Crisis of Conscience

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Doctor likens current situation to Abu Ghraib

Eyebrows raised and jaws dropped this week, when Health Minister Ross Wiseman said that our health care system was not in crisis, and actually complained that the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association was using the word opportunistically.

He asked the medical association to stop using the word, accusing them of creating a false impression of crisis to soften us up for the next round of collective bargaining.

Wiseman would never use such a word would he?

He certainly would, and used it constantly in the months before his government was elected. Labradore has been compiling some news clips on this subject, and they make for illuminating reading.

In the meantime, I asked my contacts within Eastern Health how they feel about Wiseman's comments. Are they relieved to hear that there's no crisis?

In the following reply, a doctor compared their own personal crisis of conscience with how it must have felt to witness the inhumanities committed at Abu Ghraib prison:

I looked up crisis in the concise Oxford Dictionary; it says "turning point; especially of disease" which is quite apt under the circumstances. Crisis is over-used because to be correct it would indicate a change in the government's approach to the health care system as a whole.

Some people are saying that this is just a money grab from Doctors and now they are making crises where there are none. It reminds me of Abu Ghraib to a certain extent. When I looked at the pictures of the soldiers in Abu Ghraib, everyone wondered how could they do that and not say anything and what were they thinking?

In healthcare it is somewhat similar in that you get so used to things not being done as they should that it becomes "normal". You raise your voice, you go through the right channels and nothing happens and you're told to just put up with the way things are. When something like the Cameron inquiry happens then you get all these people roaring that the hormone receptor testing is not the only area where the wheels are falling off. So do we roar or do we just go back to trying to hobble things together and hope no other major disaster occurs?

I have heard that there are intense talks going on behind the scenes between the provincial government and the medical association, with a view to stemming the non-existent crisis. Things are either going to get better or a lot worse in the days ahead.

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Recent comments

  • Frank
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    I'm not going to comment on the controversy itself, but I think this is an example of the power of citizen journalism. Many eyes see more than the relative few who enjoy the privilege of being mainstream journalists. Editorializing aside, Labradore has provided important context to the political side of this story. Now, I'm assuming the mainstream journalists will point out this apparent discrepancy between Wiseman's past use of the term crisis and his current disdain for it - and ask the minister for an explanation.