Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Our Great Healthcare System (Part 2)

Posted on | November 13, 2010 | No Comments

A retired man I know told me today of his run-ins with our public health care system. Be warned: the events highlighted below are troubling but in spite of everything, this person is bearing it with good humour and grace.

A bladder cancer survivor, this man (we shall call him Mr X) has to undergo regular check-ups with a urologist to avoid the return of this disease. Lately, faced with disquieting symptoms (an increase in white blood cells) his doctor asked him to get results from a nuclear scan and a biopsy in order to dispel any doubt as to the presence of cancerous cells.

The scan had to take place in Montreal. For Mr X, who lives away from the city, this means a trip and considerable stress: he is not in his prime, even though he is in exceptional health for his age. The appointment was schedule and all scans were made. As he did not receive any news in the following days, he got somewhat worried and called his doctor. This doctor then learned the hospital had lost the test results. Mr X stubbornly refused to schedule a second appointment, which turned out in his favour as the hospital finally found the results, eleven days later. Everything looked fine, but the doctor decided to go on with the biopsy just in case.

The biopsy had to be performed under general anaesthesia. Mr X got an appointment in a downtown Montreal francophone hospital where parking places are all but non-existent. Finally he went for the anaesthesia, woke up, waited a few hours then was given his leave to return home.  

His doctor called him a few days later. Mr X enquired about his biopsy results. Surprise! No test results were sent to the doctor. Furthermore, it seems the biopsy didn’t even occur.

You’ll understand that Mr X is somewhat worried, and rightly so : first off, the public health care system is unable to decently monitor his situation. Mostly though, what medical procedure was performed when he was under anaesthesia? He was unable to get this information from the hospital…

Mr X will meet his doctor again this week. How will this story end? I’m anxious to know.


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  • Photographie par Patrick Meunier

    Tous droits réservés, Patrick Meunier, 2010

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