Saturday, July 16, 2011

Torn-The Good and Bad of our Healthcare System

This is kind of an unscheduled post. I was having a great conversation with a good "interweebs" friend of mine last night and again this morning about my blog. She said my posts are starting to remind her of her experiences with healthcare. Her bad experiences. And she lives in the United States.

While she wasn't in anyway criticizing what I was saying but it struck a giant chord with me. It's been bothering me the last week or so as I've written many of these posts and in doing so have re-read my journal and iPhone notes about my hospital experiences. It does sound more negative than positive. And I hate being that person, although I do believe I've been objective in communicating what my experiences were. I have not gone out of my way to be negative (I've just been honest) and have tried to highlight the great people and treatment I've had along the way.

It's tough and I've grappled with these feelings from the day I was admitted to the hospital as a kidney donor. I love our Healthcare system. I am thankful for it, grateful and appreciate we are very lucky as a country to be able to sustain such a system. Sure, in places like the US where healthcare isn't "free" there might be pockets of extraordinary healthcare but that is often at the expense of other pockets of their communities that are almost criminally under served. I want to be clear-I believe in our system and how it works. There are always ways to grow and improve any organization and I don't think we should shy away from that.

I did however receive some pretty craptastic care and attitude at the hands of medical professionals who are a part of that system. I don't want to point fingers but it was more often than not the nurses and the administration. I don't know if that was a result of something in our healthcare system that does not allow them to excel in their professions or if its just a case of me having bad luck and getting a few bad apples. I'm also not sure if my somewhat "foreign" presence on the trauma ward was part of the cause of the sometimes bad care I received. If that is the case, that is an easier fix with the development of a stronger, more efficient living donor process which I know the Living Donor program is deeply committed to.

I guess I just didn't want this blog to become a bitchfest about our healthcare system as a whole or make it become about the crappy treatment I received from time to time after donating Leftie. I especially don't want to deter other donors from donating thinking they will have the same treatment. I know in my case, the Living Donor program is very interested in all the ups AND downs I experienced (and asked me to be sure to blog about them) so that they can take steps to fix them for the next guy or gal who wants to donate. And I really do believe that they will do everything in their power to make those changes. They are really great people and their hearts are in this 100%. And to me that counts for a lot.

So please don't use this as a tool to blast our healthcare system and say that its broken o it doesn't work and we need something else. And certainly don't be deterred by some of my bumps in the road if you want to donate in Canada. It still is worth it and you will get the care you need.

That being said if you are from Alberta Health Services and/or Foothills Hospital-you aren't fully off the hook. I want you to do well-I am rooting for you. Take my experiences and see what you can do to make it better for the next person in my place or for the next patient in general. Remind your people why they do what they do. Remember we all end up as patients one day.



  1. very well said Lauren!

  2. I think it's very important that you be candid about your experience. As a person who was thinking about being a living donor, it was hard to find people writing about what really happens. And we do have choices about where we donate...and some hospitals do have better track records than others. It might be a black eye for the hospital...but they deserved it. Maybe it will help them reconsider what it feels like to be a patient who is ignored when they are most helpless. That said, I had an excellent experience in a different Canadian hospital.

  3. Hi Carol...Thanks for your comment. It was important to me to be candid and it was appreciated by the hospital. I was a bit of a learning curve for them process wise (not medically!) and they were very open to my feedback

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