Canadian health care: a personal story of tragedy


Here’s a message — much more than that, a heartfelt story — I received from my friend Wendy Aylworth. She cares very deeply about the direction America is headed regarding health care. Now her family has suffered a tragedy caused by government control of medicine. Here’s her story.

This issue touches close to my heart. Government should not be the entity to decide if you’re worth giving medical care. This Friday I’ll be attending a rally titled “Hands Off My Health Care.” (See Wichita tea party planned to protest government-run health care for details about the Wichita rally.)

Rallies are being held nationwide in every city where a Senator has a local office. Gather outside the building from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

I’ll attend in memory of my Cousin Leita, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 29 having been neglected and ignored by the “FREE” Health Care in Canada. They say it’s FREE; it only costs you YOUR LIFE!

My cousins are Canadians. They’ve always told me their health care system is a source of national pride; one they believed in. My cousin is a caring, trusting, compassionate person, and suddenly, acutely, needed help.

My cousin’s 29 year-old daughter became ill and her mother, my first cousin, took her to the hospital emergency department. After checking with the triage desk, Leita, known to them to be a heart patient, waited five and one-half hours in excruciating abdominal pain in the waiting room before she was finally taken back to be examined. By then she was coughing up blood. She was given something for nausea and pain, and then sent home and told to go get an ultrasound at another location the next day.

She couldn’t make it through the night and woke her mother early in the morning. Her mom phoned ahead to ask the emergency room workers whether they were busy at that time, and if they could please take her daughter back to be seen just as soon as they arrived. The response was anger that she would say such an “abusive” thing to them. My cousin brought her daughter to the emergency room and found the waiting room completely empty. But the triage person refused to take her back. She was in extreme abdominal pain and had been battling this “cold” for almost two months. Finally they took her back, felt her abdomen and decided perhaps her liver had a mass in it. Later that day she was given a biopsy and told the results would be back in eight days. My cousin told me it was so wonderful they did the biopsy at the hospital because if her daughter had not been admitted she would have had to go on the waiting list for a biopsy — a three month wait.

An X-ray showed spots on her daughter’s lungs. The personnel told her they suspected liver cancer spread to her lungs.

She was given a bed. Since the specialist was leaving on vacation, Leita would have to wait until July 6th, 2009 for an appointment with him. I urged my cousin to get her daughter to a hospital with an Oncologist immediately, and began my own search for a place. It turned out, due to the Canadian government’s restrictions on hiring specialists, the nearest Oncologist was a two and one-half hour drive away. This would require a transfer to the other medical facility.

The government rules in the Canadian health care system did not allow my cousin to do this. Seeing a specialist even in oil-rich Alberta requires a referral from the family doctor. The family doctor had run liver enzyme tests in November 2008 due to the medication my cousin was on, and had not reported any anomaly in the results. She declined to refer Leita elsewhere, but was very nice about it. My cousin stayed at her daughter’s bedside while I attempted to find some location she could go and be seen by an Oncologist, or some way around the family doctor’s blockade.

My cousin said her daughter could not move and that even trying to speak made her vomit. I asked what they were giving her for nausea and was told when I reached her by phone a couple days later that it was shots.

I asked why they didn’t just give her anti-nausea medication in her IV because I’d recently had surgery under general anesthesia and the new medicine they put in my IV had completely eliminated nausea. Well, it turns out the hospital did not have her on an IV. I guess this saves on having to also put in a catheter in and empty the catheter bag. So my cousin’s daughter was left to dehydrate, while still battling to keep from vomiting — and no IV even though she was in the hospital with a mass in her liver strongly suspected to be malignant. I gathered info from a website on the necessity of an IV and emailed it to my cousin in Canada. The next day, her daughter got an IV.

Two days after this the results of the biopsy came back. It was confirmed to be cancer of the liver just as they thought, and a fast-growing type. Again urging help for her, calling, emailing, messaging people in her province, doing everything I could to try and get her somewhere to see an Oncologist — none of that worked. Not only was my cousin’s daughter’s life on the line, but my cousin explained she herself was not well enough to travel, and was on a wait list for heart care and also actually needed to be at the medical center in Calgary where the ONLY Cardiologist for the province was (and also where the Oncologist was).

But rules are rules and neither could be seen. Logically she should have been taken to the Medical Center in Calgary, hospitalized, and received care. It didn’t happen. The family doctor said my cousin’s daughter could just use the “Cancer Centre” there at the hospital they were already in. No need for a transfer. This is when my cousin discovered there was no Oncologist at all for their Cancer Centre, but only an internist (and he was on vacation). My cousin told me her family doc was a really nice lady. And so my cousin trusted the health system.

Her daughter’s case would go before the “Cancer Board” the week the internist returned from vacation. My cousin’s daughter passed away the night of July 9, 2009. She was only 29.

