What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


For those of you that have been reading my blogs on a regular basis, thank you. The bottom line, however, is I will be blogging less in the future. One reason is that I have already said most of the things that I feel are important. Sure, things will come up from time to time like Premier Klein curing cancer, but for the most part, things move at a snails pace in the medical political world (as opposed to new technologies which move at the pace of Katrina), and repetition is boring.
The second reason is that I am a gardener, and the gardening season is upon us. At present I have 600 geranium slips flourishing in the basement and about 1000 seedlings that need transplanting. Two days ago I transplanted 200 Alyssum, yesterday 200 Clarkia, and last week 100 dwarf tomato plants. All seem to be doing well, thank you.
To me, gardening has been a natural extension of my years of family medicine. Both need dedication, patience, perseverance, and knowledge. Gardening is far easier because other than weather, gardeners have much more control over their plants than physicians have over their patients. Gardeners, after assessing the needs of their garden and plants, can provide the necessary ingredients for growth and health. Physicians, on the other hand provide the information and the McDonald and 7-11 stores provide the food and nutrition. A conscientious gardener plants a plant in a location that is best suited to its nature, where-as patients have the freedom to wonder wherever they wish, and often at 90 miles an hour. If a plant is ailing, the knowledgeable gardener provides the necessary treatment and the plant gratefully complies. Patients wish to debate and discuss, and even after full disclosure and consent, often do not comply with the recommended treatment. To my knowledge, a gardener has never been sued by a plant or a garden, when through storm, wind, and flood, or other untoward event, the plant has been injured.
Although I miss my patients dearly since my retirement, I will satisfy my compulsion “to care for” by nurturing my many seedlings that will, in two to three months, be beautiful blooming flowers. And I will learn from them. They have already shown me that if I heed to their nature and their needs, they will flourish, and will do so quite independently in the appropriate setting. I have learned that my interference must be balanced with ample restraint, and they seem to thrive and show their true beauty and capabilities when given the opportunity to find their place of comfort. Perhaps if we kept these things in mind in designing our health care system, and dealing with health care providers and patients, we may actually have a model for success.


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