Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Too Old for Hip Surgery


Bill Murray waited in pain for more than a year to see a specialist for his arthritic hip. The specialist recommended a “Birmingham” hip resurfacing surgery as the best medical option. But — the government decided that Mr. Murray, who was 57, was “too old” and said no to the surgery. He was informed that he could not have the procedure in the public system, but could pay to have it done and was asked if he was prepared to pay $22,500. His answer was immediate: “I said, ‘Where do I send my cheque?’”

Murray was scheduled to have the same surgery on his right hip the following spring. A week before surgery, he was informed that the surgery would not be permitted for anyone over 55, regardless of whether the patient or Alberta Health paid for the procedure.

Canadian Healthcare Stories: Bill Murray

In October, 2005, Mr. Murray was able to have his hip surgery in Quebec, citing Chaoulli v. Quebec, which struck down a Quebec law forbidding the purchase of private health insurance on the grounds that it violated the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

Read More

  • Alberta Patient Stands Up to Government Prohibition of Health Insurance
  • The Fourth Way
  • Comments

    3 Responses to “Too Old for Hip Surgery”
    1. Just the other day, we had a patient who thought she needed a knee replacement. She would have faced a 13 month wait for an MRI, and who knows how long after that. The MRI showed that she had a baker’s cyst which can be easily treated. If she had been on a 2 year waiting list, what would have happened to the joint in that time? She just went to and got an MRI for $410, and it literally took less than 6 hours from when her chiropractor faxed in the request until the had the MRI read by a radiologist. I still cant understand how some people actually believe that it would have been better to make her wait 2 years and then replace the joint. I would appreciate input on this though.

    2. Lee Kurisko says:

      Because the government pays for health care, they ultimately control it trumping decisions made between doctors and patients. Canadians should not be forced to hand their money over to the government in the form of taxes and then let the government decide for them how that money can be spent. Such a relationship is tantamount to slave and master. Once government pays for and controls your healthcare, your freedom is gone.

    3. Steve says:

      And yet, the vast majority of Canadians support the current system. If they didn’t like it I am guessing they would vote to change it…

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