150+ Critically ill Canadian patients rushed to U.S.

Well, at least Canadians will oppose the US adopting an even larger role for government in our health care system:

More than 150 critically ill Canadians – many with life-threatening cerebral hemorrhages – have been rushed to the United States since the spring of 2006 because they could not obtain intensive-care beds here.

Before patients with bleeding in or outside the brain have been whisked through U.S. operating-room doors, some have languished for as long as eight hours in Canadian emergency wards while health-care workers scrambled to locate care.

The waits, in some instances, have had devastating consequences.

“There have been very serious health-care problems that have arisen in neurosurgical patients because of the lack of ability to attain timely transport to expert neurosurgical centres in Ontario,” said R. Loch Macdonald, chief of the division of neurosurgery at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Those problems, he said, include “brain injury or brain damage that could have been prevented by earlier treatment.”

Ontario has the worst problem, though it is not alone.



Czechs upset at having to pay less than $2 for a doctor's visit

The Czech healthcare system undergoes a minor revolution on 1 January as patients are asked to pay a small fee each time they visit their doctor.

The move is part of a widespread reform of the health sector unveiled by the centre-right government.

It is far from popular - a number of leading figures are calling on Czechs not to pay up.

Czechs enjoyed free healthcare during four decades of communist rule and in the past 17 years of capitalism.

But from 1 January, Czech patients will be asked to pay 30 crowns (£0.83; 1.1 euros) for each visit to the doctor, and 60 crowns for each day spent in hospital. . . . .

If $1.50 dissuades someone from going to the doctor, you have to wonder how badly they had to go to the doctor. It is pretty obvious that they shouldn't be wasting the doctor's time if they don't value the service at $1.50 or so. Clearly, this $1.50 is much too low.

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Britain travel abroad to avoid long waiting lists and hygiene concerns


British Government Health Insurance System Makes Major Innovations in Dental Care: Dental Patients Pull Out Own Teeth


Children, Doctors, and Guns

I got this email this afternoon:

I agree with the premise of your Op-Ed piece, with one caveat. My children's Pediatrician asked a similar question once when my son in to see her, but it was phrased a different (and I felt appropriate) way. She asked "If you were over at a friend or relative's house and was playing hide and seek and found a gun, what would you do?" I took that to be as innocent as asking if they knew what to do in the event of a fire. My son, who was 9 at the time, answered perfectly by telling her that he wouldn't touch it, he believes it's real, and goes and gets an adult. I didn't have a problem with the question posed in that manner. We have worked with both of our children with gun safety. Ours are locked away (quick handgun access for protection if needed; long guns and other firearms in gun safe). I am not a Texas CHL holder, but will be soon. My children are familiar with firearms and have been shown their destructive power, been to the range, etc., but I can't speak for other kids that may be in my house if I’m not immediately available. My kids need to have a good understanding because I can't control other's access in their homes. It's my responsibility to them.

Here is my response:

My only concern is that even by asking the question there is the implication that these deaths are at all common. In 2004 for children under 10, the age that would encompass your son, there were 28 accidental gun deaths (something that would have been the outcome of the hypothetical example that the doctor gave). If the doctor had gone through similar hypothetical questions for everything else that had 28 or fewer accidental deaths associated it, the doctor would have spent hours on the topic. Why just guns?

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New Op-ed: "Guns Don't Kill Kids, Irresponsible Adults With Guns Do"


Oh No, Health Food Restaurants are Dangerous to your Health!


Racially motivated stress as an explanation for infant mortality rates?

OK, you have differences in "poor nutrition, inadequate prenatal care, teen pregnancy, heredity, high blood pressure, stress, obesity, low birth weights and prematurity," but some academics have a different theory:

"The pregnancy scares the life out of me because I am pregnant with a baby boy, and I know how black boys are treated in this society," one study participant told researchers from Spelman College and Emory University in Atlanta. . . .

Here is my question: how has the gap between black and white infant mortality rates changed over time? The 1950s and 1960s should have had really high relative infant mortality rages, but they weren't. Well, I looked up some numbers:

The infant mortality rate for Black Americans in 1999 was 2.5 times the rate of White Americans. In 1950 the mortality rate of black infants was only 1.5 times the rate of white infants. . . .

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Sometimes Government Insurance Doesn't Really Mean Coverage

Two patients in Canada who couldn't wait for the government insurance program to provide them health care coverage.

Patients suing province over wait times
Man, woman who couldn't get quick treatment travelled to U.S. to get brain tumours removed
Sep 06, 2007 04:30 AM
Tanya Talaga
Health Reporter

. . . Holmes began losing her vision in March 2005, she told a press conference at Queen's Park yesterday. An MRI in May 2005 revealed a tumour in her brain. Her family doctor couldn't expedite appointments booked with specialists for July 19 and Sept. 19, 2005. As the tumour pressed on her optic nerves, her vision deteriorated. Afraid to wait any longer, she went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Within a week she met three specialists and was told she had a fluid-filled sac growing near her pituitary gland at the base of her brain. They urged her to have it taken out immediately. She went home with the hopes of quickly removing what is known as a Rathke's cleft cyst.

