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Let the Canadian doctors stay home

Yesterday I had a long conversation with my dear friend Tom.

Polonia w Toronto
Polonia w Toronto

Tom is one of the most distinguished Polish community activists in Canada, he has been living in Toronto for several decades. He has hundreds, if not thousands of its own, brilliant initiatives that have been used by both immigrants and those born in Canada. Since arriving in Toronto, Tom has devoted himself completely, he was absorbed in life and cooperation with the Polish community in Canada – people like you and me. Dozens, if not hundreds of times, he personally looked after the most distinguished guests from Poland, often hosting them at his doorstep. He showed them Canada and North America. He is a person who helped others in every situation.

Now Tom needs help. There should be a change in Canada for Tom and his ilk. Diametrical and strategic. Epochal! Now!

Tom’s health has deteriorated greatly in recent weeks.

His experiences with the Toronto & Ontario health service are unbelievable.

Because the medicines and care provided by his GP, by the (probably) oldest Polish doctor in Toronto, no longer had been helping him, and due to the pain he was close to losing consciousness, he went to St Joseph’s Hospital in the heart of the oldest Polish district of Roncesvalles Ave in Toronto.

The paranoia of the current situation is that all the attention and focus of doctors and healthcare professionals is only on the potential for Covid-19 development.

From the point of view of those at the bottom, such as you and me, is this not a sign of ignorance at the levels governing the system?

I learned from Tom’s story that most of the doctors at this hospital work … from home. By phone. After the operation is completed, if the patient is lucky enough to get it, further contact with the doctor is only possible by phone. It was not possible to find Canadian doctors of vocation at St Joseph’s Hospital who, whether on the battlefield or in war, under rifle fire or bomb strikes, provide aid to the sick and the neediest.

Canada’s comfort.

Canadian doctors operate out of their own comfort in their own apartment, and Tom and his ilk are left to… to whom?

Tom told me that he was contacted by two (I think) doctors or “essentian care” workers, whatever their qualifications, who had just arrived in Canada. He’s not quite sure who they were by profession, but they were supposed to get him a morphine.

The first essential care worker massacred his arm, failed to insert the needle and gave up.

A second essential care worker inserted the needle and connected the drip.

After a while, a senior Canadian superior came and asked the latter if he had ever been to a waterfall? He said yes. She asked further, how is the water flowing from the waterfall, bottom-up or top-down? After a moment’s thought he replied that it was top-down. She then asked, “So why did you put the drip on as if the fluid was going from the bottom up?” He corrected his mistake. She left. The friend was struggling with thoughts: will I survive? who actually takes care of me? and what happened to this once-famous healthcare in Ontario and Canada?

The friend is alive, the drip with morphine relieved him. However, he still has a long way to go before he recovers. That’s why he and many other people with severe illnesses need to change now!

Lying in hospital bed, Tom heard how an elderly Polish woman – Canadian with Polish descent from one of the oldest waves of emigration to Canada, probably just after the WWII, was unable to communicate in English due to pain, she spoke only Polish. A person living in exile, in the most serious disease and pain, returns “automatically” to his/her mother tongue, which he/she used when he/she was a child. It doesn’t matter that 90 years have passed since then. This is how our brain is built. It’s good that this lady had a daughter with her who translated for her. Who knows if she would have survived without her and with no communication in Polish available on the spot – because the hospital in the center of Toronto’s oldest Polish district does not have Polish-speaking staff or even an interpreter. It does not have it because the system allows it.

This conversation with the friend of mine made me realize that by sitting with folded arms, we will not achieve anything.

I decided to start with myself and wrote this article.

What is my vision of improving the situation?

Allow Canadian doctors to heal over the phone and allow European doctors to come and treat you and me in hospitals in Canada.

Great Britain and Germany quickly attracted tens of thousands of doctors and nurses from Poland. Poland experienced the “brain drain”. The healthcare system has not collapsed. After all, it works much better than the system in Canada. Let’s learn from Poles.

What did they do to “patch the hole”?

Poland has decided to quietly become the number one country in the European Union that will attract the largest number of immigrants. In recent years, over 3 million Ukrainians alone have lived in Poland. Poland allows a fast path of immigration to anyone who wants to work in Poland and comes from any country in Europe, but outside of the European Union. The condition is a statement from the city hall that a specific company (e.g. a hospital) offers a job for a woman/man from Ukraine. Simple? Can be done?

Thanks to a flexible approach in managing the strategy, e.g. in healthcare and openness to immigrants, the Polish healthcare system, despite being overburdened by the Covid-19 waves, may be an example for Canada.

Canada: stop bureaucracy because people suffer and die, open up to all Europeans! Toronto residents need doctors and health care personnel who speak European languages, i.e., Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Lithuanian, Italian, Greek and Portuguese.

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