What does an overwhelmed health care system look like?


In Manitoba Today recently, we have learned the hard way what it means for a health care system to be overwhelmed. Our Premier and Chief Medical Officer of health have been warning about it. Now we know.

Manitoba, a small province, recently had 8 deaths from Covid-19 one day. 28 Covid-19 patients from Intensive Care Units in Manitoba have been transferred out of Manitoba for health care, because our health care system can’t care for all Manitoban’s needing health care. 1 Covid-19 patient died while being transferred to Ontario.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported about a young woman who had lump detected on her lung in March, but she has not been able to arrange for surgery because the medical staff and facilities are too busy to handle her case. My wife Christiane has a brain aneurism which was detected in January and it is urgent that she get surgery because it could burst at any time, but  so far she has not been able to arrange a date for surgery.  As the Winnipeg Free Press said, “thousands of Manitobans are waiting on procedures for conditions that aren’t currently life-threatening, but are significantly affecting quality of life.”

A cardiac surgeon recently said a cardiac patient died waiting for surgery that was delayed on account of Covid-19 issues. He said 5 other patients died under similar conditions.

According to Dylan Robertson of the Winnipeg Free Press, “In the first wave, Manitoba delayed at least 5,300 surgeries, though some estimates have the figure closer to 12,000.” Manitoba has already been postponing elective surgeries for quite some time. As Robertson added,

“Doctors across Canada have warned that delaying care is causing mental health issues, putting people on painkillers that could breed addiction and risking children outgrowing the period for surgeries needed to prevent life- long problems.”


Imagine the horror you would feel if you brought a loved one to the hospital and saw her or him flown out of province for care.

Think about the pain and suffering of people who don’t die or perhaps are not even in the hospital yet suffer from the effects of Covid-19. I know people in that situation.

Yes, I think we have learned what an overwhelmed health care system looks like.

In my next post I will explain how different churches are dealing with it.

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