Friday, April 4, 2014


Many of you have read my reports of serious problems in Quebec's health care system. I can't speak about health care in hospitals outside of Montreal but, as a cancer patient in Montreal, I am witness to all sorts of things - problems involving doctors, nurses, patients.
I talk to patients while I wait for tests, I listen to patients talking to each other. I hear nurses talking. I hear receptionists and volunteers talking. I hear doctors talking. I don't eavesdrop. I just listen. Thank goodness, no one has yet muzzled free speech in Quebec. Not yet, as far as I know.
I report events that occur in hospital that have affected my life, my husband's life, my brother's life and the lives of others who have been patients at the Jewish General - my hospital for more than 60 years.
Silence is the enemy of justice.
When people are sick, when lives are at risk, we must not remain silent. We have to take responsibility to protect people who are vulnerable and who must depend on the health care system.
I have had a lot to say about doctors and nurses who have behaved badly - even cruelly - toward patients. I have reported life threatening abuses. I will not retract one word I have published based in my own experience. But I have something to add.
I listen. One of the most serious, pervasive threats to patient care in Montreal is the Quebec Government's determination to cut costs at the Jewish General Hospital. I have listened and I have learned that doctors are being forced to take on more and more patients, exhausting them, rather than allowing the Jewish General Hospital to bring in more doctors - competent, qualified, bilingual doctors.
I have heard medical staff talking about how doctors are subjected to severe government pressure to send patients home before the doctor considers it safe to let them go. I have witnessed doctors and nurses, exhausted frustrated, worried about the patients and yet, afraid to take on the Quebec Government for fear of reprisals. Yes, folks, here in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2014.
Is it only the Jewish General Hospital that is being pressured by the Quebec Government? Surely it is not because our hospital is Jewish? In fact, the Jewish General Hospital is one of the most open and diverse societies one could ever hope to find. People of all races, languages and religions work at the "Jewish" and are patients at the "Jewish". So Madam Marois can't hate us for being "Jewish".
Separatist hero Jacques Parizeau was a patient at the Jewish General not so long ago, and he spoke of his care there in glowing terms. I heard today that a relative of Mme. Marois had a baby at the Jewish General, but I cannot attest to the veracity of this recent blessed event.
So, if the pressure is on at the Jewish General Hospital, is it the same at Montreal's other hospitals? Are they all being forced to send patients home while their conditions are unstable?
Do Catholic or Protestant Montreal hospitals receive more funding from the Quebec Government than the Jewish General? Does the Quebec Government refuse to allow other Montreal hospitals to hire additional doctors?
I listen. I also think. Cogito, ergo sum.
I also speak out against injustice wherever I find good people being abused. When people are sick, they are so vulnerable. One moment you are fine and, in an instant, illness or accident changes everything and you are helpless, dependent on others. It is unspeakably cruel to place sick people in danger. It is unspeakably wicked to force doctors to fail their patients in order to secure their own careers.
I reach out to doctors, nurses, and anyone working in Montreal hospitals to write to me here on my blog or on Facebook and tell me your own stories, your own experiences. Tell everyone what you know about this.
Every individual has a responsibility to protect others in distress. If you know something, you must speak up. The Internet has freed the voices of the common people. Now you can speak - and now you must speak.

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