Health care horror story: Lindsay McCreith

One of the major downsides of Canada’s socialized health care system is that you might die while waiting for care. Lindsay McCreith is the plaintiff in a case challenging Canada’s government monopoly on health care provision and insurance with the Canadian Constitution Foundation.

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Ontario’s healthcare monopoly almost killed Lindsay McCreith. After suffering a seizure in January of 2006, the 66-year-old retired auto body shop owner from Newmarket was told he had a brain tumour. But he would have to wait four-and-one-half months to obtain an MRI to rule out the possibility that it was cancerous. Unwilling to risk the progression of what might be cancer, Mr. McCreith obtained an MRI in Buffalo, which revealed the brain tumour was malignant. Even with this diagnosis in hand, the Ontario system still refused to provide timely treatment, so Mr. McCreith had surgery in Buffalo to remove the cancerous brain tumour in March of 2006.

In Ontario, Mr. McCreith would have waited eight months for surgery, according to his family doctor. Eight months is quite enough time for a cancer to worsen, spread and progress to an irreversible stage. Had Mr. McCreith not paid $27,600 (USD) out-of pocket for immediate medical care, he might be dead today.

“The government’s healthcare monopoly would have killed me. I’m taking this to court with the goal of ensuring that other Canadians will not have to die on waiting lists, or even run the risk of death.” - Lindsay McCreith