Jonathan Sher, of The London Free Press, reported on the treatment received by patients suspected of suffering a certain type of heart attack in Ontario. The news report was well written, was medically accurate and I believe, was overly negative in tone.
I believe it was this negative tone that resulted in a great many oh-so-critical online comments attacking the health care system in Ontario. "For 1 in 5, fast care isn't there," read the headline. According to the article, nearly one in five Ontarians with a specific type of heart attack, known as a STEMI, are not getting the fast access to treatment required. All true. The reader is also told Canadian experts look to American counterparts for benchmarks against which to judge treatment times. In Ontario 18 percent fall short of the American/Canadian benchmark.
An online comment warned, "Be afraid. Be very afraid. Do not get sick or old in Ontario." This comment attracted the most support from the paper's Web-based readers with the warning sitting at the top of the comment heap. Another reader laid the blame on Deb Matthews, a London MPP and former Minister of Health.
Let's take another look at the situation in the States. We find articles where the Yanks are downright proud of the their health care system and the rapid advances being made in this area. A recent American study looked at 96,738 patients in the heart attack group under discussion and found only 17 percent had treatment times that fell short of the benchmark.
In Canada, Sun Media bemoans the fact that our health care system fails 1 out of 5 patients suffering this type of heart attack. In the States, the Yanks are proud to report that 4 out of 5 patient suffering these attacks are treated within the benchmark time. The numbers from the two counties are separated by about one percent.
Two of my uncles died from heart problems. My father died from a heart attack. I take powerful meds while watching my diet to keep atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) at bay. For these reasons, I carefully follow the ever improving treatment for heart attack patients.
I see the Canadian health care glass as half full and continuing to fill as medical breakthroughs are made around the world. A lot of medical research is done in Canada and our medical community is aware of not only what is being done in the States but around the globe.
Recently, when I had an ablation procedure to cure my heart rhythm problems, one of my heart surgeons was a doctor from the south of France. When I was wheeled into recovery after the procedure was done, I felt very lucky to be living in Canada and especially lucky to be living in London, Ontario.
My health care has been world class.