Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Request for Clarification

Below in italics is an email I sent to Legal Aid Ontario. I spent three days reading the Ipperwash Commission testimony of Dr. Elaine Todres, the former Deputy Solicitor General during the Ipperwash crisis when Dudley George was shot. I'll post a response if I get one.

(I'm hoping someone in the media is reading this. Bty catch the movie 'One Dead Indian' airing on CTV in January 2006. The book by Peter Edwards was good, and the movie should reflect it. I've actually spoken to Mr. Edwards. He's a very personable guy and while I was at it, asked for advice on how to go about writing a book on a particular subject. He suggested humour but I think I lack the craft of humourous writing on serious issues)

Anyway, reading the transcipts was more exciting than anything on television and I would recommend reading some of her testimony, but in particular, near the end when Julian Falconer, counsel for Native Legal Services of Toronto is cross-examining her.

It's quite obvious that the woman did not have the expertise to being a Deputy Minister in charge of police services.

She didn't read half the stuff that was necessary to understand the importance of her position. Mr. Falconer asked her to read a passage about the role of Parliament and she thought Parliament meant the federal parliament. When asking her about her opinion of Chris Hodgson, she commented he was "unseasoned". When he asked her if she would consider herself "unseasoned" (as I would after reading her sophistry) she wouldn't have thought of herself that way...

December 27, 2005

Financial/Accounts Services
Legal Aid Ontario
425 Adelaide Street West, 4th Floor
Toronto, ON M5V 3C1

RE: Todres Leadership Council & 2001-2002 Legal Aid Retreat

To Whom It May Concern:

Having read through the transcripts of Ms. Todres testimony at the Ipperwash Inquiry, it was documented on page 154 to 157 that Ms. Todres did work for Legal Aid at the request of the Chair, Sidney B. Linden, who is also the Commissioner of the Inquiry.

I also note that W.A. Derry Millar and Harvey T. Strosberg sit on the Board and are representing various individuals at the inquiry - not that this has anything to do with my next request.

The Auditor of Ontario released his 2005 Report. On page 282 in Chapter 3 Section 3.14 entitled Temporary Services - it documents points out concerns that the auditor had regarding the hiring of temporary services. Included in the definition of temporary services the government used was consultants - which appeared was not an acceptable practice with respect to the audit. Here is the

The competition rules were also not followed in this regard as the government's acquisition process did not follow policy. As noted on page 281 under the heading Competitive Acquisition it notes the AoO found that "regardless of the amount, no competitive process was used for engagement of temporary services".

Payments of more than $100,000 were undertaken without competition, those less than $100,00 but greater than $25,000 were done without vendor submissions, bids or proposals and those under $25, 000 were sole-sourced without receiving quotes from other vendors.

On page 282 under the heading Potential Conflicts of Interest the rules stated that procurement documentation define potential conflicts of interest or potential conflicts of interest to be declared by vendors. The audit found that the Ministries did not require written proposals or sign contracts so the ministries could not provide any evidence that the vendors they hired were not in a conflict of interest.

It goes on to say that one vendor, a former employee in the human resources department of the Management Board Secretariat earned $10.5 million - $4 million of it from the MBS. It was assumed former government employees owned the businesses but they were not checked.

I attempted to find Ms. Todres business website, but couldn't - perhaps that's a server problem.

My questions are:

1) Were Ms. Todres services under $25,000, between $25000 and $100,000 or over $100,000?
2) Were the procurement procedures observed in either of those categories before Legal Aid hired her i.e. written submissions or open competition? (I'm assuming she owns her company)
3) Was there a contract signed?
4) Has Ms. Todres documented any actual or potential conflicts of interest?

My obvious concern is, respectfully, (as was brought up in part of the transcript), if Mr. Linden is going to be making decisions on the appearance of, or the actuality of political interference, would it not appear that there is already a conflict of interest with his being Commissioner of the Inquiry and Ms. Todres specifically hired at the 'behest' of or mandated by himself and Ms. Longo, giving the appearance of a conflict of interest?

The last two concerns are two other reports. One the 2001 and 2003 Auditor's report that $100 million is still not accounted for in the Legal Aid collections account and the other is the January 2003 C.E.D.A.W review.

