Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wheelchair give-away, living as a 'have not' & medical care

I own a wheelchair, small enough to get through the door of the apartments built in the 70’s and 80’s, before building boom made everything small and wheelchair impossible. But with Indy, I didn’t need the E&J manual wheelchair anymore. Linda wanted to give it to an organization that takes medical equipment to Africa.

“But there are people out here, in this city, who need a wheelchair and can’t afford it.” I said.

Linda relented and put it on the local swap and shop for free, the same price we got it for. She had two requests in an hour. And the first person contacted her by phone and came and picked it up all within an hour. It is for a senior who has problems moving around.

I hope they remember to pump the tires all the way up. More glide per 'omph.'

Medical care, and who can and can’t afford it, even at a maintenance level is the new problem of Canada, US and UK. Some provinces pay for meds, others don’t. Provinces are labeled as ‘have’ or ‘have not.’ And while Ontario, where Toronto is, is a ‘have’ province, while BC is a ‘have not.’ There is supposed to be transfer of funds to help those provinces which are ‘have not.’ But when Alberta is to make $600 billion out of just one oil field and the pipeline through BC to the coast, and BC makes 4 million out of the same deal, but faces the costs of clean up, and repair are all borne by BC.
So the most BC can afford is to give a discount on meds to those who are impoverished, though how they are to pay rent, food, taxes and medicine costs on the $782 a month, I am not sure. We expected to get a large tax refund, but it was taken by the government because we had be unable to pay the $100 per person per month for medical coverage, so they took it out of any refund. So yeah, I know the feeling of constantly climbing a mountain and never get closer to the top.

But in Wales, it was the same, as one of the ‘have not’ districts in the UK, we had a heart surgeon who was convicted of negligence and killing patients but was kept on because there were no other surgeons. And the friend who came out of a induced coma to beat cancer was never able to leave her bed for the 14 months because…the entire hospital only had one portable ventilator. So the standard wheelchair with throat ventilator was something the Hospital in Cardiff couldn’t afford. So she died, in that bed, in a room with eight people and a curtain, never to see the sunshine. And a friend was told they had a nine year wait for a hip joint replacement as it was ‘elective’ surgery, that’s when you know you are in a ‘have not’ district.

Currently, when I see people interviewed in the USA, the one country in the ‘first world’ without health care, that they don’t want Obama’s health care because it could ‘limit choice’ makes me think they haven’t experienced a ‘limit’ of choice yet. And when the Republican Party platform is based on how wealthy you are and how much you have paid in, so those who get with MS, Lupus, ME/CFS amoung other diseases are out of luck. The health to wealth connection is planned right to care homes. Yikes!

By the by, the IRC (International Red Cross) has determined that the use of medical information to threaten medical care, or disrupt medical care, or create fear that the information will be used against a person is Torture. So perhaps instead of trying to get your local health care or VIHA to get their act in line, just get the Hague involved. A few convictions for ‘crimes against humanity’ might get care in facilities and communities better monitored.

I can dream.


Matthew Smith said...

A word about Wales: the country has a system of devolved government and gets to set its own rules about what it will pay for and what it will not. When devolution happened in the late 1990s, one of the first things they did was abolish prescription charges. In England, prescription charges are a flat rate of about £7, whether the drugs are cheap generics or newly developed patented drugs, but they have been the subject of grumbles when they go up every year (though not by much). People with certain chronic medical conditions (like hypothyroidism, which I have) get their drugs free, and not just those related to their condition. Abolishing prescription charges is politically convenient, but it means other things have to be sacrificed and they are likely to be obscure things like a ventilator or the right to see a consultant in England for an 'obscure' condition like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The relative poverty of Wales is not the reason these things happen. Wales actually gets subsidised by the British tax-payer. The situation is because of a political decision.

Anonymous said...

In the UK you can get a Year's pass for all your medication for £110 and if you are on a low income prescriptions are free.

Kate -Cornwall.

Neil said...

Even when medications are partially covered, as our family's are, they're still expensive; and after you've used up your deductible for the quarter, you get to pay full price anyway.

The main problem with politicians and money is that they have too many people at the top, and not enough on the front lines.

Love and zen hugs,

Zephyr said...

the use of medical information to threaten medical care, or disrupt medical care, or create fear that the information will be used against a person is Torture

For real? What does that mean exactly? Does it mean that medical professionals can obtain personal information about you and use it to withdraw medical treatment?

I'm blogging again by the way. Come check me out!

Elizabeth McClung said...

Drat - computer crashed (computer in shop 3 times in 3 weeks - sigh) and lost long and detailed comments.

Zephyr: What it says, the use and information of your condition to threaten to stop treatment or induce conditions is torture, report released by the International red cross.

Matthew: lost are my long and detailed comments comparing the pros and cons of Canada and the UK system and the high costs of drugs in Canada if you are in a province that is a 'have not' - I think you are being tongue in cheek about the ventilator, I hope, as it is used for high SCI's, sort and long term degenerative conditions and even extreme cases of M.E. districts in the UK which are 'have not' do not offer the same range of services, specialist, and operations for free - which is why some pay. Some wards like Maternity and Gyno are scary, almost universally. The Burn units in Wales, I found to be very good, in both hospitals around Cardiff. support, like parking spaces on the street for wheelchair users was good, however, same street, the curb cut had a metal pole for a sign in the middle of it. The costs for medication which is 'covered' - would still come to hundreds of pounds a month for 6 or 7 medications in Canada. The stories of waits for medical equipment in the UK was scary, but so is the fact that a 20 year old E&J chair on a rather obscure website had two people want it in less than an hour. Wales is part of Britian, and thus the system is a 'have' and 'have not' transfer system you describe, but it seems as ineffective as here - also likely because money transfered is not designated and sadly, long term health issues are often considered low priority.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Neil: Yes, and the 'fillig fee' can often be more than the medication if your doctor doesn't allow long fills.

Kate: That sounds like a good deal. I found that I oft wished I did what the Canada pension advised and moved back to the UK, then applied for a pension there. However, the sweeping changes enacted to healthcare would be particularly bad for someone with a disease with many and rapid changes. However the expert of this disease is Belgian, so perhaps I could have taken the Chunnel to his hospital.

Matthew Smith said...

I wasn't being tongue-in-cheek when I used the word "obscure", but I don't mean ventilators are insignificant - sorry if it sounded like that. I know someone who uses one. I also know someone in Wales who's had to fight hard to get a referral to a consultant outside Wales, something she would have had a right to if she lived in England but apparently the same right doesn't exist in Wales. What I meant was that these needs are obscure to the average person in the street who complains about prescription charges "because the NHS is meant to be free innit?!" but doesn't realise things cost money, and that if the money doesn't come from them it has to come from the general healthcare budget (because they won't want to pay more tax in lieu of a prescription charge). Thus, what gets cut is what people don't see until it affects them or their family or friends directly.

JaneB said...

Nice pictures, despite the depressingly accurate content...

GirlWithTheCane said...

It's been a while since you've been here, and you're on my mind...just saying hello and letting you know that I'm thinking of you.