in Downsveiw on Wilson Avenue. He is my current family doctor. I told him I had bronchitis. He insisted that I didn't. He wanted to prescribe cough syrup for my cough. I became defensive and insisted that he prescribe Avelox, a drug that had worked in the past. I knew what I had. He rose in great anger, totally humiliating me with his gestures and tone. Saying that my body-language and my demeanor was disrespectful and that I had interrupted him. He left the room, told me to quit smoking and slammed the door. In fairness to him, he said, 'It was my life', and indeed, he did in the end prescribed Avelox. (I quit smoking that very day). But that's not the point . . . there are no customers left. Doctors don't want your damn opinion. Can't you shut up and and let them experiment on you?
Racing with Patients is Not in Their Job Description
They have power. Show some respect. They are attached at the hip to the state. They have a legal monopoly over their own profession which they exercise in tandem with the government through medical licensing. To practice medicine without one is a felony. They set prices by limiting their numbers. They confine their numbers by increasing the standards for every specialty. Every year of study added to a category raises the cost of education and decreases the numbers in that field. Medical doctors belong to the strongest union in the world, but notice they don’t use that word – it’s tainted. They’re a professional “Association”. They loved drugs and surgery. They hate supplements, chriropractors and everything not pharmaceutical. I want to explain about their association. They are not there for your health. It’s not a calling. It’s a monopoly powered by the government. They are set apart from their patients. They can make you wait for hours. And listen, you ignorant sob of a patient, if you were having a heart attack, they would know. They resent patients who diagnose themselves or even get second opinions. Most of the doctors in Canada are esteemed with a social position that they don’t deserve. They are state certified laborers who hate their jobs and want to halt their exploitation by their patients. If only they could collect their government checks without having to see all those sick people.
They Don’t Need You!
Every Waking Moment,
They Have Waiting Rooms Filled to Capacity
They’re a strong union and their world is a chaotic spectacle of demanding patients who don’t have to pay. Why go the extra distance? They don’t think of us as consumers who are paying the bills. They stopped being a profession in the seventies. They’re slaves to a broken system and they think of us as the abusers of this arrangement which doles out what appears to be a free service. But they love you too, and you are their only concern, however, get in line and shut the hell up – they’re busy. And please, don’t be absurd. If they needed your advice, you would have certainly have heard. Did I mention they have real power? They’re also oblivious to the rationing! There are no clients, only casualties, I mean, patients. If they don’t like you, they’ll send you to a Canadian Hospital to be tortured. Did I point out how political it all is?
Here we are with a complete fiasco in health care. Hospitals in Canada are a concern. Without the medical monopoly granted by the state, there would be no hospitals with their unionized janitors, technicians, receptionists, nurses and doctors. And I mean, not a single one in the whole world not just in Canada. There wouldn’t be armies of hospital staff taking the lion’s share of the public medical coffers. There wouldn’t be these huge monstrosities charging you thousands of dollars a day. It wouldn’t exist. You see a hospital bill these days and realize that it would bankrupt any regular family. You say, “Thank God we have free health care.”
It’s a Fraud
So What Can Be Done About It?
Doctors licensed by private organizations and not the government, would band together and run cooperatives, (sure, let’s call them hospitals). They would be low cost privately run businesses, and there would be plenty of them in competition with one another. If the state de-licensed medicine today, hospitals as we know them would be extinct dinosaurs tomorrow. Doctors would have customers who they would actually have to serve to make a living. There was a time in Canada when doctors came to your home if you were sick. This would happen again. Instead of sick people clustering together in a waiting room, the doctors would go to the sick.
