In your last year, on average, the healthcare system spends about 50% of the total that is spent on you for your entire life. Most of this is because the system is blind to real needs or that your family will do anything, at my expense, to extend your life for another week.
Half the costs of the system are in our own control if we accept our responsibility here. In this one area, we can change everything and so save our society from bankruptcy and give our kids and grand kids a chance.
Time to build up our hospice system I think. Not only add capacity but to build awareness in the community of how it is possible to die with dignity.
I WAS standing by my 89-year-old mother’s hospital bed when she asked a doctor, “Is there anything you can do here to give me back the life I had last year, when I wasn’t in pain every minute?” The young medical resident, stunned by the directness of the question, blurted out, “Honestly, ma’am, no.”
And so Irma Broderick Jacoby went home and lived another year, during which she never again entered a hospital or subjected herself to an invasive, expensive medical procedure. The pain of multiple degenerative diseases was eased by prescription drugs, and she died last November after two weeks in a hospice, on terms determined by explicit legal instructions and discussions with her children — no respirators, no artificial feeding, no attempts to buy one more day for a body that would not let her turn over in bed or swallow without agony.
The hospice room and pain-relieving palliative care cost only about $400 a day, while the average hospital stay costs Medicare over $6,000 a day. Although Mom’s main concern was her comfort and dignity, she also took satisfaction in not running up Medicare payments for unwanted treatments and not leaving private medical bills for her children to pay. A third of the Medicare budget is now spent in the last year of life, and a third of that goes for care in the last month. Those figures would surely be lower if more Americans, while they were still healthy, took the initiative to spell out what treatments they do — and do not — want by writing living wills and appointing health care proxies.
As the aging baby boom generation places unprecedented demands on the health care system, there is little ordinary citizens can do — witness the tortuous arguments in the Supreme Court this week over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act — to influence either the cost or the quality of the treatment they receive. However, end-of-life planning is one of the few actions within the power of individuals who wish to help themselves and their society. Too few Americans are shouldering this responsibility.
So why do we go? Often to have surgery that we don't really need. Often because we have chronic illness that they cannot cure anyway. We think that hospitals are safe and that they are good for us. They are neither. We should go as a last resort.
Dr. Saul co-authored Hospitals and Health with Dr. Steve Hickey, and Dr. Abram Hoffer, the famous Canadian psychiatrist who, in 1953, demonstrated that high doses of niacin could cure schizophrenia and other similar mental disorders.
"Dr. Hoffer, in his study of biochemistry... noted that over the years there had been attempts to treat psychiatric illnesses by communities that didn't have hospitals. One was the Quaker community. And the Quakers, Dr. Hoffer said, found that if they took the mentally ill; put them in a nice house, gave them good food, and gave them compassionate care, they had a 50 percent cure rate," Dr. Saul says.
"Dr. Hoffer commented that drugs have about 10 percent cure rate. He was thinking that drugs might actually be going in the wrong direction, and hospitals give a lot of drugs... When people go into the hospital, they're going to have problems... Statistically, there are so many errors in hospitals that the average works out to one error per patient per day at the minimum. If you're in a hospital for four days, you can expect four medical errors in that time."
According to the 2011 Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Studyii, the incidence rate of medical harm occurring in the United States is estimated to be over 40,000 harmful and/or lethal errors each and EVERY day.
Hospitals have become particularly notorious for spreading lethal infections. In the United States, more than 2 million people are affected by hospital-acquired infections each year, and a whopping 100,000 people die as a result. According to the Health Grades report, analysis of approximately 40 million Medicare patients' records from 2007 through 2009 showed that 1 in 9 patients developed such hospital-acquired infections! The saddest part is, most of these cases could likely have been easily prevented with better infection control in hospitals—simple things such as doctors and nurses washing their hands between each patient, for example.
Hospitals, home and nursing home care account for over one-third of the $2.6 trillion the United States spends for health care.iii This is TRIPLE what we surrender to drug companies. It wouldn't be so bad if we actually received major benefits for this investment, but, as Dr. Saul's book reveals, this oftentimes is not the case...
Gorillas eat veggies but these are converted to fat - they have the digestive system to make this conversion. Converts to 70% fats in energy source
Cows eat grass - but these are converted into fat by their gut bacteria - they consume the bacteria. Cows normally eat no carbs. Converts to 70% fats in energy.
Lion 70% fat too - no carbs
In nature all mammals are designed to eat a high fat diet.
What is it about some dogs? Why do they have such a grip on our hearts? What I do know is that if there is an after life, I don't think I could spend eternity with a person but I would with Jay. His ashes wait for mine.
Today is the start of years of cuts from both the Feds and the Provinces. What will be our response? I think that most of us will get upset and blame the politicians for being bad - meaning that they have taken something away from us. In my own case I look to the OAS as being an important lifeline and would rather the age limit not be extended to 67 as is being talked about.
But before we blame, before I blame, I am looking at what is really going on and why these cuts are being made.
And one situation shines out above all. Our health care system does not make us healthy and as it works now will take us all down financially. By the next election on PEI the health care costs will exceed PEI's total tax revenues. They will cost about $700 million. And if we do nothing to change this, the load from our chronic illness will drive this to $1.5 billion in another 5 years. Just as most of us will be retired. Just as we will no longer be able to borrow. Just as the Feds will be cutting back even more.
