Tuesday, February 2, 2010

You Gotta Have Heart(s)

My bridge gang - we're all poster kids for good cardiac care.

We start playing at 10 am, play three rounds of 6 hands and then break for lunch.

Inevitably the medical rolls begins.

At 67, I'm the youngest at the table and with only 3 stents in various arteries and 2 angioplasties, I'm the least experienced under the knife.

All of which is to say that, before we even tick into the soup, we all agree that health care - and particularly cardiac care - in this province and this city is quite wonderful and amazing.

Each of us has "the best cardiologist in town," which makes for at least 4 great ones and counting.

Thus, it was a bit of a shocker to see this morning that Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, one of the great modern sovereigntists of the age, is off to some undisclosed U.S. hospital for heart surgery.

The Globe has not one, but two stories on this matter and one opinion piece.

Williams is a fascinating and often most admirable guy.

He is a millionaire and nobody's fool and nobody's patsy.

He loves and protects Newfoundland - and donates his premier's salary to charity - and continues to have a voter approval rating above 80%.

The editorial argues that how Williams manages his own health is entirely his business.

I agree.

When faced with mortality, we will all do exactly what we can to survive.

But, that doesn't stop any of us from wondering what exactly is this circumstance or this medical condition that it cannot find timely and appropriate response right here on Canadian soil.

Nobody on the political stage, local or national, has been willing to criticize Williams over this decision. All wish him speedy and best recovery.


Is this some terribly arcane and delicate procedure known only to a handful of experts in, say, Boston, or New York?

If it is, then we will understand.

If not, why not take the cure in Vancouver or Winnipeg or Toronto where heart surgeries, if not a dime a dozen, are certainly performed with astonishing regularity?

VGH, for example, completes on average 20 angioplasties a day.

I don't know the numbers for open heart and valve jobs, but they are almost a matter of course these days.

In the meantime, we join all others in wishing Mr. Williams the best.

And we will look forward to learning the full story.

And to playing our next hand of bridge.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps he is in a hurry . . . it is, after all always a half hour later in Newfoundland . . . . .

Norman Farrell said...

This demonstrates the medical care that Fraser Institute folks would design for us. High quality public healthcare, being expensive, should be minimal to keep public spending and taxes low.

If someone needs sophisticated care, they can fly off to wherever in the world the best care is available, paying for that privately.

Therefore, Canada has the best of both worlds. Low taxes and great healthcare, for those who can afford it.

Anonymous said...

David, I could agree if only he wernt in a position to influence spending on health care.

As good a man as he might be he will never be able to speak out against or for any monetary issue regarding health care spending.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.As I have not followed his career I hope that you are correct and their is a solid reason for his decision to go South.


Keith said...

even in the States, Americans seek out the best care outside their city or state.
There is the Mayo clinic for example, and Farrah Fawcett went to Germany as a desperate chance for a cure.