Yes, I could have used a picture of the hospital - just be glad I'm not using a 'before' photo

How's Healthcare Working?

It had been a very long time since I'd seen the inside of a Canadian hospital - not since before my return to the country, in fact. And with some of the horror stories I'd been hearing (mostly, it must be said, from proponents of two-tier healthcare) about the level of service going on inside them, I was hoping to keep it that way.

So it was naturally with more than a small bit of apprehension then that I checked myself into Emergency at the Toronto Western Hospital Saturday. That I had a four centimetre hole in my leg however, more than helped me get over any fears I may have had.

I hobbled in expecting the worst: a two month wait-time for stitches; dogs growling their way to the front of the MRI line; and a SARS infected greeter at the door coughing on me. I experienced none of that.

From the time I entered the building until I left was only a few minutes over three hours - not bad, given that it was nearly midnight, and that there were plenty of people much worse off than I was. For entertainment, I had a slew of magazines plus Hockey Night In Canada (Oilers versus the Blackhawks, if you must know). The doctor came in, did her diagnosis, sitched me up, and sent me on my way. No muss, no fuss, all good.

It was not until the next morning that I realized how lucky I was. If I was in the US, I wouldn't have a safety net like OHIP protecting me. It's doubtful, given my employment (no offence blogTO) that I would have medical insurance. I did some checking around, and the five stiches put into my leg at a hospital emergency room would have probably run me about US$900 - and that's not even including getting them taken out. Our system isn't perfect - there's plenty of places to improve - but at least I didn't have to choose between having my leg fixed and eating for the week.

That eases the pain considerably.

Hopefully this is just going to be a one off - however should I find myself playing around with a boxcutter again, I'll make sure to do a review of a different hospital for next time.

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