Writing in the New York Post, Dr. Cory Franklin concurs with my assertion that Canada’s government-run health care system may have been a contributing factor in the death of actress Natasha Richardson.
I wrote a few days ago that Richardson, after she received a head injury at a Quebec ski resort, received the same kind of treatment anyone in Quebec would have received, and now she’s dead at the age of 45 because Quebec didn’t have something as basic as a medical helicopter system.
Dr. Franklin points out that Canadian health care bureaucrats have to ration care and don’t authorize the purchase of much of the technology that is commonplace in the U.S.:
What would have happened at a US ski resort? It obviously depends on the location and facts, but according to a colleague who has worked at two major Colorado ski resorts, the same distance from Denver as Mt. Tremblant is from Montreal, things would likely have proceeded differently.
Assuming Richardson initially declined medical care here as well, once she did present to caregivers that she was suffering from a possible head trauma, she would’ve been immediately transported by air, weather permitting, and arrived in Denver in less than an hour.
If this weren’t possible, in both resorts she would’ve been seen within 15 minutes at a local facility with CT scanning and someone who could perform temporary drainage until transfer to a neurosurgeon was possible.
If she were conscious at 4 p.m., she’d most likely have been diagnosed and treated about that time, receiving care unavailable in the local Canadian hospital. She might’ve still died or suffered brain damage but her chances of surviving would have been much greater in the United States.
American medicine is often criticized for being too specialty-oriented, with hospitals “duplicating” too many services like CT scanners. This argument has merit, but those criticisms ignore cases where it is better to have resources and not need them than to need resources and not have them.