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Old 11-15-2016, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Southeast Texas
747 posts, read 1,210,573 times
Reputation: 571

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Question from an American about how your healthcare system works.....

Over the weekend while camping with a group of friends, another friend joined us for an evening. She turned the conversation to the recent election and someone said something about moving to Canada. She went on a kind of rant about how she'll never go to Canada again. She told the story of how when she was about 10 or 12 (around 20-ish years ago I guess) her parents took her to Niagara Falls, and her father got really sick with a 108-109*F (roughly 42*C) fever. They went to a Canadian hospital and were refused treatment because they're Americans and not Canadians, and haven't paid into the Canadian healthcare system. The ER doctor apparently told them that they were NOT allowed to treat her father and the best they could do was to give him some ice packs to help stabilize him and for the family to drive as fast as possible to the closest American hospital, which she said was 4-5 hour drive away (??!!), and they might make it there before her father dies if they left right then.

The story just doesn't ring true to me for a number of reasons. Forgetting the geographical errors with Niagara Falls being 4-5 hours away from the closest American hospital, is it true that in a medical emergency, an international tourist will be refused treatment in a Canadian hospital and be sent back home?

I wouldn't expect the treatment to be free, but I would hope that in the event that emergency care is needed that it would be available while visiting Canada.

Like I said, the story doesn't ring true at all to me, but I did want to try and verify that part if possible.
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,490,868 times
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Yes, Canadian hospitals are obliged to treat foreign patients in emergencies. Moreover, treating tourists for non emergencies is common, they'd usually just get a bill at the end. There is an American hospital just over the border from Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Niagara Falls, New York, so the 4-5 hours thing makes no sense, yes
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:27 PM
 
18,273 posts, read 10,374,392 times
Reputation: 13332
Your instincts are accurate and the story is utter bullcrap. As in any other country a medical emergency is treated as such.

Canada likes money just like any other country. Refusing care when any alternate billing procedure has not even been discussed is nonsense. Canada does not refuse care to those who need it. Even refugees get emergency care before provincial insurance kicks in after the usual 3 month or whatever waiting period.

https://www.thestar.com/news/immigra..._refugees.html

Points in contention: 108/9F temps. No medical care facility will send you on your way with that temperature. Flirting with brain damage and any subsequent suit. We have laws.

An elderly WWII RCAF member was visiting my father in law and had a very serious problem develop due to his advanced long term diabetes and the restricted circulation in his lower extremeties. He was admitted and treated to try to stimulate movement of congealed blood that would ultimately result in him having one leg amputated above the knee due to resultant gangrene. The one way valves in his veins were no longer functioning as such so blood pooled and congealed.

In all he was hospitalized in Canada for quite some time and they negotiated a pay program with the U.K. as they would have with any insurance company this girls father was insured by in the U.S. Had he not been insured at all, he still would have been treated as Hospitals are required to by law.

Your friend is either grossly exaggerating the situation or it never happened, period.

Last edited by BruSan; 11-15-2016 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:31 PM
 
2,567 posts, read 1,336,403 times
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Moral of the story, buy travel health insurance when you travel out of the country.
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Old 11-15-2016, 05:43 PM
 
18,273 posts, read 10,374,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Return2FL View Post
Moral of the story, buy travel health insurance when you travel out of the country.

BINGO! Canadians regardless of single payer coverage at home buy travel insurance to augment coverage limited to "what it would cost for similar treatment in Canada" reimbursement disparity to providers in any other country, which can be.......wait for it.......YUUUUGE!
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Old 11-15-2016, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,685 posts, read 8,753,261 times
Reputation: 7299
Quote:
Originally Posted by pnc66 View Post
Question from an American about how your healthcare system works.....

Over the weekend while camping with a group of friends, another friend joined us for an evening. She turned the conversation to the recent election and someone said something about moving to Canada. She went on a kind of rant about how she'll never go to Canada again. She told the story of how when she was about 10 or 12 (around 20-ish years ago I guess) her parents took her to Niagara Falls, and her father got really sick with a 108-109*F (roughly 42*C) fever. They went to a Canadian hospital and were refused treatment because they're Americans and not Canadians, and haven't paid into the Canadian healthcare system. The ER doctor apparently told them that they were NOT allowed to treat her father and the best they could do was to give him some ice packs to help stabilize him and for the family to drive as fast as possible to the closest American hospital, which she said was 4-5 hour drive away (??!!), and they might make it there before her father dies if they left right then.