I hope you will please attend the rally to stop government take over of health care, sign many petitions against any expansion of government powers, and email links to petitions and information on to as many of your friends as possible. Also please phone your senators and Congressional representatives. The number to phone is memorable and fitting for the career politician in Congress: 1-877-SOB-USOB. That toll free line is often busy, so you can also find their direct phone numbers at or

I’ve contacted individual citizens in Canada who’ve told me the Province of Alberta has excellent health care. They were comparing it to their own province. So my cousin’s experience was a “GOOD ONE.” This is what we have to look forward to if you let government take control. The federal government already controls 51 cents of every health care dollar spent. The federal government’s controls, red tape, and refusal to allow states, doctors, and we the people our own choices is the TRUE cause of the problems with our health care system.

The Federal government does not allow YOU to take a deduction from your taxes if you purchase your own health insurance. Politicians deliberately set it up so only your employer can take a tax deduction for buying your health insurance for you. With this arrangement politicians guarantee that you’ll live in fear of losing your job AND your health insurance. And, then they know we will have to cry to them to FIX it.

Politicians always set things up so there are more problems that only THEY can fix (and they make you believe it with their propaganda). Nearly every American lives in FEAR of losing their health insurance because this keeps us right where politicians want us. They back us into the corner and extract more from us each time, with each created problem. But they WILL NOT fix the actual problem.

If they’d let you buy your own policy and let you deduct it from your taxes your insurance would be portable. And, for those who cannot afford at the moment to purchase their own policy, politicians could just offer vouchers. In reality there are only 8 million U.S. citizens without their own health insurance policy beyond their own choosing. The 48 million number you’ve been told is an outright lie.

The maize of government regulations is so great that many physicians and nurses have quit seeing patients. They can make a much higher income as expert witnesses or simply in another field. The Congress and the Administration refuse to place caps on medical malpractice awards for various damages not having anything to do with actual medical expenses or future expenses, and juries do not see the full story.

This is your life and the life of your children at stake. First it will be the weak who are “expensed.”

Please attend this rally!

Wendy Aylworth

p.s. If you let government take over your health care there will soon be one growth industry remaining in America: funerals.

Google “We Surround Them” (click here to perform this search), or look to the 912 groups for a rally near you. The Tea Party Patriots Social Network also has information.

You can contact Wendy at


23 responses to “Canadian health care: a personal story of tragedy”

  1. Paul Benjamin

    I hope that in the next few days you post some stories on insurance companies denying coverage to cut their cost. After all it is far more common that this story.

  2. J. E. MacLeod

    Hi Mr. Weeks,

    The article about the death of your friend’s relative is sad and tragic. It is always painful to lose a loved one.

    I must, however, provide to your readers the correct facts concerning some points you made in the article.

    According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta website, there are currently 44 Medical Oncologists practicing in the province, 37 of whom are accepting new patients. There are 61 Radiation Oncologists, 35 are accepting new patients. There IS just 1 Surgical Oncologist listed, but 233 General Surgeons, and 161 of those are accepting new patients.

    As to the Cardiologists, there are a total of 130 Cardiologists in Alberta and 105 of those Cardiologists are listed as accepting new patients.

    I was born and raised in Canada and lived there for 44 years until moving to Kansas 4 years ago. My family is very fortunate to have good health insurance here, but we have encountered many problems, such as 4-5 month waiting times to see certain specialists, sub-standard car from doctors and dealing with insurance companies, who, in my experience and opinion, do more to block access to proper health care, than any government bureaucrat ever could. In Canada, the government does not tell you where to go for care or what doctor you may see, which is something the insurance companies in the US do all the time, as part of your being in their network of providers.

    The Canadian “Health Care System” may not be perfect but the US “Health Care System”, in my opinion is far worse overall. There are far too many people down here without insurance coverage or that do not have adequate coverage.

    Please check your facts concerning the figures you give out, lest you lead people to not have the correct information in order for them to form their own opinion on the matter.

    Thank you,
    J. E. MacLeod

  3. Here’s just a sampling of article detailing problems with Canadian health care. Are all these source wrong or lying?

    “Too old” for hip surgery

    When it comes to healthcare, Canadians receive poor value for their tax dollars

    Couillard flip-flops on pro-private report

    Canadian Health Care We So Envy Lies In Ruins, Its Architect Admits

    Reality check: Canada’s government health care system

    Canadian Health Care: The End of Innovation?

    The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care

    Obama should heed Canadian medical lessons

    Wichita’s Galichia provides what government health care doesn’t

  4. Anonymous

    Good day Mr. Weeks,

    It is tragic to here about the death of your friend’s relative.
    The story sounds more like “Insurance co. propaganda” than a chronological history of the facts. I lived in Canada for 48 years and have had to use the emergency room more than once. I never ran into the problem of filling out endless insurance paperwork or dealing with the first line of defense for every US “for profit” insurance companies “ The denial department”.