Can the Accounts department answer the first two concerns regarding the audits and perhaps someone who is familiar with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (it's an international treaty)respond?

I am wondering if the draft review was brought up with the Board since it specifically mentions Legal Aid on page 6
items 30, 31 and 32


Habamus Rodentum
(I didn't really sign it this way...)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Of Christmas' Past

I was going through the old birthday and Christmas cards I saved from my son as he was growing up. In their folds I found a letter to Santa Claus that he dictated to me while I typed. This brought up memories of Christmas’ past. Those most joyous are those of my childhood

As I read my son’s letter asking Santa to see Rudolph at Christmas, “so that he could play with my toys with him and I will share with him because he doesn’t have any arms”, it reminded me of my own infatuation with the red-nosed reindeer.

Up to their old tricks, my sisters told me that the red light on top of the radio tower in distance outside our upstairs window was really Rudolph. I stared in amazement and wondered why he wasn’t moving.

These timeless stories are brought up at every Christmas dinner as we sit around and tease each other either for the precocious antics of my older brother and sisters or the precious naivete of my younger brother and I.

One such story is when the older kids, after watching my father turn the clock back so my parents could get extra sleep, they stealthily crept back into the dark and moved the clock forward, not only the hour my father set it back to, but added a couple extra for good measure.

Or on another Christmas, while my parents snoozed, they snuck into the living room, pitch black and grasping around grabbed whatever package under the tree they could, then ran into the bathroom opening it to see if was one of theirs. (They never did say what they did with it if it wasn’t theirs).

Finally, my father catching on to their naughtiness, slept on the couch one Christmas, waiting for them to descend the stairs. When they arrived on cue the kids started to feel around in the dark by pawing the couch to get their bearings. The oldest realized that it wasn’t the couch or a present she was blindly touching, but my father’s face and nose.

Startled and gasping, all three ran upstairs giggling leaving my father laughing at himself for having nipped their impatient Christmas enthusiasm in the bud.

What my younger brother and I lacked in cleverness we made up for in gullibility.

In a staged visit in cahoots with Santa, neighbours and siblings, my father had taken us upstairs one Christmas eve to watch television on the black & white (we never watched t.v upstairs, but my brother and I didn’t clue in).

Suddenly, we heard loud thuds on the roof. Of course it caught our attention and my little brother asked my father what it was. We decided we would go downstairs to investigate. And, as we turned the corner into the living room, sat Santa on the couch.

My sister says she’ll never forget the expression on my little brother’s face as he exclaimed with excitement “Oh Santa!” We got to sit on his lap and tell him what we wanted.

For my brother it was a Whirly-Bird and I wanted a tea set to go with my new table and chairs I had gotten for my 5th birthday (the chairs, broken years later by the older ones as they sat on them playing euchre).

To our incredulity, not only did Santa pull out of his bag exactly what we wanted; he knew who our friends were and called them by name. We were flabbergasted!

Shortly after my brother lost his attention with his new automated toy helicopter he asked Santa to see his reindeer. When Santa replied they were out on the lawn we went immediately to the door to look.

We looked but couldn’t see anything. All we saw was the rain pounding and ricocheting off the road. We told Santa we couldn’t see them, but he told us to look harder. Then, my brother saw them first. Then me, agreeing that I saw them but knowing I didn’t. Not wanting to disappoint Santa, we told him we saw them. We believed we saw reindeer because we were mesmerized at the experience that Santa knew exactly what we wanted and who our friends were.

It wasn’t until years later we found out that Santa was our best friend’s uncle, who had dressed up as Santa to pay a visit to all of the kids we hung around with in the neighborhood. We were looking so hard for the reindeer we didn’t see his car parked in the driveway.

As for the noise on the roof, it was the three older siblings throwing rocks to make it sound like the reindeer had landed and my father had taken us upstairs to watch television so we would hear it.

I couldn’t think of nicer memories of Christmas’s past than those as a child

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Whistleblower Protection for U.S. Doctors

Bulletin from AHRP - This decision will be important for Canadian doctors although it'll take 10 years before we get whistleblower protection here.



