$12 for a neck brace | Letter

I was sorry to read about the medical care CarrolLee Twitchell wrote about in her letter (Kirkland Reporter, Oct. 20). I would like to relate our experience with the Canadian medical system as an alternative to her experience.

A few years ago, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were driving to Big White at Thanksgiving. They hit an icy patch and went over an embankment. Fortunately, the lights stayed on and someone spotted them and called for an ambulance. They were taken to the hospital in Kelowna, where my mother-in-law was taken into ICU. I cannot express enough gratitude and appreciation for the care she received there. It was very quiet, the lights were dim, there were three critical care nurses attending her and visiting hours were only for a couple of hours each day.

When she was well enough to be transported, she was flown to Virginia Mason Hospital, where she was put in a room opposite the nursing station. Another brother-in-law stayed with her during the night (sleeping on the floor in her room) and afterword related what a terrible experience it was. The nurses at the station were very noisy, the lights were always bright and she was seldom looked in on. He could not believe the terrible treatment she received there. We wished we could take her back to Canada.

The niece and nephew were examined and we were told the niece was ok, but the nephew needed to wear a neck brace. When we went to settle up the bill as we left, the doctor apologized because he had to charge us $12 for the neck brace. That’s right, $12! And he apologized for having to charge even that much, but had to do so because we were not Canadian citizens.

We have had several good Canadian friends over many years and we have compared medical treatment between the United States and Canada many times. Not once have any of them ever said they wished they had U.S. medical insurance, nor would any of them ever trade their system for ours.

After seeing what wonderful treatment my mother-in-law received in the Canadian system, I can only say that her treatment was much, much different — and much, much better — than what Ms. Twitchell wrote.

Margaret Ames,


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