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Charter Health Crowd

What a disappointing and sobering experience

Donna, Victoria, BC

March 4th, 2014


I didn't think there was much lacking in our health care system until recently. Granted, my husband waited over a year to have his knee diagnosed and to have it repaired surgically, a few years ago (that was AFTER paying for an MRI privately to speed up the process). But when I injured my knee and heard the wait times for an MRI ... let alone to see a specialist... I opted to go privately as well, and pay for the MRI. Then I waited to see a specialist. That only took a few months, but I was told there was nothing to be done surgically. Just had a 61 year old knee and was advised to do a lot of biking, and strengthening exercises.
I felt something else was wrong, and sought a second opinion. Same thing.

Then I sent all the X-rays and MRI to Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver. Dr Day thought he saw a tear in the medial meniscus, and advised a scope. I had the Sx a few weeks later, and as it turns out I had a tear in the medial AND lateral meniscus.

Dr Day did a fabulous job, and my knee is on the mend. What an experience to have efficient and caring nurses, anesthetists, and Doctors!
I think they are doing a first class job, and they are giving Canadians an alternative to "the system".

The sad thing is that we are obliged to go this route to expedite treatment. Our physicians in the system are overloaded with patients, they are stressed and hurried. They can't get the operating theatre time they need, and the cues just lengthen. Perhaps this has something to do with the misdiagnosis in my case. Perhaps they knew there wasn't a hope of having it scoped any time soon, and so are opting for conservative treatment more and more.

What a disappointing and sobering experience. And that's just a common knee problem.

Our son has bulging discs in his back in multiple places and has been on pain meds since before Christmas, has seen one specialist who thought he should have spinal fusion, but then consulted another specialist and they are now considering synthetic discs. BUT he can't get in to see the only surgeon that DOES synthetic discs until July...4 months from now. And then, he may wait ...what...6 months...a year? more? for surgery .

This is just NOT acceptable in our country. Our health care is falling rapidly in the stats of the best performers around the world. It's just appalling. We rank 30th in the world. Certainly a lot of Canadians feel we're doing well... but they haven't needed any care recently in a lot of cases. Ignorance is bliss.

But there's a reason why we are resorting to alternatives... need knee surgery? fly to France. Hip surgery? India is the best bet. Or just fly yourself and your surgeon to the Turks and Caicos and get on with your life!

So where does the money go that should be there to care for us? Bureaucracy and administrators. Unless we rid ourselves of the thousands of bureaucrats that are sapping the funds out of the system...this will only get worse.

Heaven help us.


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Debbie, Kelowna, BC wrote 10 years ago

This situation did not happen over night. Canadians have allowed government to develop a healthcare system that continually offers waitlists instead of healthcare over a period of many years. Slowly waitlists expanded and grew longer and longer; many Canadians oblivious to the situation until it personally affected them. Some say it is to save money but this approach does not only cost our society more in the long run it has allowed a substandard healthcare system to develop. Patients putting their lives on hold while waiting for surgery is only part of the problem. My girlfriend works in a busy emergency department frustrated because patients that need to be admitted often wait days on stretchers waiting for a bed. On the wards in the hospital, hallway patients have been normalized because it is so often on over capacity status. Just the other day I saw a patient in a storage alcove with an IV bag thumbtacked to the wall. Waitlists for acute care, waitlists for chronic care, waitlists for preventive care, waitlists for diagnostics and the list goes on. With all these people waiting one has to wonder how much healthcare is being delivered. In fact the cost of managing the waitlists and the propaganda that is perpetuated to assure us our healthcare system is one of the best in the world usurps even more valuable health care dollars. How much worse can it get?

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