Is our health still under care?

As a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen, one would expect to be entitled to all the care and protection that the state promises to provide under legislation that governs a particular aspect of life.

As a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen, one would expect to be entitled to all the care and protection that the state promises to provide under legislation that governs a particular aspect of life.

Living in a welfare state (in the constitutional sense), where the citizens have been assured of their rights to have access to health care and education, it is only natural that one would take it for granted that doctors would be attentive and hospitals accommodating enough to respond to the needs of the residents in the communities we live in.

There are increasingly visible signs that things are not working as smoothly as we would wish.

Recently, a Canadian citizen, a resident in his community for many years had to book a flight to Mexico to have a minor surgical operation on his elbow after waiting for more than a year to have it done here in Alberta.

He had waited for more than nine months just to be given a date for the operation, (which was some three months later) and on the day of the operation, the doctor who was supposed to conduct the surgery just told the patient that he was not going to do it that day, without giving any reason.

Then, in fury, the patient booked his flight and made arrangements for his operation in Mexico and started to pack up.

The doctor who refused to operate on the patient contacted him later to say that he could get the operation done within a few weeks and the patient just told the doctor that it would no longer be necessary.

This true story is a picture of the current state of health care in Alberta.

Long-time residents in the community say this would have been unthinkable only three of four years ago.

It is probably no coincidence this incident comes at a time when our health care system has become the drawing board for politicians for their trials and errors.

As you will remember, in the course of the last two years, the health regions have been amalgamated into one, payment arrangements for medicine have been changed putting more burden on seniors and the retired, pharmacies have been forced to operate with conditions that threaten to stop their operations.

These are just a few changes that one could mention in one breath. Of course, there are many more.

Health care is complex business. You may be following the saga that has been evolving south of the border. President Barack Obama of the United States is trying to bring an order to a health care system that has been a mess for decades.

Here in Alberta, there has been steady progress to turn into a mess what was an almost ideal health care system just until a few years ago.

I really wonder who deserves the standing ovation for that achievement.

— Mustafa Eric