Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oh Canada! I Stand On Guard For Thee

One of the most arrogant pieces of ass-hattery coming from the right wing anti-healthcare reform crowd is the allegation that there have been no great medical innovations in countries Not America. It’s our innovation, sparked by the Glorious Free Hand Of The Market, you see, which saves lives.


Today Sen. Bob Corker took that particularly noxious “America! Fuck Yeah!” myth and brought it to new heights of arrogance with today’s WTF moment:
During a hearing of the Special Committee on Aging, the Tennessee Republican told Canada’s former Public Health Minister, Dr. Carolyn Bennett, that her country is “living off of us” because they set lower prices for health care and “all the innovation, all the technology breakthroughs just about take place in our country and we have to pay for it.”

“It is not really our country so much is the problem, it’s sort of the parasitic relationship that Canada, and France, and other countries have towards us,” Corker said. “…You benefit from us, and we pay for that. And I resent that, and I want to figure out a way to solve that.”

Excuse me? France and Canada are parasites on us? Because they’re just sucking off our technological breakthroughs? And you told this to the former Canadian public health minister?

Did she laugh in your face? Or did she show more manners than you did with your little outburst? Just wondering.

Sen. Corker, you have officially embarrassed me with your ignorance and your hubris. So let me give you a little schooling on some Canadian medical breakthroughs (mine is an abbreviated list, but the complete list is at the link):

• 1912 First surgical treatment of tuberculosis. (McGill University Health Centre Research Institute — Montreal, Quebec)

• 1922 First clinical use of insulin for diabetes in human patients. (University Health Network — Toronto, Ontario)

• 1950 Introduction of lumpectomy for treatment of breast cancer. Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove a discrete lump (usually a tumour, benign or otherwise) from an affected woman or man’s breast. (University Health Network — Toronto, Ontario)

• 1951 First “cobalt bomb” in the world used to deliver radiation therapy to cancer patients. (Lawson Health Research Institute — London, Ontario)

• 1952 First use of a device that determines whether or not a patient’s thyroid is cancerous through the use of radioactive iodine. (Saskatoon Health Region — Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

• 1958 World first surgical treatment on cerebral aneurysms. (Lawson Health Research Institute — London, Ontario)

Wow. Major innovations in cancer treatment in a country that did not invent the pink ribbon? I cannot believe it.

Want some more? Okie dokie:

• 1960 Implementation of genetic screening programs for hereditary metabolic diseases in newborns. (McGill University Health Centre Research Institute — Montreal, Quebec)

• 1961 Discovery of blood-forming stem cells enabling bone marrow transplants. (University Health Network — Toronto, Ontario)

• 1983 Successful single lung transplant. Lung transplants extend life expectancy and enhance the quality of life for end-stage pulmonary patients. (University Health Network — Toronto, Ontario)

• 1983 The Department of Nuclear Medicine becomes first to use a special imaging agent to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Called [18] F6-fluorodopa PET, the chemical was produced by Hamilton Health Sciences and is now used worldwide. (Hamilton Health Sciences/McMaster University – Hamilton, Ontario)

• 1988 World’s first successful liver/small bowel transplant is performed. (Lawson Health Research Institute — London, Ontario)

• 1993 Discovery of a novel gene associated with Lou-Gehrig’s disease. (McGill University Health Centre Research Institute — Montreal, Quebec)

• 1995 First physical map of the human genome created. (McGill University Health Centre Research Institute — Montreal, Quebec)

• 1996 Identification of a gene that causes colon cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Canadians. (Hospital for Sick Children — Toronto, Ontario)

I could go on ... and on ... and on ... Frankly, the recent medical breakthroughs are far too technical for me to understand fully, but do go to the link and check it out.

I’ll tackle the issue of France later. Right now, I’m too disgusted with our Republicans in Congress, and my own Senator in particular, and need to cool off.