    It always amazes me that the pat line “A Bureaucrat between you and you Doctor “ is used to promote the idea that the health care system in the rest of the developed world is bad and the US for profit insurance companies are good. Nothing could be further from the truth. No “Bureaucratic Denial department” exists in the Canadian system. Your doctor decides what should be done and if you do not agree you can see another doctor of “Your choice” not your Insurance companies choice!!!
    The system in Canada is not perfect and the new system in the US could use some good old US know-how to improve apron it, but the huge profits made by the insurance companies that finance the scare tactics laid out in your friends letter will not help. I will not comment on the medical opinions expressed by your friend for I am not a medical doctor and nether is she.
    I am confident that the rally’s and scare tactics brought up will fall short and the heath care system in the US can start to concentrate on the health of patients and not on who pays!!!

    Best Regards
    Glen Jones

  5. J. E. MacLeod

    Hi Again Mr. Weeks,

    I read each one of the articles you listed on your comment back to me. Although there were 9 articles listed, 3 were from the same person, Nadeem Esmail, 2 were from another individual, David Gratzer. I presume both of them did not mind government run programs when they received their Canadian Government subsidized university educations. It seems, all too often, some people are willing to bite the hand that feeds them.

    As far as the articles you listed, they do bring up some good points and some that are probably out of context. Unless you have all the details of each individual instance, it is very difficult to have a true picture of what happened to each of the people written about in the articles.

    Unfortunately, no Health Care System will ever be perfect.

    At least in Canada, with a population of @33,700,00 people, has health care insurance for each of it’s citizens, whereas the United States, with a population of 306,900,000, has 47,000,000 people (more than the entire population of Canada), with no heath care insurance.

    So, Mr. Weeks, which country has the better system?


    J.E. MacLeod

  6. The U.S. has the best system, undoubtedly.

    Your criticism of the authors having received a Canadian government-subsidized education: how is that relevant?

    Then, your point about the number of uninsured in America: Since you brought it up, would you also look up to see how many of the uninsured are that way because of their own choice?

    Then, how many of those are without medical care? We give away a lot of care in America. Perhaps not the best way to provide it, but most of these people do get care. There aren’t piles of the dead outside the doors of American hospitals.

  7. Clark

    I ask Mr. Jones and Mr. MacLeod: Why do so many Canadians come to America for health care treatment if the Canadian system is so good?

    And you’re right Mr. Weeks, what does gov subsidized education have to do with Canadian health care. People with weak arguments always throw something in that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. In my book, they are immediately discounted from meaningful discourse!

  8. James

    According to the US Census Bureau, approximately 47 million Americans are without health insurance. Of those 47 million:

    – An unknown amount is without health insurance for less than six months. Various groups have estimated 50% or more find health insurance within six months of loosing it.

    – According to the Census Bueau, “the CPS estimate of the number of people without health insurance more closely approximates the number of people who are uninsured at a specific point in time during the year than the number of people uninsured for the entire year.”

    – Over 17.5 million uninsured people report incomes of above $50,000 a year.

    – 9.1 million report incomes of over $75,000 a year

    – Approximately 20% of the 47 million are illegal aliens

    – 14 million are eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or SCHIP and choose not to participate

    – Only approximately 8 million of the 47 million make less than $50,000 a year, are working citizens of the US, and don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

    I would submit those are the citizens we should be targeting. Those for gov’t run health care like the 47 million number, but it doesn’t hold water when examined closer.

  9. Thank you, James. It helps to have some facts at hand.

  10. […] For me, what I will remember from today is the story told by Wendy Aylworth about the death of her cousin’s daughter. The video of Wendy speaking is below. A narrative written by Wendy is at Canadian health care: a personal story of tragedy. […]

  11. Benjamin

    “The story sounds more like “Insurance co. propaganda” than a chronological history of the facts.” ……. I have met Wendy and was updated by emails about the progression of what happened. She is for real and not some insurance lobbyist. If you all like Canada so much then GO BACK! You come here, have a great life then want to talk about how Canada is so great. You remind me of the mexicans around here who fly their mexican flags and have them on their cars. Come here, get jobs then bitch about how things aren’t so great here. Thank you for posting this story Mr. Weeks and thank you for backing it up with some great articles.

  12. […] Canadian health care: a personal story of tragedy […]

  13. […] Here’s a message — much more than that, a heartfelt story — I received from my friend Wendy Aylworth. She cares very deeply about the direction America is headed regarding health care. Now her family has suffered a tragedy caused by government control of medicine. Here’s her story. […]

  14. Don

    “The U.S. has the best system, undoubtedly.”

