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Friday, August 12, 2022
Letter: Governments should get out of the way

Dear editor:

Have you heard of the new “Fast Track” medical system? This is the newest government system to make people think that surgery is less than a light year away from getting relief for the debilitating pain in your knee, shoulder or back.

If you believe that it means just what it’s called, Fast Track, I have some land in Florida that is in the area of, well, you know the rest of that sales pitch.

I was in the Fast Track system for back surgery with two ruptured discs in my back. I may be 84, but before the accident happened I was playing a fair amount of golf each week and doing carpentry work in our home.

I’m a young 84 and have a zest for life. This system required me to see two chiropractors to assess my situation before they would pass me on to be seen by a surgeon.

Now, would you believe that once you see the surgeon in the Fast Track system that you will then get into surgery within days or just a few weeks? Wrong! At the very best, 12 to 18 months is the wait time for the surgeon I saw.

In 1971, it was two days to get the same surgery I needed. The surgeon said the only thing the Fast Track system does is it gets you to be seen by him sooner than the old system, which would have been 12 months or longer.

The reason for the delay is not the doctors, it’s the hospitals not giving them enough operating room time. In order to keep their budgets in line, they only allot the surgeons so many hours per year in the operating room. He said if he could get all the operating room time he needed he could clear up his wait list in a matter of weeks.

Would you say the system is broken? Our hospitals are understaffed with nurses required to run a complete hospital. We have a modern and beautiful hospital in St. Catharines General. One ER doctor on at night means patients brought in by ambulance at 5:30 p.m. might not get seen until 4 a.m.

If you’re bleeding and near death you will certainly be seen much faster. A patient brought in following an exploratory examination the same day, was not seen by the ER doctors for 11 hours. Finally, she was given pain killers to help her deal with the excruciating pain she had been experiencing for 15 hours. The pain was due to a problem with her pancreas caused by the exploratory exam of her bile duct..

The problems continued; after three days lying on a gurney in the ER she was finally put into a three-bed location. After a week of less than two hours of sleep per night her family doctor requested a private room. The cost to her family was over $3,000, even though it was her doctor who requested this change in rooms.

There were other more serious mistakes that almost took her life, all due to medical errors that should never have happened.

Our medical system requires much-needed changes, but only by people who understand how a business should be run.

Government, stay out of the way – you got us into this mess, so let qualified people take over and do what you haven’t been able to.

Tom Thornton