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    Allan Rock is lost in the dark

    The proposal to establish an alternative medicine training centre in Hamilton at a cost of $100 million makes it painfully apparent that our federal officials have lost all perspective with respect to the needs of Canadians suffering with genuine illness and disability.

    These politicians need to be reminded of the reality of the human condition in our country. We must also seriously question the commitment of these elected officials to the provision of necessary health care to our citizens and note their striking inability to responsibly use our tax dollars.

    Will the Honorable Allan Rock, Minister of Health please come to the small rural community of Pefferlaw to give his condolences to the widow of a 58 year old man who suffered a fatal heart attack the night before his scheduled bypass surgery? He had been on a waiting list for 6 months. Mr. Minister, how many additional cardiac surgical units could be funded by $100 million? Will you tell her how that money is being spent? Would the Honorable Minister have to wait for 6 months if he should ever require a heart operation?

    Will the Heritage Minister Sheila Copps please explain to my 64 year old patient why her lumpectomy can't be scheduled for 4 weeks even though we know her breast lump is malignant and she is fit for surgery? YOU can tell her and her family not to worry because you can guarantee her that the delay will make no difference to her survival. They are sick with fear and are unable to eat or sleep. Could you also inform them of the health care dollars being allocated by the federal government to fix an eyesore in Hamilton? How many operating rooms can be reopened with $100 million? Would the Honorable Minister take her place in the queue if she should ever need breast surgery?

    Will the MP from Toronto, Dennis Mills stay awake all night, every night, in order to provide comfort to the beautiful adolescent that I have cared for since her birth? She has developed a rapidly progressive severe scoliosis and will require the urgent placement of rods to straighten her back. The degree of curvature is increasing at an alarming rate and will soon compromise the function of her lungs and heart. The pain will not allow her to sleep even though she takes the painkillers that I have prescribed. The first available appointment with the surgeon is more than two months away. I don't know when she will be able to have her operation. If $100 million was added to the pediatric surgery department at the Hospital for Sick Children, when do you think she would be able to have her surgery? I sincerely hope that a child of the Member for Toronto never has to wait months to have an essential operation for a curable and potentially life-threatening condition.

    The situations described above, once rare, are now commonplace in all parts of Canada.

    Will the herbs, vitamins, lotions, potions and tinctures resurrected from the dark ages by the federal government clear blocked arteries, cure cancer or straighten the back of the lovely fourteen year old? How can any responsible,compassionate Canadian support this federal proposal? It appears that many in power who profess to be preserving our access to health care are instead dismantling what is left through diversion and gross mismanagement of funds.

    The ethnic issue raised is a ruse and prejudicial in my opinion. Illness does not discriminate. Regardless of race, religion, education, financial status or political position we will all require care for a serious illness or injury at some time in our lives.

    The citizens of Hamilton would be far better served if the federal government used tax dollars to improve local access to necessary, effective, timely health care. That would be a platform worthy of re-election Ms. Copps.

    Patricia Marchuk
    Family Physician
    Pefferlaw, Ontario