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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Interesting for so many reasons

As I was scanning the news headlines online I came across this article. I found it interesting for a number of reasons.

First, the woman had identical quadruplets. They were conceived without fertility drugs. To have a multiple birth and have it not be related to fertility treatments is a feat in and of itself.

However its another part that I find most interesting. The headline states "Canadian Woman Gives Birth to Rare Identical Triplets." That's not the interesting part. What I find most interesting is that she gave birth to these children in Montana . Why did she come to Montana? This is a quote from the article:

"The Jepps drove 325 miles (523 kilometers) to Great Falls for the births because hospitals in Calgary were at capacity"

As someone living in a border city, this is not so odd to me as it seems. More than once I've been called to put an epidural in on a woman transferred from Canada due to a lack of beds. More recently, the local newspaper profiled a Canadian man who came her for treatment of a brain tumor. This is the story in brief:

The man had a seizure about one year ago. Rather than wait the 4 months for an MRI, he came to Buffalo for the scan (after having the trip arranged by a company out of Vancouver that specializes in arranging medical treatment in the states for people willing and able to pay for it). It showed the presence of a tumor that was likely malignant. So he went back to Canada with those results, only to find out that it would be three months before he could have a biopsy performed. So he came back to Buffalo and had the biopsy done (and the tumor removed) one month after the MRI. Now he's facing huge bills because he didn't get pre-authorization for the treatment. He felt it wasn't worth bothering to spend the months waiting for that to happen.

It is stories like these, especially that of the Jepps, that make me concerned about the idea of a nationalized system for health care, especially proposals modeled off Canada and Great Britian. Canada's rationing of health care is so great that they have to send pregnant women out of the country to give birth because there aren't enough "beds" in the province to treat them.

I have the sinking feeling that if we tried a national or universal health care system we would find that it put up more barriers to healthcare, rather than increasing access.

I have blogged about this before. Please see my earlier post here .

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Blogger Kristen said...

To be fair, it's not that they didn't have room for her, the mother, but for four babies in the NICU due to an unexpected number of other premature babies born shortly before they arrived. The hospital, from all other accounts I've read, had been prepared in advance for these babies until that point.

I won't say nationalized health care is perfect -- I've heard plenty of complaints about Britain's NHS system. On the other hand, I can tell you that being without health insurance SUCKS. Paying out of pocket for prescriptions sucks. Having to choose, upon obtaining employment, between buying your own insurance because you're "just" a temp/contractor and don't merit benefits, and paying off the credit card company that charged you all sorts of fees while you were out of work and couldn't pay the minimum balance? Really, really sucks.

There's got to be a happy medium somewhere.

4:18 PM  

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