The story just doesn't ring true to me for a number of reasons. Forgetting the geographical errors with Niagara Falls being 4-5 hours away from the closest American hospital, is it true that in a medical emergency, an international tourist will be refused treatment in a Canadian hospital and be sent back home?

I wouldn't expect the treatment to be free, but I would hope that in the event that emergency care is needed that it would be available while visiting Canada.

Like I said, the story doesn't ring true at all to me, but I did want to try and verify that part if possible.
Next time you see her, tell her, her story is absolutely false and is an insult to the dedicated medical staff in Canada.

Last edited by Natnasci; 11-15-2016 at 06:51 PM..
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Old 11-15-2016, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,490,868 times
Reputation: 4888
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruSan View Post
Your instincts are accurate and the story is utter bullcrap. As in any other country a medical emergency is treated as such.

Canada likes money just like any other country. Refusing care when any alternate billing procedure has not even been discussed is nonsense. Canada does not refuse care to those who need it. Even refugees get emergency care before provincial insurance kicks in after the usual 3 month or whatever waiting period.

https://www.thestar.com/news/immigra..._refugees.html

Points in contention: 108/9F temps. No medical care facility will send you on your way with that temperature. Flirting with brain damage and any subsequent suit. We have laws.

An elderly WWII RCAF member was visiting my father in law and had a very serious problem develop due to his advanced long term diabetes and the restricted circulation in his lower extremeties. He was admitted and treated to try to stimulate movement of congealed blood that would ultimately result in him having one leg amputated above the knee due to resultant gangrene. The one way valves in his veins were no longer functioning as such so blood pooled and congealed.

In all he was hospitalized in Canada for quite some time and they negotiated a pay program with the U.K. as they would have with any insurance company this girls father was insured by in the U.S. Had he not been insured at all, he still would have been treated as Hospitals are required to by law.

Your friend is either grossly exaggerating the situation or it never happened, period.
I would like to expand on this point as a medical professional. 108 fahrenheit is a little over 42 celsius. Anything over 45 minutes at a temperature of 41.5 degrees or higher will result in brain damage, so if he was assessed with this temperature it would qualify as a life threatening medical emergency. An ice bath, dantrolene (to keep him from shivering and thus warming back up) and IV saline would be called for as immediate supportive care in a situation where such severe hyperthermia was present. No reasonable physician would kick someone out of a hospital if they assessed the patient and found them to have this temperature, it would be like refusing care to someone bleeding out from multiple gunshot wounds.
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Old 11-16-2016, 12:06 AM
 
Location: Alberta, Canada
2,172 posts, read 1,752,214 times
Reputation: 2641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Return2FL View Post
Moral of the story, buy travel health insurance when you travel out of the country.
True enough. But as I recall from my days working in the Ontario Ministry of Health (back in the 1980s, admittedly), Ontario physicians and hospitals will accept American health insurance. Of course, Americans should check with their insurer as to whether their particular insurance will be accepted out-of-country. Extra insurance may be necessary.

Regardless, a life-threatening emergency, such as the OP describes and Bimbam confirms, will always be looked after, no questions asked. When it comes to life-threatening emergencies, Canada's physicians and hospitals treat first, and ask questions later.
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Old 11-16-2016, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Southeast Texas
747 posts, read 1,210,573 times
Reputation: 571
Thank you all! I thought that temperature was considered a medical emergency and it just didn't make any sense to me that the doctor(s) would absolutely refuse to treat the friend's father. There were several things in her story that just didn't add up - like the closest American hospital being a 4-5 hour drive away if she was in Niagara Falls. Even if there wasn't a full-fledged hospital on the American side of Niagara Falls, I know Buffalo would have had hospitals and it's definitely NOT that far.

It was supposed to be a fun camping weekend with some friends, which she had kind of crashed. Hubby and I had made it clear that politics was not a welcome subject, and I didn't feel like arguing the point with her at the time. We actually had to tell her several times to knock it off with the politics. She is actually a friend of a friend and is quite the drama queen and fortunately I don't have to associate with her very often.
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Old 11-16-2016, 06:53 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ♥ 🍁 ♥
7,235 posts, read 6,581,911 times
Reputation: 14203
Quote:
She is actually a friend of a friend and is quite the drama queen and fortunately I don't have to associate with her very often.
LOL. Drama queen indeed. What a story that was!

Maybe you should tell your real friend who was also the friend of the drama queen that the drama queen made a complete fool of herself with her preposterous story.

.
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