Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The day the radiologists left...by Naomi Elana Zener

Thanks to McGuinty, Matthews and the CMA,
For diagnoses Ontarians must now dearly pay.
Instead of the radiologists trained on the taxpayers dime,
Scans and images sent to Bangalor to be read on Indian Eastern Time.
Deep in the bowels of a call center factory,
An abdominal ultrasound is read for a blocked artery.
You dial a 1-800 number, the call is toll free,
Anxiously on hold for the diagnosis awaiting thee.
"Hello you've reached tele-radiology India," an automated voice chimes,
Presented with a panoply of numeric choices like kids' nursery rhymes.
"Press 1 for CT scans, 2 for MRI,"
"3 for PET imaging, 4 for scans without contrast dye."
Selection once made links to a seasoned phone operator,
Deja vu hits, is this who you called to fix your refrigerator?
Once sorted and your scan retrieved by the man behind the curtain,
He tells you quickly you have serious problems, of this he is certain.
"Oh no!" you gasp fearing the hand of the grim reaper,
"Your hard drive has crashed," he advises, "but the problem runs deeper.."
"I called about my abdominal ultrasound," you say quite vexed,
"Oh sorry, this is Apple help desk," IT man replies perplexed.
He patches you through to his groggy medical phone neighbour,
On call for five days straight paid ten cents an hour for his labour.
"Is this an actual doctor to whom I'm speaking?"
You manage to gasp between sobs as you're weeping.
"I am board certified radiology doctor" you are told with passion,
As you listen your facial expression has now turned ashen.
For the voice in your ear is closer than you first realised,
It hails from your cab driver, on his blackberry he's capitalized.
As a new immigrant to Canada with a medical degree,
With no hospital jobs available, he must drive a taxi.
"Oh yes I will help you fear not my sick patient!"
Without realizing to him you are almost adjacent.
Hanging up quickly, throwing change at the driver and jumping from the car,
You run quickly in search of liquor at the closest bar.
En route you stop for a slurpy at the nearest 7-11,
Parched from thirst and certain you're en route to heaven.
"You are such a mess," advises the cheery quicky-mart employee,
With a voice reminiscent of the one from whom you just had to flee.
He says condescendingly: "your drink gives you slushy of the liver!"
To which you reply "Deb Matthews I hope that you drown in a river!"
Fed up with your tax dollars so unwisely spent,
A medical system broken and unhelpful left to lament.
Tax evasion not an option for orange is not your colour,
You exchange your Canadian currency for the US dollar.
Escape to the United States for medical help is your only option left,
For Ontario's "universal health care" is a misnomer that has left you bereft.

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.


  1. For the sake of clarity, the point of this poem is to highlight that the sad state of what could happen to radiologists as a result of recent fee cuts made by the Ontario Liberal government - having their work sent offshore much in the same way that lawyers are seeing that happen and that manufacturing and IT jobs have experienced for many years. It is also a comment on the fact that many foreigners are here not able to work in their chosen profession in which they trained, and instead are forced to work as cabbies, etc..and through modern technology could end up doing offshore work while living here. It is really a comment on the pathetic state of medicine in this province let alone the country.

    1. I had a good chuckle with this one. Mind you not at the state in which the Ontario Health Care system finds itself in. I have no desire to return to that.

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