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Thursday, 11 October, 2007

More Canadian moms sent to US for deliveries

Remember Karen Jepp, the Calgary mother of quadruplets who was airlifted to Great Falls, Montana to give birth because no Alberta hospital had the room or the staff to handle her case? (Read Canadian Medicine's coverage from and .)

Well, Fox News is that at least 40 British Columbian mothers of premature infants have been flown to hospitals in Seattle, Everett and Spokane in the neighbouring state of Washington. And, strangely, some of those mothers have been sent by plane to Alberta.

Here's an excerpt of what Fox had to say:

Canada's socialized health care system, hailed as a model by Michael Moore in his documentary, "Sicko," is hurting, government officials admit, citing not enough money for more equipment and staff to handle high risk births.

Sarah Plank, a spokeswoman for the British Columbia Ministry of Health, said a spike in high risk and premature births coupled with the lack of trained nurses prompted the surge in mothers heading across the border for better care.

"The number of transfers in previous years has been quite low," Plank told "Before this recent spike we went for more than a year with no transfers to the U.S., so this is something that is happening in other provinces as well."

Critics say these border crossings highlight the dangers of a government-run health care system.

"The Canadian healthcare system has used the United States as a safety net for years," said Michael Turner of the Cato Institute. "In fact, overall about one out of every seven Canadian physicians sends someone to the United States every year for treatment."
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