Dershowitz Authors Brief for Review of Secret Hospital Abuse of Power

Washington, D.C. -- In an extraordinary collaboration of parties more likely to be adversaries in a courtroom, doctors and trial lawyers have teamed with famed attorney Alan Dershowitz to urge the Supreme Court to consider a case that would protect physician whistleblowers and expose secret hospital abuses of power.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) has been joined by the Association of Trial Lawyers in America (ATLA) in filing a “friend of the court” brief asking that the Supreme Court hear the case of Gil Mileikowsky, M.D. of California, who was ousted from a hospital after agreeing to testify on behalf of a patient against the facility, owned by industry giant Tenet Healthsystem.

Also adding to the “odd couple” element of the case is that the attorney who filed the original petition for review for Dr. Mileikowsky is Andrew Schlafly. “I’m thrilled that Mr. Dershowitz is bringing his immense legal skills to shed some light on this abuse of power by hospitals,” said Mr. Schlafly. “I’m also glad that my fellow attorneys in ATLA are willing expose these secret proceedings that rob patients of their most effective advocates through ‘sham’ peer review.”

Other parties joining AAPS in the amicus brief authored by Professor Alan M. Dershowitz, Amy Adelson and Nathan Z. Dershowitz are: the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), the Semmelweis Society, the Consumer Attorneys of California (COAC), and the Government Accountability Project (GAP).

Mr. Dershowitz’s office released the following statement: “…Physicians who are entrusted with the care of their patients can see their professional careers destroyed if they dare to challenge a hospital’s practices. When a ‘whistleblowing’ physician is retaliated against, it threatens not only the physician’s livelihood, but the care of all patients. This is a case, therefore, that affects every patient and potential patient in America.”

“This case epitomizes why doctors are afraid to report medical errors and problems,” said Larry Huntoon, M.D., chairman of the AAPS Committee to Combat Sham Peer Review. “To bury their own mistakes, hospitals label doctors as ‘disruptive’ and file trumped-up charges of wrongdoing. Then they count on the ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ perception to make the doctor the scapegoat.”

And it’s usually the most vocal critics and patient advocates who are thrown on the fire. “[Dr. Mileikowsky] was an outspoken member of the staff and was disliked by some administrators for that reason, as he did not shirk his responsibility to publicize administrative shortcomings at the Hospital that undermined patient care,” states the doctor’s petition to the Supreme Court.

Writing in the brief filed late Monday, Mr. Dershowitz et al. point out that an accused felon would have had more right to due process than do doctors: “Doctors, like the petitioner in this case, are required to defend themselves without counsel against charges that, as in this case, have been brought in retaliation for the doctor’s support of a patient claiming inadequate care.”

The brief explains the implications on patient safety:
The American public, as medical patients, will be the biggest loser if physicians are compelled to choose between their own livelihoods and speaking out when they witness dangerous or inadequate medical care. Few physicians will risk the dire consequences of a bad faith peer review to speak up on behalf of a single patient, and a critical prong in the checks and balances integral to a successful health care program will be silenced.”

“I’m extremely grateful to AAPS,” said Dr. Mileikowsky. “It is the only national medical organization that has the courage to fight for physician whistleblowers who stand up for patient safety.”

Concluded Dr. Huntoon: “The game is over for these hospitals and their secret star-chamber hearings. Standing up for patients should not mean the end of a career.”

Mileikowsky v. Tenet Healthsystem et al.
128 Cal. App. 4th 531 (2nd App. Dist. 2005)
In 2000, Dr. Mileikowsky agreed to testify as an expert witness in a case against Tenet after both fallopian tubes of a patient were removed without her consent. Four days later, Tenet retaliated by requiring that security escort the doctor while on the premises. Dr. Mileikowsky subsequently provided the FBI healthcare fraud division with evidence of the loss and mishandling of embryos, eggs and sperms in the in-vitro fertilization laboratory at Tenet’s facility. He was summarily suspended without cause three days later, under allegations of “imminent danger.” There had been no previous actions against him.

When Dr. Mileikowsky attempted to appeal his case to the hospital board, he was denied legal representation, and then was denied due process when the hearings were terminated by the hospital. He has yet been unable to get a hearing to reinstate his privileges to this date.

Dr. Mileikowsky sued Tenet, but lost when the California court assumed that the state could maintain its "opt out" status with respect to the 1986 Health Care Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA) which requires that a physician be represented by counsel. However, in 1989, Congress deleted the opt-out provision from the statute.

