In America, people wait in emergency rooms, too, but it’s much worse in Canada. If you’re sick enough to be admitted, the average wait is 23 hours.
“We can’t send these patients to other hospitals. Dr. Eric Letovsky told us. “Every other emergency department in the country is just as packed as we are.”
More than a million and a half Canadians say they can’t find a family doctor. Some towns hold lotteries to determine who gets a doctor. In Norwood, Ontario, “20/20” videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor.
Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery “elective.”
“The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,” she said.