Monday, February 17, 2014

Show Me The Money, First, Cancer Patient Told


An article, by Kathy Tomlinson, in CBC News reports on a case where a woman was first misdiagnosed at a hospital in Toronto, then refused treatment afterward, all because she did not have provincial health insurance in Ontario; she died subsequently from ovarian cancer.

Tomlinson writes:
The daughter of a dying cancer patient is going public about how Ontario hospitals misdiagnosed her mother’s disease—delaying crucial treatment for months—then refused to operate. Her daughter believes they refused because her mom didn’t have health insurance.
“I was hurt, because it happened in Canada. It was not something that happens here,” said Angeliki Kourouclis, whose mother came here from Ethiopia to visit in 2012. “I brought my mom to the hospital with the plan that I will be paying for the care that she will be receiving,” said Kourouclis, whose records show she has paid all the medical bills, to date. “I never asked anyone to provide free care.”
 Angeliki Kourouclis says she didn't believe something like this could happen in Canada.
To add insult to injury, Kourouclis believes diagnostic errors and delays led her travel health insurer to ultimately refuse to reimburse her for any of her mom’s treatment. “It’s the argument they are using to not pay.”
Kourouclis is an information technology professional who lives in Mississauga, Ont. Her 72-year old mom Kelemua Esayase has come here several times in recent years to visit her two Canadian daughters. When she arrived for her latest visit, her daughter said she was in good health for her age. She started having abdominal pain, though, so Kourouclis took her to the ER at Trillium Health Centre.
She said she made it clear she was willing and able to pay for whatever was needed, plus her mom had travel health insurance.
This was insufficient for the heartless doctors and medical administrators who operate within Ontario's healthcare system. All this rings true. I have had my own negative experiences here in Toronto. When I moved from the province of Quebec to Ontario, there was a 3-month waiting period before my Ontario heath coverage would kick in, but I was still covered by my home province of Quebec.

With a few weeks of arriving in Ontario, I had to undergo emergency surgery for colorectal cancer; my surgeon was worried if he would be sufficiently paid, given the nominal difference in reimbursement rates between Quebec and Ontario; he came to my bed a number of times, on the verge of harassment, even suggested that I pay him with a credit card. I refused, saying that I would fill out the proper paperwork so that he would be rightfully paid by the province of Quebec. He was. That this overweening need for money would impair my recovery was lost on this young doctor. His needs came first, no doubt.

Doctors have largely become business-people first and medical professionals second. As for the Hippocratic Oath, who knows? We are living in harsh and extreme times; a depressing thought.

For more, go to [cbc]

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