Monday, November 28, 2022

Canada's medical system under siege.

This is Joseph.

The thread here by Emer O'Toole is a good example of the craziness that parents in Canada undergo when seeking emergency medical care:

Several days later it turns out the the child has pneumonia. That leads to the discovery that antibiotics are almost unavailable. Forget the long missing fever and pain medications, this is so much of a crisis that there is an official Health Canada page explaining the crisis. Yes, the antibiotics are a crisis too:

Keep in mind this is a partnered adult with resources (university professor) who is unable to find basic care for an asthmatic infant. 

This is also happening in Toronto, the largest city in Ontario, and trends are not reassuring. Even the averaged wait times in Winnipeg are not reassuring: how is it a good idea to put sick people in close proximity for this long just waiting for care. People will avoid the ER if there are other options. Why are these not being considered?

Now, it is quite true that US healthcare is also under strain. It is a very rough world for respiratory diseases right now. But what is the cause of a shortage of antibiotics? Before one starts saying "private markets", do you know of any country in the world willing to gamble on private markets getting it right for food supply? Nor is this situation unnoticed by the media:
Meanwhile, Canadians are suffering because they don’t have access to doctors, or the emergency room wait time is 20 hours, or the wait to see a specialist is months instead of weeks

The other part that is hard is that we see attempts to shift plan for systemic failure:

But when we start talking about government-imposed mandates, we will inevitably see polarization on the issue, a division between pro and anti-maskers. And how much of this internecine squabbling gets our government off the hook for failing to foresee the foreseeable? In this case, for failing to prepare with adequate surge capacity? Why is there no flexibility in this system?

Once again, we're shifting the blame, and putting the responsibility for managing a collective crisis onto individual choices in order to cover for systemic failures. To put it another way, we need a health-care system that can handle the fact that I'm going to breathe on my children. 

This is Jen Gerson, who is admittedly criticizing from the right as well. But there isn't a lot of defense of this situation, so much as a general worry about resources. But this is the thing about central planning (which the Canadian health system effectively does) -- you need to design resilience into the system or else this is inevitable. Only now are we seeing some movement towards system level improvements -- three years are the shock began. 

This really isn't an ideal way to showcase our ability to support these systems.

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