    Undoubtedly, indeed. That over half of all bankruptcies in our country stem from overwhelming medical costs is surely one of the best parts of this system. And the fact that most of these instances involve people who actually ARE insured is even further proof.

    I’m sorry, but I will never understand those who prefer to leave their health to whims of the profit incentive. It’s completely immoral that people get rich denying health care to others. And don’t be fooled, that is what happens. Paying a claim (i.e. providing care) means lower profits. Use your heads, people.

    Given the size of the US, there will always be some sort of bureaucracy by necessity. Our current private system has no shortage of frustrating bureaucratic mazes. At least let’s remove the profit motive from where it doesn’t belong.

  15. J. E. MacLeod


    You make very good points!! Those who have excellent healthcare insurance seem to be those screaming the loudest to leave things in the mess they are! Most of the organizations supporting the present setup can be traced back to the insurance companies, such as the Lewin Group (United Health Care) and Conservatives for Patients Rights (Rick Scott, partner in Solantic, a chain of Urgent Care Clinics) or companies with a vested interest in keeping the status quo.

  16. It’s interesting that proponents of socialized medicine, as evident from the comments posted here, often deride at the American idea of entrusting something as “essential” as health care to profit-hungry “evil” corporates. Yet, I suspect that all of them rely on profiteering “evil” corporates on something even more essential: food. Last time I checked, when governments ran national farms, millions of people died of starvation.

    I’m sure there are still plenty of people who swear by the Canadian system. But as it turns out, not only Canadians come across the border to seek treatment on their own. The Canadian system has been routinely sending patients across the border because otherwise they would die before getting into a bed.

    Well, at least they have lower infant mortality rates up there, don’t they? Yes, but they send their complicated birth cases down south. Apparently, in 2007, Calgary, a city of over 1 million and one of the wealthiest in Canada, did not have 4 neonatal intensive care beds for a Canadian mother with identical quadruplets, but Great Falls, Mont., a city of 56,000, had no problems handling them.

    One more thing on infant mortality. It turns out Canada, as well as many countries with socialized medicine, does not count live births weight below 500 grams as infants. Hmm… which system is more humane, one that trys to save any infant with any signs of life, or one that determines certain infants not worth saving based on some arbitrary factor such as weight or length?

    Finally, no criticism of the American medical system will be complete without mentioning the chaotic billing system and medical bankruptcy. Well, these are problems, that needs to be addressed. Many ideas have been proposed, and I am writing an article myself. However, if the choice is between medical bankruptcy and losing my life due to delays with government bureaucracy and long lines, as the author of this article sadly describes, I think it’d be a no-brainer.

  17. oliverb

    If the Canadian system was so bad, why did Sara Palin get healthcare in Whitehorse, Yukon? I thought she was your darling!

  18. oliverb

    Why are we the only remaining industrial nation without healthcare? Why do we allow corporate greed to dictate access to care?

  19. […] I want to. Lets even take a look at our close neighbor, Canada. Their healthcare system has caused DEATHS because of all the red […]

  20. Anonymous Mike

    Jeeze Ollie, chill out. “Why are we the only remaining industrial nation without healthcare?” We have healthcare, we just have to pay for it more directly than Europeans do. Nothing’s free, you know that, I know that. We currently have the best healthcare in the world. What we don’t have is the best way to pay for it.

    At least one reason that our healthcare is so expensive is that we have more rules than we need. We have Medicare rules, Medicaid Rules, Blue Cross rules, Blue Shield rules, State rules, and who knows what other ones. I have good, but annoying insurance. They pay, but not until they’ve denied payment at least once or twice. I’ve had the same Doctor for 25 years, but now he has 10 office workers instead of the two he used to have. Any guesses why??


  21. t

    This issue touches close to my heart. Government should not be the entity to decide if you’re worth giving medical care.

    No, health insurers should right?

  22. Anonymous

    “At least one reason that our healthcare is so expensive is that we have more rules than we need. We have Medicare rules, Medicaid Rules, Blue Cross rules, Blue Shield rules, State rules, and who knows what other ones. I have good, but annoying insurance. They pay, but not until they’ve denied payment at least once or twice. I’ve had the same Doctor for 25 years, but now he has 10 office workers instead of the two he used to have. Any guesses why??”

    Care to actually demonstrate where these rules create unreasonable costs, specifically, as opposed to preventing corruption, fraud and not paying for shit like chiropractory?

    The US’s health care is not only not the best in the free world, but close to the worst in terms of service per dollar.

  23. Serena

    When Americans go into debt and lose their homes and die from illnesses that their HMOs can’t pay for, all do to “private health insurance”, it just makes me want to laugh.

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