The horrors of rationed health care in Canada

Globe and Mail:

Inside Sylvia de Vries lurked an enormous tumour and fluid totalling 18 kilograms. But not even that massive weight gain and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer could assure her timely treatment in Canada.

Fighting for her life, the Windsor woman headed to the United States. In Pontiac, Mich., a surgeon excised the tumour - 35 centimetres at its longest - along with her ovaries, appendix, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix. In addition, 13 litres of fluid were drained during that October, 2006, operation.

And there was little time to spare: Had she waited two weeks, she would have faced potential multiorgan failure, rendering her unstable for surgery, according to a letter from Michael L. Hicks, who performed the four-hour operation at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

"Based on my exam and experience as a gynecological oncologist, I felt it necessary to perform surgery within two weeks," said the letter written by Dr. Hicks, provided to Ms. de Vries's lawyer, Kate Sellar.

But a devastating cancer diagnosis was only the beginning of Ms. de Vries's troubles.

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan says it won't pay for the $60,000 cancer treatment because Ms. de Vries did not fill out the correct form seeking preapproval for out-of-country care.

As well, it says no medical documentation was submitted that indicated a delay in obtaining the service in Ontario would result in death or medically significant, irreversible tissue damage.

That administrative misstep has left Ms. de Vries, a 51-year-old corporate communications manager, with a staggering cancer bill. She has drained her savings, maxed out her credit cards, taken out a line of credit and relied on friends to hold a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser, which earned $11,125.

"I feel abandoned; I was fighting for my life," Ms. de Vries said. "... I definitely would like to get some money back but more importantly, I would like to see the situation rectified so [other patients] don't go through this."


Even after Ms. de Vries obtained a CT scan in the U.S. that suggested she had ovarian cancer, she still couldn't get treatment in Ontario. She was referred to a gynecologist who would not take her as a patient because she had dismissed his practice partner some years earlier. Another gynecologist said he did not believe she had ovarian cancer. And a general surgeon said she needed a gynecological oncologist.


Those wily Canadians. They are determined to make her pay for not dying under rationed health care. That paper work gotcha appears to put form over substance. The health care officials now say all is well, but can you really believe them?

Can you trust Democrats to handle your health care any better when you see how they have botched their own nomination process?


  1. What a pile of dog excrement ... you find one example of a flaw in the Canadian healthcare system that is so exceptional it makes headlines and you scream "horror!. You want to about the horrors of rationing healthcare, you should look first in your own backyard. Why do you not mention tens of millions of U.S. citizens with no healthcare coverage at all and many millions more that are underinsured and then there's the millions more that are ineligible because of pre-existing conditions. Americans are subject to the worse kind of healthcare rationing: that which is imposed by an economic system that disenfranchises the most vulnerable among you, and on top of that the rationing dictated by profit-oriented insurance companies. The Canadian system is far from perfect ... but at least we get to vote on it every four or five years and we can and do hold our elected officials accountable for it's effectiveness. But at least our system starts with one fundamental precept that is the hallmark of virtually every civilized society in the 21st century ... and that is that basic healthcare is a right. And until Americans decide that they deserve this right, there is no real valid comparison to be made between the two systems - they have different objectives and different philosophical basis.

    In the meantime I will continue to consider the results first ... and when the American system begins to deliver healthy citizens approaching those of Canada, perhaps then I'll "see the light."

    Feel free to misrepresent the Clinton or Obama proposal if you wish ... but get your facts straight when you decide to slag a system that is supported by a whole nation.

  2. Your opening line regarding dog excrement is very revealing and completley inappropriate for such a very important subject. You ask a "Why do you not mention tens of millions of U.S. citizens with no healthcare coverage at all and many millions more that are underinsured and then there's the millions more that are ineligible because of pre-existing conditions?"
    First, your numbers are completely inaccurate, Tens of millions of americans and Non-Americans- even non citizens, regardless of income or pre-existing conditions qualify for care under Medicare and Medicaid. I know this because a family member whose insurance has expired continued to get the same great care while coverd by Medicaid as with her private insurance. If only Mrs. DeVries were an American citizen or illegal, she would be in much better shape. Thank God we live in a country - as Mrs. Devries now knows- and can receive such great care!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Should Republicans go ahead and add Supreme Court Justices to head off Democrats

Where did Uvalde shooter get the money to buy the weapons and ammo?