23 March 2011

Really Doc, You Wont See My Child?

I usually only post “professionally” meaning I don’t intend to include my family in my posts.  However, I feel on this occasion I should breach this.  This is a moment where my professional concerns about family well being was crossed in the personal realm.
Just this past weekend my wife took my four month old son to a walk-in doctor because he was having a very unusual cough. I am not going to specify which clinic in Winnipeg, nor the doctor, but when they asked for our Manitoba Health Card, it was brought to our attention that we had not yet added our son to the health coverage (but yet, our son does have a doctor that he does see on a regular basis, that is paid by Canada’s one tier system, like this walk-in clinic).  So this clinic denied to see our son, and told us to make an appointment with our family doctor (a Monday to Friday doctor, it was now the weekend, and we needed assistance now, not on Monday).
When my wife got home, she immediately called our health nurse.  Her response to the situation was “…they what!!??”  She offered to come over, but she couldn’t diagnose, just to recommend that we should make an appointment for our son to meet with his doctor.
Is this really how we should treat a sick child in our developed country?  That because parents, overwhelmed in the transition to parenthood and forgot to add their son to their provincial health care card, they are denied service?  Really, what does this health card mean?  Well it means that because patient Y comes to see doctor X that the Provincial Government will cover the cost.  So, did this really come down to money?  That this doctor would not be paid soon enough for his services provided to a four month old?
This really begs the question on the effectiveness of the current system.  I do understand why the card is important, because we don’t just want anyone claiming to be a Canadian Citizen and taking advantage of our health care system.  I get that.  But when it comes to the health of an infant, there should be an exception.  Because this situation was just ridiculous.
Luckily, and we are grateful for it, that it wasn’t severe, and was a treatable cough.