Additional information:
Text of amicus brief, Petition for Writ of Certiorari, news clips:
CONTACT: Kathryn Serkes
(202) 333-3855

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Hot off the Press! (well not exactly...)

These linked stories aren't new but now is the perfect opportunity to read some of The Hamilton Spectator’s expertly investigated and sensitively written series on line.

They will be free for only a limited time while The Spec is updating their website to accommodate the 21st century and us in the blogosphere. (Finally, I can keep up with what is happening here when I’m away)

One article that I wished I had been able to link to but couldn’t is ‘Canada’s Culture of Secrecy’.

Start by reading Kevin Cavanaugh’s editorial on this subject. I have to say, Kevin is by far one of my favorite editors at the Spec but then again; there hasn’t been any one editorial that I haven’t agreed with fully or in part.

Then read Ian MacLeod’s piece on government cunning subverting access laws.

The meaty stuff is the full story by Robert Cribb and Fred Vallance-Jones. Their piece includes charts, maps and describes how the access to information audit was accomplished across Canada.

If you haven’t caught similar articles in your own regional publications, since it was coordinated nationwide, I think you’ll be glad you read these.

It couldn’t have been more exciting for me as a reader to know that newspaper editors and writers across Canada have made the journey possible for Canadians and have put our frustrations into factual commentary, cemented the ‘unknown’ into the ‘known’.

The words of these newspaper journalists have blown life into what many of them themselves have butted up against and what most of us already experienced living this frustration of our governments - yet had nothing to back us up.

Now, while your perusing The Spec’s website, it is my recommendation to read the series on these two stories:

Blind Faith is an incredible investigation by three Spec reporters, who engaged in months long, detailed research into the financial inter-twinement of big pharamceutical companies and university health research departments.

I have referred to this series in past posts to this blog.

The Randy Mogridge Story is heart wrenching and another one that I have referred to, except with a Habamus twist, which in my blog post, will refer you back to the Secrecy series.

A forewarning, before reading this one. I have to let you know that it is going to be difficult to stomach without anger when you learn what has happened to Randy before he died, but I recommend it no matter what.

This is a story that needs to be turned into a movie and do what the likes of A Civil Action or Erin Brokovitch, did for the environment as I hope Randy's would do for mental heatlh consumers.

I don’t know if any of our Canadian producers could give it the necessary effort that has similar effects of American movie bravado, but in any case THIS is one story that needs to be told, over and over and over again, until somebody “gets it”. (CTV are you out there?)

So there you go, Habamus says: "Don’t miss out on excellent Hamilton journalism it’s some of the best in Canada!"

High-Risk Stock Stolen or Missing from MTO Offices

I am personally very pleased with this auditor’s report.

In the fall of 2000 I was hit and run in London Ontario by a stolen vehicle with plates that were apparently returned to the MTO office in Mississauga. I believed that the plates had been stolen from the MTO office there (amongst other concerns).

None of the police officers at the municipality level or the O.P.P detachment I spoke to took me seriously. As a matter of fact, some were aggressive and the LPS never did follow up with me.

This audit was a complete surprise to me but vindicates a letter I had sent in April 2004 to the Ministry of Transportation, whose Head of the Licensing Administration Office, Barbara Breen, took me seriously and forwarded it to their Internal Audit Services Branch.

I wrote to her to tell her it was my intention to send my complaint to the Chief of the London Police Services and the Solicitor General. But since I didn’t have faith or trust in them, I didn’t bother. Now, I’m more than happy to.
Here’s a low down on the MTO’s audit:

The auditor of Ontario has found in its recent audit of the Ministry of Transportation’s Private Issuing Network that 56,000 high risk stock items such as license plates, stickers, temporary driver’s licenses and permits have been reported missing or stolen.

Section 3.05 of the Driver and Vehicle Private Issuing Network audit the Auditor reports that there have been incidents of misuse of customer credit card information as well as fraudulent driver’s licenses being created by altering existing driver’s license photos, dates of birth, names and addresses.

It also found that the Ministry was to audit these PIN offices but the rate dropped to almost no audits from 159 full audits in 2001 down to 1 full audit in 2003.

