» News

Gee, I’m real sorry you’re dying of ovarian cancer … but here’s your free birth control

Home - by - November 15, 2012 - 22:45 America/New_York - 11 Comments

Milton Wolf

‘It’s a crisis for Quebec women’
Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.

But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

A leading Montreal gynecologist said that these days, she cannot look her patients in the eye because the wait times are so shocking. Lack of resources, including nursing staff and budget compressions, are driving a backlog of surgeries while operating rooms stand empty. The latest figures from the provincial government show that over a span of nearly 11 months, 7,780 patients in the Montreal area waited six months or longer for day surgeries, while another 2,957 waited for six months or longer for operations that required hospitalization.


  1. FreeMan & Sarah Intend to Defend

    November 15th, 2012

    “ovarian, cervical and breast cancers” – can’t do anything for them, but we can wrap a pecker.

    Thumb up +2

  2. MN Patriot

    November 15th, 2012

    The solution to the so called health care crisis is to let Doctors decide what their patients need and let Doctors give the care patients need without having to ask permission from some douche bag bureaucrat with an associates degree.
    Phd’s answering to dipshits is what is wrong with the health care system.

    Thumb up +4

  3. J Frank Parnell

    November 15th, 2012

    This is how socialism kills. But hey, it’s more fair to the vunables.

    Thumb up +4

  4. Corona

    November 15th, 2012

    Oh joy. Can’t wait for the day when the most experienced medical professional in any given hospital is a triage nurse. “You have a pulse. You’re fine. Go home.”

    Thumb up +8

  5. Wyatt, Insensitive Progressive Jerk

    November 15th, 2012

    Isn’t it amazing how making something free results in making it scarcer, if available at all?

    No, it’s not amazing – this is pretty much an accepted rule in economics.

    Noteworthy Comment Thumb up +11

  6. Lisl

    November 16th, 2012

    *Sigh* I debated internally whether to discuss this openly or not, but decided to do it because if my experience can help any other woman (or man, by example) and save a life, any embarrassment will be totally worth it.

    I think it was around May or this year (2012) I went in for a routine GYN exam, and at first the doctor wasn’t going to do it because I’d had one in January of 2011–and even though that was about a year and a half before, it had been normal and I’d never before had any abnormal results. I recall her mentioning cervical cancer and that because I’d had normal results, and the “recommendation” is every three years, we could just save the cervical exam for next time. Having always operated on the benchmark of annual exams (plus it was ingrained in me, having worked for two GYNs years ago who promoted that standard), it was a huge shock to hear three years.

    Anyway I told her I want the exam even if insurance wouldn’t pay it, I’ll pay myself because I certainly was not waiting another two years for an exam. That just really freaked me out–especially that this standard came from the government.

    During the exam the doctor saw something suspicious, lesions I guess she called it, on my cervix and I was referred to another doctor, whom I waited a week to see. That was an agonising week, and I kept replaying in my mind the doctor’s conversation after the exam, about how cervical cancer is slow moving and that she really didn’t think it was anything but she just doesn’t want to take chances.

    A week later I had a colposcopy, which was rather uncomfortable but not painful per se. There were two docs, one who’d been doing this for around 25 years and another newer one. They took a biopsy for lab tests but just by looking the experienced doctor said he didn’t think there was anything to worry about, and explained a few scientific things to me. And then a week or so later I received the results, that everything was negative, but that I should have exams every four months for the next year, to make sure it stays that way–and if something does come up, it can be treated. I’ve had one follow-up so far and all appears normal.

    I learned and grew a lot in that period of time, one benefit being a definitive bolstering of my resolve: as patients we MUST be a part of our own care, whether that means taking the lead and telling the doctor what WE want or paying for it ourselves. In this era of medicine that may be coming down on us, we have to be even more educated and informed than before. Also, I learnt that a huge percentage of cervical cancer fatalities occur because patients do not seek treatment, i.e. routine exams in which the lesions can be detected.

    I am not in any way saying what is happening in Canada is the fault of the patients–such wait times are inexcusable–but in fairness it needs to be recognized that, just as we can’t turn to the government to aid us in everything, neither can we blame them for all. There’s no good reason for those surgical delays, but in truth a certain portion of those cervical cancers could have been caught and treated earlier if detected via exam. It is a double tragedy because first, many women don’t get exams. (In Canada this may have other reasons, such as shortage of doctors even for routine procedures–so this I cannot speak to.) Second, when they finally get this scary diagnosis, they then have to wait far too long to get surgery for a totally treatable condition. No one should die of cervical cancer.

    So if any women reading this haven’t had a GYN for some time, I really urge you to get one–that cautious doctor probably saved my life, and from this I hope others will benefit, too. It’s also worth mentioning that the older doc–a male–who did the colposcopy, is perhaps one of the finest humans on the planet. At the time this started was in rough financial shape and went to a clinic. He donates a chunk of hours each month to this clinic, and does X (I forget how many) surgeries every month for the hospital it is affiliated with. All for free. He gets nothing back from it, not for his time or expertise or materials or counseling or follow up. Nothing. And he has been doing this since 25 years.

    I added this part because I want it to be known that the feminist claptrap against male doctors is also part of the tragedy, having taught women for years that male doctors aren’t to be trusted. Yet look at this man who was part of such a supportive team for me, and does it for so many others as well. Plus, he is one of many more examples of doctors who do in fact give generously of their time and expertise, getting not a penny in return–despite the fallacy portrayed by those who demand free services ALL the time, that MDs are rich, greedy bastards who do nothing for others. Add him to your roster of doctors who defy this lie, and please, please..

    …pass on life saving information.

    Sorry that this got so long, I’m really grateful for those who “listened” to my whole spiel.

    Thumb up +7

  7. Commissar M

    November 16th, 2012

    Coming soon to the US! Keep in mind that Canada only has about 35 million people and they can’t provide a decent level of critical care while the US has about 310 million. Once we get the government run single payer system that will have to come about to correct Obamacare (but that will be Republicans’ faults for not funding and implementing it properly) expect to see a lot more people dying miserable deaths from things they might’ve otherwise survived.

    Thumb up +3

  8. Patricia

    November 16th, 2012

    One of my sons is a doctor and he’s not happy at all with what’s going on. Just wait until ObamaIDON’TCARE really kicks in!

    Thumb up +2

  9. Maureen from Canada

    November 16th, 2012

    Just got off the phone talking to the Surgery Wait List Coordinator in Saskatchewan (yes we know spend more money on coordinating the wait list – only in Canada!). It will be 12 months and counting for knee replacement surgery since I was put on the wait list. It will likely be another 2 to 4 months before I’m scheduled (and in the meantime my life is on hold – since I’m self employed I can only take on a limited number of small jobs because I can’t commit to anything for a longer period!).

    But my American friends – I’m sure socialized medicine will be really different in the US.

    Thumb up +1

  10. Elaine

    November 16th, 2012

    How to get to that Socialist utopia? The perfect man must eliminate the imperfect.

    Thumb up 0

  11. davey b

    November 16th, 2012

    “Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.

    But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.”

    but but but it’s GOVT HEALTHcare

    (what could go wrong)

    Thumb up 0