Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hunt: How I Got My New Hip

Allison Hunt explains what she had to do to get her new artificial hip in the Canadian medical system:

A few interesting points:

(1) Her waiting time for the initial appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon was 10 months. Then her waiting time for the surgery itself would have been another 18 months had she not taken matters into her own hands.

(2) She had no qualms about doing what she needed to do to "jump the queue". At some implicit level, most people realize that it's right to seek to improve one's health and life -- i.e., that pursuing one's self-interest is good.

(3) She also explicitly recognized that what she was doing was "cheating the system". However, she doesn't ever quite come out and say that the system was morally wrong. Instead, her final remarks sound like a form of moral rationalization for her actions. It's therefore unclear to me whether she personally thinks her actions were right and the system was wrong, or the other way around. This highlights the importance of explicit discussion of the morality (or lack thereof) of government-run health care.

(4) This sort of "queue jumping" happens all the time in Canada. Lee Kurisko, a physician who has practiced in both Canada and the US calls this the "deep dark secret" of Canadian medicine.

(Thanks to Paul Lemke for the video link.)