(Incidentally, the Minister of Transportation at the time was Progressive Conservative Brad Clark from StoneyCreek. It would figure a Hamilton politician was in charge when all this criminal activity was taking place)

60 offices representing approximately 20% of the PIN and collecting approximately $150 million in revenue annually have not been subject to any type of audit for 3 years or more.

7 of the PIN offices were never audited.

Problems within the Ministry’s PIN monitoring offices are having difficulty coordinating their efforts to conduct these audits. In particular, that the Microfilm and Records Unit provides up to 75% of the documents needed to perform an audit.

The Auditor found that it took over 11 months to get the documents the Ministry’s Performance Management Office needed to conduct their audits.

Another factor for the audits not taking place was because of a March 2002 Ontario Public Service Employees labour disruption that lasted for almost 3 months. Once the labour dispute was over it took over a year and a half to enter in manually processed licensing transactions.

Those transactions were not entered in sequence resulting in 240,000 errors, which took more time to resolve, which took away audit resources to finish the task.

The A also found that PIN staffs were sharing system passwords – prohibited by ministry policy – and that staffs were manipulating the system to produce false records.

In July 2004 a PIN employee fraudulently charged $2000 on customer credit cards and could not be identified because of the use of shared passwords.

In January of 2004, another PIN employee was caught changing the photos, dates of birth, names and addresses on current driver’s licenses. Bogus transactions were entered into the Licensing and Control System, and outside parties were mailed fraudulent licenses incorporating the altered data.

In February of 2004 two more cases of fraudulent licenses created at the same office came to the attention of ministry staff and charges have been laid.

The Ministry concluded after analysis that it was easy for staff to manipulate the current system to produce such false documents.

(Boy, wouldn’t our American cousins love to know that organized crime groups are providing themselves with false identification!)

47,000 high-risk stock items were reported missing and over 7,000 have been reported stolen.

70% of the missing stock was from 6 offices and 75% of the stolen stock was from another 3 offices.

The A notes that the missing stock could be used for fraudulent or illegal purposes.

The PIN offices are required to deposit funds to the province’s account when they have accumulated $15,000 in cash.

The Ministry matches bank deposits to business transactions recorded in the Licensing and Control System through an automated process. The Ministry resolves unmatched items by making bank inquiries, review of the LaCS or review of supporting documents or audits.

The A found 750 unmatched deposit items in the last 4 years totaling the amount of $2.7 million from offices that are no longer open. A also noted that “special handling” transactions that have a particular commission given to the PIN offices.

In 2003/04 the PIN offices collected $59.7 million in revenue and charged the Ministry $965,000 in commissions.

A tested 33% of the PIN offices. The A found the PIN had not charged the correct commission and in most of the cases, charged a higher commission than was earned.

The A also found that the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council certificates and dealer authorization letters were not current.

If the PIN had current certificates it would prevent fraudulent transfers by individuals who misrepresent themselves as motor vehicle dealers and avoid the retail sales tax payments.

Section 3.06 of the Driver Licensing Audit, (besides having some great comparison charts and statistics with other provinces and countries) that the driver examination service provider was not complying with ministry security requirements when hiring staff that has access to confidential driver records.

The Ministry had no policies and procedures in place to deal with prospective and existing employees with criminal records.

The A noted instances where staff had criminal records yet no action was taken and 25% of the new-hire files the A reviewed, the required criminal check had not been done.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Millions Stolen by Ontario Lawyers

On November 19, 2005 the Toronto Star had an article titled 'Law society plan still too soft, critics say' (I'd link it but if readers don't have a subscription, they won't be able to access it - so I'll summarize)

The Star reported (finally) that lawyers are "stealing thousands if not millions of dollars and rarely go to jail" based on their 5 year study of discipline cases. One of them, William Sinclair, a lawyer in Parry Sound Ontario, bilked 14 of his clients out of $3 million dollars and never went to jail.

The article went on to say that the province wants to ammend the Ontario Law Society Act to make it easier to release information on bad lawyers.

They quoted Malcolm Heins, Director of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) asking the province to give them "greater scope to share information to protect the public interest". (I'm wondering when that became a concern to them? See CanLaw in links at left)

Apparently, section 49.12 of the Law Society Act? Their rules of discipline? (not sure because the Star's report doesn't clarify this) does not give LSUC the authority to disclose anything they find in a lawyer's files during a discipline hearing.

