In my ongoing quest to stop the Americans from using Canada as an example of a country that has poor health care, I posted a comment on a blog the other day, and one of the commenters replied back to me, asking me the following question. "When was the last time a new lifesaving treatment was developed in Canada……?" I was happy to reply. Here, for your reading pleasure is a list of some of the new lifesaving treatments developed in Canada. The list would be three or four times as long, but I got tired...
Insulin for diabetes was discovered here in Canada by two Nobel prize winning physicians named Frederick Banting and Charles Best.
The first neurosurgery for cancer was performed in Canada.
The first diagnostic test for diagnosing cancer of the thyroid was performed in Canada.
The first surgeries on brain aneurysms were performed in Canada, saving the lives of people that would otherwise have died.
The first medical genetic screening of prenatal babies for heritary diseases was performed in Canada.
The first surgery to save the lives of “blue babies” was performed in Canada. Before that, it was an automatic death sentence.
The first artificial knee replacement was performend in Canada.
The first single lung transplant was performed in Canada.
The first aortic valve replacement in the world was performed in Canada, and the procedure is now used worldwide.
The world’s first successful liver/small bowel transplant was performed in Canada.
The drug lamivudine which is used for the treatment of Hepatitis B was discovered in Canada.
The connection between sleep apnea and fatal congestive heart failure was discovered in Canada.
The discovery of the gene that causes Lou Gehrig’s Disease was discovered in Canada.
The world’s first three-dimensional ultrasound therapy was done in Canada.
The first physical map of the human genome was created in Canada.
The first identification of a human blood cell that regenerates the entire blood system was discovered in Canada. This discovery enables the development of new treatments for blood diseases such as leukemia, thalassemia and sickle cell anemia.
Identification of a major gene that causes colon cancer was discovered in Canada.
One of the genes that causes epilepsy was discovered in Canada.
The discovery of the mechanism of formation of amyloid, the basis of Alzheimer’s and other diseases was done in Canada, and the subsequent development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.
Canada pioneered the use of Botulinum Toxin A to reduce upper limb spasticity in children with cerebral palsy.
Incidentally, BOTOX for plastic surgery was also discovered in Canada, right here in Vancouver, by a husband and wife team, ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers and dermatologist Alastair Carruthers. Look it up. Americans can’t live without botox now. It has become a mainstay for every aging Hollywood actress and housewife of Orange County. But, yup, its cosmetic function was discovered in Canada.
The discovery of a molecular marker to diagnose hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, was made here in Canada.
A major clinical trial provided the first alternative treatment to taxol for preventing breast cancer recurrence in survivors five years post diagnosis, and it was done here in Canada — by Canadians.
A Canadian study makes it easier to identify patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), providing faster diagnosis and significant savings to the health care system — and lives.
Identification of a cancer stem cell responsible for brain tumors was made in Canada. This discovery may change how this deadly condition is studied and treated in the future.
Canada performed the world’s first hospital-to-hospital telerobotic assisted surgery on a patient more than 400 kilometres away. During the procedure, they completed a Nissen Fundoplication on a 66-year old patient located at North Bay General Hospital from St. Joseph’s telerobotics suite in Hamilton, Ontario.
Canada developed the first draft DNA sequence for coronavirus implicated as cause of SARS, which is deadlier than the swine flu. From this a vaccine for SARS was created. This was done in the building in which I work, incidentally.
Canadian doctors found that the vast majority of heart attacks can be predicted by nine easily measurable factors that are the same in virtually every region and ethnic group worldwide, thereby preventing them.
Canadians discovered over 70 novel human receptor genes; many of which, together with their chemical activators, mediate unique functions in the brain and are being targeted for drug design.
Canadians researchers, in the first large, multi-centre clinical trial of its kind, provided evidence to suggest that artery grafts from the forearm should be used in place of vein grafts from the leg in heart bypass surgery because radial arteries have significantly higher graft patency over one year.
A Canadian research team discovered magnetic resonance imaging detects more breast cancer tumors, earlier, compared with mammography, ultrasound or clinical examination in women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. This finding offers hope to genetically at-risk women, and gives them an alternative to removing both breasts.
Canadians were the first in the world to use beads of palladium, a low-dose radioactive material, to treat women with breast cancer on an outpatient basis. This therapy holds the promise of eliminating anguishing side effects and considerably enhancing the women’s quality of life.
Canadian doctors were the first to demonstrate an association between pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) and the Epstein-Barr virus, indicating that exposure to the virus at a certain time in childhood may be an important environmental trigger for the development of MS.
Canadians developed a virtual instrument that allows children with physical disabilities to make music (both therapeutic and recreational applications of the software – which is licensed in 7 countries around the world).
Canadians were the first in the world to research and develop and begin treating prostate cancer using a 3-D image-guided radiation therapy device that was developed in Canada. This non-surgical technique allows oncologists to visualize the exact position of the target and deliver precise external beam radiation therapy.
A Canadian study determines that a specific enzyme, known as pro-protein convertase 4 (PC4) may be responsible for fetal growth restriction, the second leading cause of infant mortality in the developed world. Knowledge may lead to screening for the defective enzyme early in the pregnancy and provide the ability to monitor the pregnancy more closely.
Canadian scientists discovered that early surgical removal of the spleen combined with antiangiogenic therapy, which arrests the growth of tumour-feeding blood vessels, may stop the progression of leukemia.
Canadians discovered the precise molecular chain of events that initiates the wide-scale immune destruction of “super bug” infections such as flesh-eating disease, toxic shock syndrome and severe food poisoning.
Canadians were the first to implant an antibody-coated stent into the first human patient. The invention of the antibody-coated stent reduces restenosis and prevents blood clots from occurring.
Canadians live longer, they receive better health care than most Americans, there is no such thing here as a “pre-existing condition” which prevents them from getting medical care. And, Americans would be surprised to learn just how much of their medications and medical procedures are discovered in places like Germany, France (yes) even Great Britain.
I could go on, but I’m getting tired. Canada is not a medical backwater, and Americans need to come here and see the truth for themselves. All the horror stories about Canadians going to other countries for medical care is false. I work in the medical system, and I know. It is false. It’s fear mongering. In fact, it’s embarrassing it’s so untrue.
We are not saying our system is perfect. Far from it, but it's better than many others. However, we would really appreciate it if Americans would stop telling lies about our system in order to further their arguments in their debate about their own health care system. We really don't care what system you choose, but please -- stop trashing ours.