Slowly they rise

… step by step, inch by inch… the MSM awakens, stretches, lumbers out of the bedroom and, pushing past the furious discussion already in progress in the kitchen, puts on the coffee, stumbles to the bathroom for the Morning Ablutions, returns to the kitchen, clears its throat and joins the discussion:

A U.S. ad featuring an Ontario woman who spoke out against the Canadian health-care system may be exaggerating the severity of her condition, say medical experts.

Excellent, some professional opinions.

Shona Holmes has appeared in U.S. ads saying she had to go to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona to be treated for a rare type of cyst at the base of her brain — a Rathke’s cleft cyst. She mortgaged her home and paid $100,000 to be treated there because getting care in Canada involved a six-month wait, she said. She is currently suing OHIP to recoup those costs.  […]

Dr. Rolando Del Maestro says the lesion Holmes was diagnosed with is benign, and usually slow-growing. It typically does not require urgent attention, he said.

Unfortunately, the story goes on to repeat Holmes’ bogus claim that the Mayo Clinic doctors said her cyst…

would cause death if not removed immediately.

Memo to CBC — Use the Googles.

Although we can’t know 100% because the medical records aren’t public, it’s almost certain that Holmes was diagnosed with a benign cyst in Ontario:  her treatment there just doesn’t fit the profile of someone diagnosed with a life-threatening condition:

But neurosurgeon Michael Schwartz of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital says he’s never seen or heard of a death from a Rathke’s cyst. He told CBC News symptoms can be alleviated if the cyst is drained or part of it removed to take pressure off the optic nerve. “Then the person’s vision almost always improves.

“If somebody called me about a patient that was losing her vision or had a structural abnormality of the brain I would see them within days.”

This whole story is very murky.  Although Holmes’ health care choices are obviously her own to make, given that she’s taking an enthusiastic run at our health care system with her lawsuit, I think it’s fair to wonder:

*Why the Mayo Clinic in Arizona rather than somewhere closer?

*Why did she launch a lawsuit to recover her costs rather than just let Ontario complete their investigation to confirm the treatment was necessary (standard operating procedure when they’re billed for out-of-country medical expenses), rubberstamp her bill and pay it out?  Was she worried that her Mayo Clinic treatment might not make the cut?

*Why doesn’t CBC talk about the Canadian Constitutional Foundation, a right-wing charitable organization who’s bankrolling Holmes’ lawsuit in the hope that a court challenge will eventually result in all of Canada being “gifted” with a health care system where we’d have to re-mortgage our homes to get benign cysts removed (those of us who have homes to re-mortgage, that is)?


It’s no secret that Holmes and her spurious claims about her condition have been bought and paid for by private insurance pimps to fight health care reform in the US.  How did that all come about?  Maybe Canada’s MSM could use its vast resources to explore the vile and seamy background of this story, rather than just repeating what bloggers have already dug up.

(h/t ACR and CC)

8 Responses to “Slowly they rise”

  1. 1 Dan Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 2:52 am

    I guess if we could all get jobs as high-paid US lobbyists then Healthcare would be affordable 😉

  2. 2 Anne Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Discouraging to read my fellow Canadians are still blasting Shona Holmes. If the shoe was on the other foot, and those being so cruel to her were losing their vision, would they wait in line or go out of country? I would leave Canada to seek medical care in the US, or elsewhere, because my eyesight happens to of importance to me.

  3. 3 deBeauxOs Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Shona Holmes is not being blasted for her very human desire to be healed, and to receive prompt medical attention.

    These are the basic facts: She lied about the nature of her medical condition, and she is being paid to lie by a rightwing conservative organization that has a vested interest in preventing the development of a public health care system in the US.

  4. 4 mouthyorange Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    … and that’s in cahoots with a rightwing conservative organization that has a vested interest in dismantling public health care in Canada.

  5. 5 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Dan – Yeah but even then we couldn’t be sure that one of the people the insurance companies employ full time to figure out ways to screw policyholders wouldn’t find a way to get that incentive bonus by denying us coverage.

  6. 6 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Anne – If Shona’s vision was in that much imminent jeopardy, she could have gone to Arizona and gotten her treatment and billed OHIP and been paid back for it without taking an extended detour with the Private Insurance Lobby’s rolling roadshow.

    The fact that she chose to use her experience to campaign in favour of denying 50million Americans health care coverage is bad enough — that she’s launched a lawsuit that puts OUR healthcare in danger is reason for her to earn my everlasting enmity.

  7. 7 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    deBeauxOs – As I said to Anne, Shona could have jumped the cue with OHIP’s blessing and reimbursement if her condition was that serious.

    This is why I want to know more about how this all got started. I think she was talked into it. By someone.

  8. 8 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    orange – Exactly. To me, that means deguello

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