Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Babies and where to have 'em

It is 5:22 a.m. and I'm awake and my mind is racing. Our daughter called minutes ago to tell us she and her husband are off for the hospital, for the maternity ward; I'm about to become a grandpa!

One of my first thoughts was, "Oh how glad I am to be living in Canada." Our local hospitals are excellent but for a number of reasons one specializes in babies and births; they're the experts at delivering nine-month-miracles.

My second thought was how dangerous is this? I'm a worrier. (There's the telephone. It's our daughter. She's at the hospital and everyone is relaxed. Man, they're acting like this is an everyday occurrence! Wait. It is!)

Gotta be safe, right?

First hit from Google reads: U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says:

"American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway, Save the Children researchers found.

Only Latvia, with six deaths per 1,000 live births, has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States, which is tied near the bottom of industrialized nations with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with five deaths per 1,000 births."

This is not an attack on the U.S. medical system. I'm sure that folk, like those in the American congress, do not have to fear for their newborn children or grandchildren. My guess is that if you calculated the infant mortality rate for those folk, and other well-off American folk, all would be fine. It would not surprise me to learn that those figures are among the best in the world.

What drags down American averages is the folk without proper medical care, at least that is my bet. And what this means is that millions of Americans would be far better off giving birth in Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia.

I'm not rich. I'm not sure where on the American medical pecking order my family and I would fall. It is just so comforting at times like this to be a Canadian.

I'm not suggesting that the U.S. should adopt the Canadian system or any other country's system. I'm suggesting that the U.S. should examine what is being done in other countries and go us all one better. Show us the imagination and the leadership for which the United States is so famous. Watch the following YouTube video, it gives one pause to think.



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