Neonatal ICU Crisis: Unusual or Inevitable?

Hurricane Katrina demolished New Orleans on August 29, 2005. Katrina killed almost 1,500 people and cost $70 billion to clean up.

People knew it was coming. They were told to evacuate. City planners had warned of something like Katrina for years.

Katrina was the surprise everyone expected but no one wanted to believe.

Canadian healthcare is not well. Sick babies cannot fit into overstuffed NICUs. Young people die for lack of beds. These stories aren’t news anymore.

A journalist from a National paper told me, “I need something new to say. My editor won’t publish without a new angle. People are tired of hearing the same thing about hospital overcrowding.”

Last week, I asked an MP, “What do you think about the new tax changes?” He gave a long defence of Morneau’s tax grab on small businesses. He sliced up all the arguments that he expected I would raise.

Then, he let me ask some questions: Continue reading “Neonatal ICU Crisis: Unusual or Inevitable?”

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Stealing from Patients

Dunkirk opens with soldiers on a deserted street walking through a snowfall of leaflets. The city is empty.

One man catches a leaflet and flips it over. It’s a map of Dunkirk.



Propaganda works: Hopeless soldiers give up. Emotion plays a role in every fight.

I worry that many doctors cannot process attacks from government anymore. They can think, but they cannot feel.

The feds propose:

  • 73% tax on retirement savings
  • 93% tax on inheritance
  • No income splitting, despite the risk that small businesses put on family members.

These proposals wipe out retirement, savings for children’s education and parental leave.  It makes the extra cost and effort of incorporation a total waste.

Sometimes, governments tell voters something so outrageous, that people lose a frame of reference to check the facts. Small lies spark public protest. Big lies elicit shock but no action. Continue reading “Stealing from Patients”

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Who Knows Best?

The dead of summer used to mean rest. Stand-ins covered talk radio. Politicians attended Canada-Day celebrations, and everyone hit pause on life.

Summer meant nothing happened in medical politics; you might as well go to the cottage.

Not anymore. Now, summer means no one is looking, so why not push through something doctors will hate. At this rate, summer will become the new fall, and we will all need vacations in September.

In an effort to pretend I’m ignoring medical politics, here are my rambling from a Muskoka chair.

Who Knows Best?

Mark Twain said,

“I would rather listen to a soldier who has been to war talk about war than listen to a poet who has never been to the Moon talk about the moon.”

Someone also said, “The eye sees what the mind knows.” Doctors see and know problems in clinical care. We must give doctors voice. Government cannot know enough to know, let alone solve, all the problems.

This raises Hayek’s knowledge problem. Every system contains more knowledge than any single person can know. No one can ever know the thousands of decisions people make inside a system. Continue reading “Who Knows Best?”

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