UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar wasn't trashing Manitoba when he talked about receiving third-world health care in a Brandon hospital. He was holding up a mirror.
Don't like what you see? Stomping your feet and making chauvinist squeals won't change the picture.
Lesnar is a professional athlete; he knows pain. He's a professional mixed martial arts fighter; he knows extreme pain. So when he doubled over with pain while hunting with his brother in southwestern Manitoba last November, he knew it was something unusual and very serious.
He was admitted to Brandon General Hospital on or about Nov. 7 only to find the CT scanner was out of commission and had been for four days. A CT scan is the most common test for a potentially life-threatening abdominal disorder like diverticulitis, which was what Lesnar had.
So what's the problem, asks Carmel Olson, CEO of the Brandon regional health authority.
"The attending physician was very qualified and very respected," she told the Globe and Mail. "He's been in the business for more than 30 years. And he has the skills to diagnose a condition such as diverticulitis without a CT scan."
Hmmmm.... Imagine you're in Mexico and a wall fell on you. You go to the hospital because you suspect you have broken ribs. The doctor tells you the X-ray machine is in the shop for repairs, but Dr. Juan Valdez is very experienced in broken bones and he'll poke around your chest to make his diagnosis. And please stop whimpering, you're disturbing the other patients.
You would be in the taxi, lickety-split, heading for the next plane back to Canada.
Americans---all Americans, regardless of income---expect a hospital to have a working CT scanner as basic equipment, just as all Canadians expect to see an X-ray machine in a hospital. Depending on a doctor's "experience" is fine and dandy--- in the Third World maybe.
CEO Olson told the Globe,"We have state-of-art equipment here. We are hardly a one-horse operation."
Lady, when it comes to 21st century diagnostic imaging, you are a one-trick pony operation and that day your pony was on the fritz.
Another eBrandon commenter, "snickers", came to the defence of Brandon hospital with this personal account:
"just read in paper today about the pain Brock was in due to him suffering from diverticulitus..... I have the same condition and infact a couple years ago was rushed to emerg because if it... Immediatly I was admitted to hopsital, spent 3 days in a emerg bed with IV and then admitted to the General cause my condition was so serious. I was told by a very compatent surgeon that I had a micro perforation and I would require surgery ... soon..I was allowed no food period.... there was signs all around my area NPO (nothing per oral)I was released only to be scheduled for surgery 4 days later.. no miracles here.. ended up havin surgery, they removed 1.5 feet of sigmoid colon... if left a micro perforation could rupture and then this serious condition would be an emergency.. I recieved very good care here, right from get go in emerg.. Kudos to all the staff in emerg and Bdn General.. not sure how Brock was mistreated.. in my experience with very similar issue I recieved the help and care and follow up care I needed.".
Lesnar's sister-in-law Jennifer - a Manitoban no less - provided details that literally define 'mistreatment' for that condition:
"The CT machine was down for over 4 days so they didn't know he had a rupture and were feeding him, I think wrong antibiotics, etc...I think they did the best with what they had, but he was REALLY sick and I think he made the right choice leaving for a US hospital...He's not blaming the hospital, but it's not ok for ANYBODY needing a scan to have to wait 5 or more days. We've had nothing but great experiences in that same hospital, so it's just unfortuate that everything kinda went wrong when he was there. "
As Canadians we accept 4 hours waits in emergency rooms as normal, four week average waits for CT scans as an improvement, and deaths in Manitoba hospital waiting rooms as not unusual. At one time not too long ago, having emergency wards manned by lone doctors was considered a crisis; now it's standard.
Is it any wonder that Lesnar's wife put him in a car and drove pell-mell to the nearest American hospital with a CT scanner? In her eyes her husband is dying from the pain and they're stuck in 1950's Mayberry.
Lesnar eventually left Bismark, N.D., after being diagnosed for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Brenda, a Brandonite posting on the Brock Lesnar thread on eBrandon.ca, offered a comparison between treatment in a Manitoba hospital and treatment in the Mayo Clinic (which must be what health care in heaven is like):
I know you can wait forever in Manitoba for tests. You can go to the lab or the x-ray dept. and sit forever. A friend of mine went to the mayo clinic. Saw a dr. who sent her for x-rays, by the time she got on the elevator and to the x-ray dept. someone was there to meet her at the elevator door and take her in right away. By the time she was done and back to the doctors, she had the results. Run like a well oiled machine. Unfortunately, our system is not that quick. But I don't mind waiting a little while, knowing I don't have to pay."
Spoken like a true Canadian.
Lesnar is a self-described Republican who is against radical changes to U.S. health care.
"The reason I'm saying that is because there's millions of people that don't want health care reform and I'm one of them," he said at a news conference Wednesday. "I'm not a believer in socialism and I don't want that going on."
"I believe in health care for everybody," sniffed Manitoba's socialist Health Minister Theresa Oswald, in typical NDP knee-jerk, anti-American superiority. "Canada has lots to be proud of in terms of providing health care for everyone."
Canada has universal health care but you take what the government gives you.
In America, you can spend your own money to enhance the health care you want for yourself and your family. If you can't afford it, you get Canadian-style health care---take a number and wait.
As a well-paid athlete, Brock Lesnar has lots of insurance and, in his profession, he needs it. He wasn't waiting in pain for an essential diagnostic machine to become available.
In Canada, the government takes $100 million of your money and spends it on a Manitoba millionaire's pet project museum and says there's no money for health care.
In Manitoba, the government takes your money, spends it on a power line built to impress U.S. eco-lobbyists when the same line on another route could be built for half a billion dollars less, and then says you're bad if you want to keep your own money and buy better health service at a clinic.
When Theresa Oswald eventually moves to the U.S. to live with her husband in Wisconsin will she be buying health insurance for her children? Or will she choose to rely on the state-provided health care?