I spent two days curled up in a foetal position gasping in pain that throbbed through my abdomen. I wavered between dialling 911 or not but it left just as I was about to give in and call. I followed up with my doc who indicated that an Ultrasound was needed and an reacquisition submitted. However I was advised that it would be months as it was “like pulling teeth” to get an ultrasound for the sheep unless they are close to death.
Not wanting to wait and being fortunate that I can afford it I went to the web site of a private clinic and downloaded their reacquisition form and gave it to my doc. Doc faxed it that afternoon. The following morning I received a call from the clinic and had an immediate appointing. I arrived early. Presented my debit card which was used to process the $395 fee. I then had a very thorough ultrasound. New equipment, competent technician (pleasant and talked to me and told me what she was doing and seeing.) At the end of the 45 minute scan she burned a CD of the images which was given to me. As I left the radiologist was reading the images and preparing report for my doc. My doc had it the next day.
I am just one of many stories of people who have been deprived of timely medical service on PEI. I am personally aware of people who have died waiting to see specialists. People who would not likely have died had they had prompt access. We have a medical system in crisis and I am of the opinion that part of the crisis is a system that is over utilized by people who do not need it – forcing critically ill people to wait.
I have been and continue to be an advocate of a health care system that takes care of people who need the care. It makes us a better culture and speaks well to our identity. However there has to be a way to slow down the utilization of an overburden system by those who over utilize it. Just talk to an emerg doc about who he / she sees. Someone with a fart backed up or can’t eat their chicken nuggets (two actual cases told to me by emerg docs) should not be visiting the emergency facility.
The technician I spoke to at the clinic told me that PEI is at all of the recruiting opportunities but all other provinces are too. She told me that PEI simply can’t compete. My tech was a young person of (guessing) 30-35. She confirmed she would gladly come to PEI if there was something that would advance her career. The mythical island way of life just does not cut it. Money, new equipment or expanded diagnostic services would interest her. Sadly we have none.
Perhaps it is time to challenge the system and the sheep. If we need out of ordinary routine medical service perhaps a small fee would eliminate those who really don’t need the access. I would support a politician who proposed that. If Health PEI came out of hiding and shared with the sheep the challenges they might be surprised at the positive response.
By the way – I am fine. It appears I will have to part with an organ that I have been delaying for 28 years. Dr. Marvin Clark was right – shudda had it done when I was in my 30’s. Now I will see how long it takes before the surgeon can see me. Stay tuned.
(If you are interested, diagnostic referral guidelines are available to review.)