No Country Can Afford to Do That
Don’t use that old platitude about America and the free-market gouging the patient when comparing Canada’s health care to America’s. That doesn’t work anymore. The American Medical Association makes the medical health care system in Canada look like utopia. Of course the AMA is only concerned about peoples’ needs, just like the medical associations in Canada. Doctors everywhere are full of love for humanity. But in America, the AMA’s legal monopoly is not just a lobby, it’s a party platform. It is also an anti-commercial for greed and a vision for cutting-edge technology doled out by the state. However, mostly, it’s a confidence scheme. Without licensing, doctors are not attached to the state. They cannot control the number of doctors coming into the market. They lose their political power but regain their profession and their self-respect
Doctors Do it All for You!
Whatever you do, envision for a moment that if the centuries old mercantilism of medicine and law should end, how refreshing a wind would blow through our collective well-being. If we had the courage to do it, it would be a dream come true. It would of course take a while to work out the wrinkles and allow supply to catch up with demand, but unlike what the doctors predict, we wouldn’t die in the streets attended by charlatans. They have become the charlatans. Maybe we’d have a system where doctors actually practiced medicine as a dedicated profession should. Stop state monopolies from being given out to the professions. It’s unfair, inefficient and costly. The state of medicine in American is directly related to its strongest union, the AMA. This isn’t a call for deregulation, this is a demand for a revolution, for justice. The state must stop granting legal monopoly to doctors and other professionals throughout the whole world. Medicine and health cannot be dished out by the state. They can barely enforce law and order, the one monopoly which they may actually be morally entitled to have.
Socializing medicine in America, Canadian-style, doesn’t get at the problem of over-priced health care. The American version, like the Canadian one, was embedded and furnished by the state centuries ago. The last priority in the medical system in this country or state-side is the patient. Don’t get sick in Canada unless you can afford to cross the border south and pay for real medical care. Don’t get sick in America unless you’re rich. Try to remain healthy, eat right, stay fit and keep your fingers crossed that you don’t come down with something that’s complicated. If you’re a Canadian, save up a medical nest-egg in case you have to travel south to get the treatment you need. There are people all over Canada dying while they wait for their free health care. If you’re American, save a medical nest-egg in case you end up with a serious disease and need hospitalization. There are people all over America dying for lack of funds.
Either way, the root cause to these troubles is the co-relationship between the government and its medical practitioners. Centuries ago they crawled into bed together and gave birth to this modern medical Frankenstein, see Getting Off the Junk and Licensed to Kill. And finally I would like to make a special plea to general practitioners everywhere, please read the books listed below. For the most part, all the science is in. Team up with nutritionists and physical trainers for your patients who need a lifestyle change. If you say to your patients in all earnestness, “Stop Smoking!” you will have done far more good than you will know. We are a Warren & Marshall Syndrome away from a medical consensus of diet and exercise which will lead to a lifestyle revolution in our society and around the world. Be a part of that wave. (The Warren-Marshall syndrome is defined as the time it took from the discovery, 1982, to the medical consensus, 1998-9).
The Primal Blueprint, M Sisson
Wheat Belly, W Davis
Grain Brain, D Perimutter
The Paleo Diet, L Cordain
Salt Sugar Fat, M Moss
Warrior Diet, O Hofmekler
Why We Get Fat, G Taubes
Fat Chance, R H Lustig
The Great American Heart Hoax, M Ozner
Omnivore's Dilemma, M Pollan
The Vitamin D Solution, M Holick
Fast Food Nation, E Schlosser
EPI-Paleo RX, J Kruse
The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, S D Phinny, J S Volek
Death By Food Pyramid, D Minger
Wahl's Protocol, T Wahl
Big Fat Surprise, N Teicholz
* In a comparison of seven wealthy countries (the Commonwealth Fund), ranked Canada second last overall, just before the US. Canada was rated last in effective care, last in timeliness of care, second last behind the US in per capita expenditures (included were, Britain, Australia, Netherlands, United States, New Zealand, Germany and Canada). In a study of 34 OECD countries – 2010 – Canada Ranked 25th (Health Consumer Powerhouse), while holding the sixth highest rate of health expenditures and the fifth highest per capita cost.
© 2017 - E. A. St. Amant