If you have "no place to go," come here!

In Canada, they just let you die in the waiting room.

[For anyone visiting Corrente for the first time, the title is ironic and debunks a right wing lie talking point. Read on for why. --lambert]

The socialized medicine will kill you! crowd are going to just love this story if they get their hands on [part of] it.

In a scene that combined tragedy with Monty Python farce, a 77-year-old man in acute respiratory failure turned up at a private medical clinic in Montreal only to be told to wait his turn.

Jean-Jacques Sauvageau waited until his heart stopped and his dentures fell out onto the floor. Even then, the famous doctor who came to tend to him did a cursory exam and didn’t try to revive him, leaving him instead before the horrified eyes of fellow patients.

The inconvenient truth that the privatizers aren't going to notice, or will notice but will try to keep you from noticing, is that this happened at the clinic where Dr Jacques Chaoulli was working. Who's Dr Chaoulli?

The events were depicted in a report issued yesterday by Quebec coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier. And the doctor taken to task for his failure to try to resuscitate the patient is private-care crusader Jacques Chaoulli.

In 2005, he made history by persuading the Supreme Court to overturn Quebec’s ban on private health insurance.

In this case, Dr. Chaoulli was on duty at a private clinic last year when Mr. Sauvageau showed up. His face was bluish-purple and he had severe trouble breathing. Though the clinic advertised itself as providing emergency care, he was told to take a seat.

After about a half hour, the increasingly alarmed fellow patients could see Mr. Sauvageau was unconscious and alerted the receptionist. Dr. Chaoulli came out, did a cursory examination and concluded the patient was already dead.

So, if you see right-wingers promoting this particular story as proof of how bad the Canadian system is, you might want to point out that it happened in the clinic of a doctor who has been tirelessly campaigning to privatize Canada's health care system.

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Jess Fiedorowicz's picture
Submitted by Jess Fiedorowicz on

Thanks for posting. Yes, it will be interesting to see if and how this story is spun even if just an anecdote. If they do try and spin this it will be akin to prior mentions of our shorter wait lists for hip replacement when many such procedures in this country are on patients covered by Medicare.

Submitted by hipparchia on

our hip replacements if we get socialized medicine!

ps. thanks for making the video with mike farrell. i'm doing what i can to make it go viral [and to get y'all some money too].

not that i expect very many people to see the dkos diary, since i'm mostly a lurker there, but maybe at least google will notice the links.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

The problem with this particular scare tactic is that this seems to happen in American hospitals, all the time.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[that it's a poor tactic] but wingnuts have used the people die waiting for healthcare spiel [mostly about waiting lists] so much that they've got some folks believing it, even though insured and uninsured alike here in the us die waiting for healthcare too.

Jess Fiedorowicz's picture
Submitted by Jess Fiedorowicz on

Indeed, there are many horror stories related to access in our own system and the data clearly suggest that we lag behind regarding access and satisfaction.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i was just reading this about self-funded plans:

One of the aspects of a self-funded plan which makes it attractive for employers is that it enables an invisible, two-tiered system of reimbursement. I once worked for a TPA that administered self-funded plans, and I can tell you that for certain plans, I was given a list of the top company officers and their family members and told “claims for these people and their family members do not get denied. Ever. There is no deductible, no coinsurance. All claims get paid at a hundred percent, it doesn't matter whether the service is cosmetic, unnecessary, whatever.”


Submitted by WRhouse on

years ago, I was a bit of a rarity at the hospital in both age and the fact that private insurance was paying for it. And, truth be told, "young" as I am, if we didn't have such a really good private plan (yea Union), I'd be on Medicare in a heartbeat.

Submitted by hipparchia on

yes, there really are some good private plans out there, and if our illustrious congresscritters were willing to regulate the insurance industry as thoroughly as they do in europe, we could all get good care without going to a single payer system.

but such systems are more complex and basically more expensive than single payer, and since we're not really going to rein in our runaway insurance industry, i'm all for pushing them aside and throwing the bulk of our money and efforts into medicare for all.