Sunday, August 09, 2009

In Which I Face Down the Grim Socialist Machine

I'm in London, Ontario visiting family. Yesterday, my two-year-old nephew had an ear infection. I had to take him and his mom for help. In this terrible Canadian medical system, his doctor is closed on Saturday, so we tried to take him to a clinic located in a nearby drugstore. It being five o'clock, the clinic had closed, so we had to take him to an emergency room at the nearest hospital.

The scary Canadian receptionist sent us immediately to triage, where a nurse took his temperature. She told the boy she was checking to see if there were any monkeys in his ear. Can you imagine frightening a young boy like that? After this ordeal, we sat down for a full five minutes before being called into the pediatric examination area.

After that, we had to wait forty minutes before a medical student gave the kid an examination. The examination took another 15 minutes or so, and then he had to get an OK from a doctor, who showed up 15 minutes later. Not only that, but we had to wait another few minutes before we got the prescription, bringing our wait time in the ER to almost 90 minutes.

Now compare that to the American hospital where I took my mom a few weeks ago. We got in, signed up, and within 3 hours made it to triage. Let me state unequivocally that no one suggested she had monkeys in her ear. After they sent us our for another four hours in the waiting area, I recognized her doctor, who used to be my doctor too (When he became a "boutique" doctor and started charging 1500 bucks a year, I found another doctor, but my mom stayed on).

I told the doctor how long we'd been waiting, he gave some choice words to someone, and within one hour, we got in. Within another hour she saw a doctor. So while my nephew had to wait a full 90 minutes, my mom saw a doctor within a mere 9 hours. The second number, if I'm not mistaken, is a 90% reduction over the first.

More importantly, my mom was in the hospital for a week, but under our American system, she's fine now. My nephew though, under the socialist system, still has that ear infection.
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