Second Opinion

John Dorn is a retired tech entrepreneur living in Summerland.

I was trying really hard to avoid writing a column about COVID-19, but it seems as if there are no other newsworthy events occurring anywhere.

The handling of the pandemic crisis in the United States has been a disaster. As of the day I am writing, the U.S. has roughly a third of all confirmed cases and a third of all deaths. Other than the obvious cause being the ineptness of the Trump administration, there are some other underlying influences.

The American culture of individualism and self-reliance does not work well during a pandemic. Their distrust of government fostered by President Ronald Reagan still lingers to this day.

The lack of co-operation between levels of government is a result of states’ rights being enshrined in the American constitution. This is a disaster if a state or municipality requires help from a woefully unprepared federal

government.

What should be of concern to Canadians is the lack of a meaningful public-health scheme in the U.S. It is a mish-mash of “public” and private hospitals. The public hospitals by far burdened by the sheer numbers of COVID- infected citizens while private hospitals

pursue profits.

We could slip into this quagmire if a court case launched by Dr. Brian Day in 2016 is decided in his favour. We await the decision from the BC Supreme Court, although any decision is likely to be appealed to the federal Supreme Court.

Day is an orthopedic surgeon who legally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver in 1996.He said he opened the

centre to create more operating-room time for surgeons who

couldn’t get it from public

hospitals. However, the facility has been operating since 2003 in violation of un-proclaimed

provisions of the provincial Medicare Protection Act.

A privately-run medical clinic obviously takes medical professionals out of the public system which is a bad idea during a pandemic. You may say a knee surgeon is not very useful during the COVID-19 crisis, but keep in mind a private clinic also takes nurses and anesthetists away as well. To defend the private clinics, they could be offering elective surgery to those who can afford it, during the crisis while our public system has deferred elective surgeries.

If Dr. Day is successful in his court case, it will legalize a two-tier public health care

system which is bad in the best of times, and worse during a pandemic as our southern neighbours are encountering.

Overall, my experience with the B.C. health system has been positive. When I needed eye surgery for a detached retina, it was a next- day operation. When an MRI was required to diagnose a knee injury, I had to wait eight months. (Hopefully this wait time is less with new equipment at Penticton Regional Hospital.) I had the opportunity of a private MRI in Kelowna, but refused on philosophical grounds. Knee surgery was only a month after the MRI results. (Thanks Dr. Justin Naude.) When the chips are down our medical system comes through.

In a different court case, that of the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to the United States, maybe the judge could rule in favour of Ms. Meng as the U.S. is just too dangerous and the border is rightfully closed.

In the meanwhile, stay at home and don’t drink bleach.

John Dorn is a retired entrepreneur who resides in Summerland.