Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hydra at the Beginning

I would like to, very carefully, bring it to everyone's attention that Dr. Raj Sherman, Independent MLA for the Alberta provincial government, was invited to speak at the University of Alberta on March 8th, 2010, on the topic of "Free Speech: Use it or lose it". Since it was not freely advertised until this week, and I first saw a poster for it today, I was unable to attend, but believe me, if there was a way I could trade an arm to attend, I would be dubbed "Lefty" faster than you can shake a stick.

Last week Dr. Sherman spoke in the legislative assembly about how over 250 patients had been neglected to the point of their death while on the provincial transplant list, and that Doctors who raised concerns were either "punished or driven out of the province, were paid out in millions to buy their silence", and he continued on to alleged that the money that was used for this was "buried in the books under the former Capital Health Region". These are some pretty big allegations; as an Albertan, I have a vested interest in knowing our Doctors can speak freely about the system they work with and under, although a tinge of disbelief tainted my credulity - the notion that hundreds of people could die, without a wiff being scented to the mass media, or even the Internet, is hard to swallow. Dr. Sherman promised proof to back up these statements, however, and I was excited. If there was corruption in the Health Care system it would make it easier to solve - root out the corruption. If there was none, however, we are back to the tedious, plodding, thankless work of restructuring what is apparently a flawed system from the inside out.

On Monday,  Dr. Sherman strode into the building and tabled the documents that he feels supported his allegation, but the recipients were apparently underwhelmed. The dominant opinion appeared to be that it was simply illustrating problems  they had known all along, with nothing so excited as a "second set of books", a phrase Dr. Sherman never actually used, but many observers have. The alleged 322 cases of neglect are now in debate - Dr. Sherman insisting he has the proof and will provide it to a proper investigation; the government insisting he has no proof and will insist on seeing some before they launch an investigation.

So who loses in this detente? We, the citizens, of course. We would like to trust and follow Dr. Sherman - he had the guts to stand up when it seemed health care reforms were being ignored - but if he has no proof, we can no longer trust him. If this case is true, we need to see how far the ichor-filled rabbit hole of corruption goes or any costly changes we make to our health care system are doomed to fail. To be honest, when he brought forth no proof, I had crucified Dr. Sherman in my mind, but when Mr. Zwozdesky was willing to simply move on from the allegations so quickly, I began to wonder if he was hiding something. What I am saying is I believe Dr. Sherman needs to stand up, stand for free speech, and provide the real proof of these allegations. As risky as revealing your hand in cards may be, the stakes are too high to play hold 'em; it's time to show what you've got, and hope it beats all.  

The title is from Victor Hugo: The book which the reader now holds in his hands, from one end to the other, as a whole and in its details, whatever gaps, exceptions, or weaknesses it may contain, treats of the advance from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from falsity to truth, from darkness to daylight, from blind appetite to conscience, from decay to life, from bestiality to duty, from Hell to Heaven, from limbo to God. Matter itself is the starting-point, and the point of arrival is the soul. Hydra at the beginning, an angel at the end.”


Anonymous said...

The sad truth is that when a transplant costs can easily go into the millions, it becomes a numbers game. How many years is a new organ worth, and how much are you the taxpayer willing to spend on hope?

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I thought this was a large part of the problem with our current health system; that the wait lists for surgery were so long people were dying on them. Didn't everybody already know that? Who needed hush money?