Unable to get surgery fast, she returned to Arizona and had the mass removed on Aug. 1, 2005. Her vision was restored in 10 days. The Holmes family is now in debt $95,000 because of medical costs.

"My husband has taken a second full-time job. We've re-mortgaged our home. It has to be known. People can't go through this," said Holmes, a family mediator. "I was very fortunate to save my eyesight but the cost and the battle has been devastating . . . .



South African Health Minister Pushes new Cure for HIV AIDS


Senator John Edwards asks if Cuba has a government health care system?

Is this really serious? It just shows the old saying that telling one lie can lead to many other ones.

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: When an Iowa resident asked former senator John Edwards Thursday whether the United States should follow the Cuban healthcare model, the 2004 vice presidential contender deflected the question by saying he didn't know enough to answer the question.

"I'm going to be honest with you -- I don't know a lot about Cuba's healthcare system," Edwards, D-N.C., said at an event in Oskaloosa, Iowa. "Is it a government-run system?"

But just three days earlier, the candidate was asked a question about the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" -- which focuses extensively on the Cuban healthcare system.

As Willie Nelson's classic "On the Road Again" blared, Edwards leaned out of a window of his campaign bus dubbed "Fighting for One America", to hear an off-camera voice howl, "I wanted to ask ya, is it required that everyone go see "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "Sicko"?

Edwards, in between autographs outside Dan's Pizzeria in Onawa, Iowa, replies, "I watched Sicko," later adding, "It's a great movie."

You can watch the moment captured by C-SPAN and spread to the world on YouTube by clicking here. . . . .



A cure for headaches -- at least it works for some people

John Tierney has the answer here in the middle of this quote:

thanks to psychologists at the University of Texas at Austin, we can at last count the whys. After asking nearly 2,000 people why they’d had sex, the researchers have assembled and categorized a total of 237 reasons — everything from “I wanted to feel closer to God” to “I was drunk.” They even found a few people who claimed to have been motivated by the desire to have a child. . . .

Who knew, for instance, that a headache had any erotic significance except as an excuse for saying no? But some respondents of both sexes explained that they’d had sex “to get rid of a headache.” It’s No. 173 on the list.

Others said they did it to “help me fall asleep,” “make my partner feel powerful,” “burn calories,” “return a favor,” “keep warm,” “hurt an enemy” or “change the topic of conversation.” The lamest may have been, “It seemed like good exercise,” although there is also this: “Someone dared me.” . . . .



England: How Socialized Medicine Saves Money


Bogus study claims medical costs are related to bankruptcy

I had heard about this claim, but I had no idea how bad the research was. This claim has been used to push for socialized medicine.

The study's central findings were that 54½ percent of all bankruptcies have a "medical cause" and 46.2 percent of all bankruptcies have a "major medical cause." . . . . the study classifies uncontrolled gambling, drug or alcohol addiction, and the birth or adoption of a child as "a medical cause." . . . . A father who has gambled away his family's mortgage payment is not the victim of crushing medical bills. Similarly, new parents who find they can no longer afford their previous lifestyle now that one of them has to stay home with the baby will usually find the obstetrician's bill the least of their problems. Babies are a financial hardship even when hospitals give them away free. . . . The authors also classified bankruptcies as having a "major medical cause" if the debtors had more than $1,000 in accumulated, out-of-pocket medical expenses (uncovered by insurance) over the course of the two years prior to the bankruptcy, even if the debtors did not cite illness or injury as among the reasons for their bankruptcy.



Who gets to decide if you get treatment under national health care

iPods for addicts while others go without treatment. That said, it is an interesting test to see if incentives work.

DRUG addicts are to be offered gift vouchers and prizes on the National Health Service under plans by the government’s medicine watchdog to encourage them to stay clean.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will recommend the system of inducements, which could enable clinics to offer televisions and iPods as prizes, to tackle the burgeoning drugs problem. But patients denied drugs for blindness, Alzheimer’s and lung cancer under Nice rationing are likely to accuse it of wasting public money.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: “Why should these people with self-inflicted problems be given priority over people who have a genuine illness? Some people with genuine disease are being forced to sell their homes for the medicines they need.” . . . .

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More rationing of health care in socialized medicine


Apparently Hospital Food in Britain is Much Worse than in Canada

For something amusing see here


Rationing in British Health Care

John Palmer has an interesting discussion of the British Health Care system here. This example surely fits in the save a penny lose a pound school of running medical care. Is it more costly for the patient and the medical system to have taken care of both kidney stones at the same time or to make the patient come in a second time. I particularly like the part of the doctor ripping off the electrodes off John.



Something for those not yet wary of following the latest medical research


New Op-ed FoxNews.com: Moore's Myths Sicko


Walter Reed Veteran Medical Care and Public Provision

When will people make the connection between the problems at Walter Reed for veterans and the lack of incentives that exist in public provision? This isn't a deep point, but I am not seeing it mentioned in the media. The question is whether any of those pushing for a single payer health care system will see the connection.

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