The article was rebutted by George Hunter, the treasurer of LSUC here.

Notice on page 2 paragraph 2 that Mr. Hunter reminds the Minister of the Attorney General that it is the responsiblity of the police, the Crown and the courts to deal with criminal matters and that those discipline prosecutions were available to the police.

The last sentence in the last paragraph on the last page says it clearly: "nothing the Law Society does as a regulator prevents the police from obtaining information from a lawyer".

This means once police have information that a lawyer stole money from a client supported by evidence given to them by the client (that is if they look at it - see this post) they can apply for a warrant to search a lawyer's files.

I wonder what happened to those individuals in Parry Sound who have tried to tell the Ontario Provincial Police about it? They were probably told to go to the Law Society like I was...

Mr. Hunter sums it up pretty good in paragraph 3 on the first page: "We do not know why the police have not pursued criminal investigations in cases where such prosecutions have occurred, and in fact the police were aware of these discipline prosecutions."

So, who's complicit in the theft of these millions?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Daycare 2

This link below was in the comments but I thought I'd put it front and centre.

The Ontario Auditor, while finding a host of corruption in other Ontario Ministries that rivals AdScam (which I'll post later) found ongoing problems with Ontario's daycare system (as suspected) especially for children with mental health issues.

You can read it here - for simplicity, go to the summary

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


My ire was peaked this morning listening to Ken Dryden, Minister of What?

This guy couldn’t have expressed a more paternalistic attitude and his outright undemocratic and accusatory remarks against parents. He stated on CTV this morning that the Conservative platform on child care makes “no difference in the behavior of parents – it is not childcare”.

Where did this guy come from? He just, against all legal rights, equated all Canadian parents that don’t go for their Liberal plan as bad parents and potential child abusers. He is so way out in left field it’s almost as if he was back on the ice trying to instigate a violent physical fight.

This guy should ibe immediately be removed from this Ministerial position - whatever that is.

His characteristically Liberal paternalistic attitude couldn’t be more obvious. He has devalued the work of women by devaluing motherhood by having a platform that will force women to put their children in state run daycare centres. He also openly devalued a child’s right to bond with their parent by being care for at home . How dare he take away the choice of women and parents?

Women’s organizations have fought for the right to be valued for their role as mothers for years and this ignoramous is imposing more oppression on women. The Liberals and this misogynist have listened to nothing women have been complaining about for 12 years while the Liberals were in their position of power.

This is the first time that motherhood and/or fatherhood has been recognized in this country by the Conservative platform and this idiot has just gone beyond the gates of common decency. Every family has a right to have their children taken care of by their family if that is their choice. Every family has a right to choose whether or not they wish to enjoy the benefits of parenthood, if that is their choice. Every family has the right to choose the type of daycare that they believe will benefit of the social development of their child, if that is their choice.

Forcing parents into state run childcare spaces is not democratic. Democracy means “of the people” not more oppression by a government telling them how to raise their children or interfere with their lives.

Dryden, Minister of What? just stated publicly that a parent is going to stop working to benefit from a $1000 tax benefit. This man is totally out to lunch – perhaps too many pucks to the face made him that way. First he assumed that parents will quite working, and second he attempted to minimalize the amount that parents would receive. He should have been more accurate at least getting the amount of $3600/year correct.

Motherhood is work and they should be enumerated for it.

What he doesn’t get is those women or men have a choice whether or not to stay home to raise their children. Is Dryden, Minister of What? stating that either parent has to be forced to go to work at the expense of their children? This incredible devaluing just underlines a typical paternalistic insensitivity.

It has just also become clear to me that state forced employment seems a little like the previous U.S.S.R.

Perhaps we are seeing the Liberals hidden agenda surfacing, now that they have the public support of that antidemocratic organization called the C.A.W. If any group is going to benefit from state run daycare, it’s their members, who have their own daycare centres that no other citizen can use unless you’re a CAW member! If that’s not discriminatory I don’t know what is.

