With all my Amercian election fervor recently, new readers might wonder wonder why I don't write about my home country (and the country in which I live), Canada, more often. It's really because (and this is a failing on my part that I'm trying to correct) I don't listen to a lot of Canadian news. I read the newspapers when I'm out for coffee, but that's not every day. But please don't think it's because I'm so patriotic that I won't call my own country on nonsense when I see see it, because I'm not. Nonsense a-plenty is happening here in the North, as the Toronto Star's recent article about discrimination by Ontario health care professionals against people with mental conditions aptly proves.
Let's jump right into this one, shall we?
Ontario Health Care Professionals, Meet Me at Camera Three
Congratulations, Ontario health care professionals. You've really distinguished yourselves here. It takes a special breed of health care professional to say to someone, "Had I known you were crazy, I wouldn't have operated on you," or to leave someone with abdominal pain who actually needed urgent surgery go untreated for ten hours because they're a recovering drug addict.
I'm not saying that every one of Ontario health care professionals would treat a "crazy" person like this...I've been the "crazy" person and been treated with respect and dignity by doctors and nurses...but to those Ontario health care professionals that would treat people with mental conditions in this way, shame on you. And shame on the medical facilities in which you operate, for allowing this sort of discrimination to go on.
I wonder how you all sleep at night.
All of this came to light in a report by Ontario's Human Right's Commission. Commissioner Barbara Hall has a number of ideas for stopping the discriminatory practices as revealed by the report. (See link above)
I'd be interested to hear how the attitudes of the Ontario health care professionals stack up to those of other medical professionals around the country. Something tells me that, like most discriminatory attitudes toward people with disabilities, this isn't something that's isolated to one geographic area, but something with roots deeply embedded in North American society at large (dare I say even Western society at large?)
And I think that's what makes me feel saddest about the whole thing. That it's just a small manifestation of a huge problem to which the solution seems simple (at least to me): Treat people with disabilities the same way that you'd treat people without disabilities. But that doesn't seem at all simple to implement, either policy-wise or in peoples' hearts and minds.
But I guess we all do what we can, right?
Have a great day. :)