If a Big Mac is better than a Whopper does that mean a Big Mac is a good burger?
Our daughter was recently ill. Very ill. Scary ill. We did what any good parents would do and sought help for her from medical professionals. We went though our health care system. That system failed us. Miserably. I have been very vocal in my disappointment in our system and the lack of help that we ultimately received. I am not on a which hunt. In fact, I have not publicly even mentioned the doctors involved (and there were several). My goal is not to point a finger at anyone in particular. My goal is to be a a voice of change. And, just so it is completely clear, I am not just hitting social media with my concerns. I am also going through all of the formal channels that are available to me within our system to bring these issues to light. In fact, almost all of my online activity relating to this has been for the sole purpose of raising awareness for the condition that my daughter has.
When I first voiced my concerns publicly about the problems in our health care system people were, for the most part, very understanding and many of them had stories where they had been failed too. And of course there were the ones that wanted to slap me on the wrist for complaining about this wonderful “free” system we have. That is it so much better than what many other countries have. Yes. Yes it is. I cannot, even for a moment, argue that what we have is better, even much better, than what millions of other people have. But here’s the thing – if a Big Mac is better than a Whopper does that mean a Big Mac is a good burger? No it doesn’t. No offence to either McDonald’s or Burger King here but we all know there are better burgers out there. And is it wrong for me to want that better burger? I don’t think so.
Not everything about our experience was horrible. We had wonderful and caring nurses. We had a comfortable room for our hospital stay. They ran tests that would have cost us thousands of dollars if we had to pay for them ourselves. There was a lot that went right. Sadly, there was a lot that went wrong. We found gaping holes and we managed to fall into every single one of those holes. At the end of the day the system did nothing for us in terms of getting the help our child needed. We had to seek that help elsewhere. I had to do my own research to find a health care professional, in another province, that had the skills and knowledge that we needed. And we have had to pay every penny of that ourselves. The doctor’s visits, the tests, the medication. All of it out of our own pocket. So, tell me again how wonderful free is.
So, yes I am the squeaky wheel. It’s not only my right to be, I firmly believe it is my obligation. What kind of world would we live in if we all just went with the status quo and never questioned – could this be better? Should this be better? Just last week a friend of mine, who works in the health care system, was in the emergency room at our local hospital. There was an elderly patient who had come to the ER. After her visit my friend asked her “Do you know how long you waited in the ER?” The very patient lady replied that she did not. When she was told that her wait was over 9 hours long her reply was, “Well, that’s not bad.” YES it is! I think it’s terribly sad, and dangerous, that we believe waiting 9 hours to receive care in an emergency room is “not bad”. We need to question this. We need to say this is not good enough.
My story revolves around one particular issue, the healthcare system. But my message is not that we should all jump up and down about this one issue (unless of course you want to then by all means do). I am genuinely concerned about the placid attitude I’m seeing on so many fronts. Get up and rock that boat. Change does not come when we do or say nothing. Believe in something and then stand up for that belief. And remember, you don’t have to carry a spear to be a warrior. Unfortunately you generally do need to carry a shield.