There is no easy way out of this.
This is why there have to be cuts to roads, to schools and to everything else. We will end up like Greece - with a hollow state and a broken society.
So what to do? Do we continue to blame government and to give to government the responsibility for our health? Or do we grow up and take responsibility for ourselves? For the truth is most of the chronic illness that we get can be avoided and even reversed, if we knew a few simple things and then did the hard work of living differently.
We can stop this increase. We can pull the costs right back. We have the power to do this and no one else does. We can protect our society.
We can really love our children.
Our children already face challenges that we never did. There are no jobs. They cannot get housing. The ones that went to university are burdened with debt. The ones that did not have no chance. We have given them a massive national and provincial debt. And now we expect them to look after us when we are old.
Islanders and Canadians are surely better than that? Would you deliberately choose to make your kids pay for our bad choices? Will you be fine going to your deathbed knowing that you chose to waste society's slender resources because you were not prepared to find out and then to act to look after your self?
Our great grand parents did not act like that. They worked hard to look after themselves. They acted in community to make our province and our nation great. They went to war to make a better world. What have we done as a generation that is great? I think nothing.
I think that this is 1939 all over again. The time for hoping that the looming threat will somehow go away is past. Now the fiscal crisis that has been 50 years in the making is upon us. We are in a state of war. And the enemy is us!
Our health is not in the hands of the health care system. It is in our own hands. And we can improve our health by taking action ourselves. The rules for doing that are simple but the change is hard because it means living differently. It means above all eating differently. Being hard, like giving up smoking or drink, we will need the help of each other. We will need the help of our spouse, of our friends and family. They will need our help too.
This can be a time for greatness. We can die at the end knowing that we were part of something wonderful. We can get connected in a way that we only could dream of before. Our kids would then have a rich example for how to live a good life.
I am a few others have started to live differently. It is possible and it does not take more money. I do feel great and I look so much better. And my kids know that I am doing my very best to avoid giving me to them as their problem. They have their own kids to worry about and they don't need me. My wife and I feel that we are being grown up for maybe the first time in our lives - and we are in our 60's. It is not too late.
So as we hear about the cuts and as we hear about what will happen to PEI after it's budget what will be your response? Will it just be blame? Or will you ask what is going on and what you can do to make a difference?
Ask what your granny might think of your choice? Ask what your kids will think of you.
O’LEARY – A new biomass heating unit at Community Hospital will save the provincial government $100,000 annually on heating costs, and it didn’t cost the government a penny to have it installed.
Wood4Heating purchased and installed the high-tech boiler from Austrian manufacturer Binder and purchases the wood chips from Arsenault’s Sawmill.
The company maintains ownership of the boiler and charges the provincial government for the heat it supplies to the hospital.
The O’Leary boiler is the first of five the provincial government is having installed across P.E.I. Wood4Heating will start installing similar boiler systems at Bluefield and Three Oaks high schools this summer to have them ready for operation by the fall.
Another company will provide units for M.E. Callaghan and Hernewood schools.
“We’re saving $100,000 a year just in our heating expenses and hot water expenses at this facility,” said O’Leary-Inverness MLA and Tourism Minister Robert Henderson. “ It makes us look much more viable and sustainable into the long term.”
This is surely the way to go - this is how we started with wind
Here is a delighful short documentary by the BBC on the Tube Map. The breakthrough in its design by Harry Beck is that it focused not on the reality of the geography - that is so complex - but on making the links and connections very clear. You as a travellor always know where to go and how to get there. Here is a nice link to more information.
Here is the 1933 Map
As I watched this I started to wonder about whether this principle might apply to mapping social networks?
Islanders last year were waiting longer for hip replacement, knee replacement and cataract surgery.
In 2011, only 55 per cent of Islanders received knee replacement surgery within the benchmark of 182 days compared to 75 per cent nationally.
Much of knee surgery has to take place because people are overweight. Imagine putting say 60lbs of bricks in a back pack and carrying that around all day. I too had very painful knees - when I was fat. Robin was worse. She was overweight and had had chemo that had made her knees very painful. Robin was taking very powerful anti inflammatories. We were both making our mind up to go on the list.
We have both lost a lot of weight. We did this by giving up food that causes inflammation - grains. She is off her meds completely and both of us are out of pain and are walking well.
We are not looking to have our knees fixed by surgery. We have done it ourselves.
Is knee surgery essential as a first step? 12,000 Canadians die every year from problems caused by being in hospital. This is major surgery that can have all sorts of complications. It's also no guarantee. Knee surgery, unlike hip, is not a sure thing. If you are fat and you have it done, the underlying cause of your problems has not been addressed and you will have to have it done again. My mum has had 3 sets done and is crippled as a result. She also had a massive infection and almost died.
As you can see, I am not saying that I and my family are so great. But I do speak from experience. I think we all will do well to step back from surgery and ask what else can we do that has less risk, less cost and more assurance.
It's a question that we also should ask on behalf of everyone else. Why should I ask other citizens to pay for a procedure to help me when I can do most of the best and safest work to help myself?