I can see these daycare centres becoming a financial quagmire just like hospitals are now. Yet the federal Liberals expect the provinces to be generous when it comes to the money they are given. How often have provinces not utilized public funding for healthcare appropriately using most of that money to fund the buidling of hospitals and not using it for actual healthcare? So the feds want daycare to turn into the same thing? I can see all that money going into building daycare centres and not into childcare.

If the Conservative plan is used, this diverts the money directly to the parents of Canada, where they have control over their lives to the benefit of their children – not the government telling them how hey should or shouldn’t be lving it.

Mr. Dryden, Minister of What? perhaps you need to be reminded we live in a “free society” where we have free choice. Perhaps you should start reading some human rights legislation or the Charter and educate yourself on what discrimination really is.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Habamus Goes to Hospital

Since health care is in the news yet again I want to relate a recent experience I had at an emergency ward in Windsor last week.

I went in with excruciating chest pains and ended up waiting four hours before a physician saw me. I thought for sure that I was going to drop dead on the emergency room floor. When I told the triage nurse that the pain was getting worse, she shrugged her shoulders and told me “they’ll come out and get you”.

I decided that if I were going to “die” I would do it in the privacy of my family’s home instead of the floor of an emergency ward with strangers watching. . If I went into a possible cardiac arrest, which I thought I was having at the time, they could call an ambulance.

I was just ready to leave but I was finally called in where I was given morphine and hooked up to monitors and basic tests were investigated. I was treated very well once I got in there but waiting four hours is such severe pain, which could have been a possible heart attack, is inexcusable

Just a few days prior I had contacted a hospital in Detroit Michigan to inquire about their cardiac care services because I understood that O.H.I.P may cover services there. Let me tell you, if I had the money I would be in the U.S. getting better health services than I do here. Under the circumstances I just described, I would have been admitted to hospital in the U.S. and they would have determined thoroughly what the hell is going on.

Even though the U.S. physician confirmed that I could have a heart attack without knowing it, it was determined here in Canada that I didn’t although I still have chest pains.

Since my income is low, I would be the last person who would support private healthcare.

I’m in no way advocating an all out private health care system. I am advocating a private-public system. If patients who were taking up beds in a public hospital could afford to go to a private hospital, they would certainly free up beds that I was told that weren’t available to get me in immediately.

I see what the problem is though. I just don’t get why 24-hour clinics are not established in every city that can handle non-life-threatening emergencies. There is one good example of a 24-hour clinic in Bracebridge Ontario that freed up emergency wards. There was a doctor available on call if, for example, your child came down with croup at 3 am. Although we had to wake him up, he was there for us and it was still covered by O.H.I.P.

Those doctors were very good and they had equipment that wasn’t used by any other doctor in the province. Some of the family physicians in the area had their nose bent out of shape but were they available 24 hours when you think your child is sick with meningitis? They were excellent diagnosticians and specialists confirmed their suspicions.

I have also suggested that beds could be freed in hospitals by having longer-term patients moved to their homes and receive home health care services. Some palliative care services are done this way. I don’t know about you, but I would rather die in my own home surrounded 24 hours by my family than in a hospital ward.

I also disagree with hospitals as massive corporate entities. If people can be cared for in their own homes then that’s where they should be. It’s my belief that no more large hospitals should be built but reduced only to provide emergency, diagnostic and surgical services. They should be used for intensive and critical services to get patients to the point where they can be transferred to their homes where nurses can then come in and provide support to the patient. Perhaps doctors could consider making house calls again.

Canadian health care is complicated and just making a statement supporting privately run health services is too narrow-minded and cannot be dealt with in one blow. Time has to be taken to examine all the complaints of patients, which has already been done but nothing concrete has taken place other than just throwing money at a broken system to start with.

It’s the government’s duty to see to it that legislation is written to guarantee the rights of all individuals to quality health care and that those using the public system receive the same diagnostic benefits as those who are willing to pay for it. Preventative medicine sometimes means thorough diagnosis so future trips to doctors and hospitals is minimized. Hospitals should be the hub of diagnostic services, not a showcase for architecture and contractor largess.

Why should one person benefit from being able to have cardiac testing because they can pay for it while a person who is in the public system have to wait four hours? Why send someone home without thorough scientific evidence that shows exactly what is wrong so they can get proper help for it then and not continue to have to go back to emergencies rooms because know one knows the facts of their illness?