Famous, for all the wrong reasons

Doug Ford and the Conservative Party have revealed their utter contempt for public safety, for Canada’s healthcare system, for science.


Today was a very sad day for Ontario. Reuters News Agency headlined the fact that our Intensive Care Units are at breaking point, and that, as warned by 130 or so ICU physicians, we will soon reach the point of life-or-death triage: when physicians will have to decide, via a protocol, who will receive critical care and live, and who will receive palliative care and die.

Patients are being sent out of Toronto; the world-famous Hospital for Sick Children is preparing a new ICU to deal with adult patients with Covid-19. This is mind-boggling.

I just watched a terrifying interview on TVOntario.org with two intensive care physicians, Dr. Michael Warner (Michael Garron Hospital) and Dr. Shelly Dev (Sunnybrook Hospital).

They discuss their burnout after 14 months of dealing with Covid-19. More disturbingly, they reveal their anxiety and fear over this third wave.

What you must take away is that, in Ontario, THIS IS NOT THE SAME PANDEMIC as it was in the first or even second waves. This is a new disease, because of the variants that have arisen.

An open letter to Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, and Christine Elliott, Health Minister, revealed that the Ford Government’s strategy, unbelievably, has not been to contain the virus or its new variants.

It has been to use the capacity of ICU’s as a gauge to measure the “success” of their strategy. We’ve seen this is the half-hearted “lockdowns”, hardly enforced; we’ve seen it in the refusal to consider a provincial paid sick leave policy, which leaves workers of all kinds vulnerable (Dr Warner described cases, resulting in death, where factory workers, fearing loss of pay, went to work against their will, were infected, and passed that on to their families. Cases where bosses demanded attendance at work unnecessarily, resulting in a young man of 31 ended up fighting for life in an ICU.)

The pig-headed and illogical emphasis on “business” and “the economy” has meant flip flopping continually: opening up, closing down, opening up, locking down… when the focus should have been on health and containment, as well as vaccination.

No wonder people have become skeptical. Yet a nasty strain of anti-science and of self-centredness has also been revealed.

Dr Dev was forthright about her hatred of the lockdown, of social distancing, of mask-wearing. She’s only human, after all. “But I hate seeing people die more.”

She recalled how, in the first wave, it was easier to rationalize that the victims were elderly or had pre-existing conditions. Not any more.

Now the people she see’s in ICU are – you and me. All ages. All states of health. Suddenly cut down. She is terrified.

She, and Dr Warner, she emphasized, are not just physicians: they are also partners, friends, sons and daughters; they are like us. Dr Warner, pale, his eyes heavy with exhaustion, his affect low and almost robotic, recounts crying on his way to work. Burnout and its effect on care: this we haven’t considered.

There at three things we all can do.

1.

Whether you think the pandemic is overrated or not, social distance. Wear your mask. Obey the lockdown. Whether you save one life or 100,000, suck it up. Sure, it’s difficult, but it still needs to be done.

2.

Check your eligibility for vaccination and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

3.

Next provincial election, vote out the fucking bastards Doug Ford and the whole sorry, bungling murderous lot of conservatives who have decimated families and changed our status from healthcare frontrunners to failures, and given the enemies of our healthcare system ammunition to destroy it.

Shame on Ontario. You used to be great. Doug Ford and his POS brother, thankfully no longer with us, have so much misery and death on their hands due to their ideology of privilege and sheer stupidity, it boggles my mind.

So three fucking cheers for “the economy”. You know, the economy with no customers, because they’re all dead.

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(View the interview on TVO.org; opens in a new tab.)

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