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Vocalizing disdain

Concerns with the health-care system go far beyond the attitudes of entitlement and paranoia as revealed by Dan Lett's interviews with senior system administrators (Why patients' voices are seldom heard, Oct. 5).

Brian Postl, former CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has vocalized the entire system's disdain for any member of the public who may try to intrude on their professional fiefdom by doing nothing more than taking responsibility for educating themselves via the Internet on their own health issues. The present CEO of the WRHA, Arlene Wilgosh, admits the system will "push back" against anyone who may dare to question it.

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In this culture, it is members of the public who become the real victims, while many within the medical community become the victimizers. The relationship between individuals and the health-care system is the ultimate example of power imbalance. The system holds the keys to your well-being and in some cases over your very life and death. In too many instances, this power is abused by the system and manifests itself in bullying of the public.

The results of this disdain for public engagement and a culture of pushing back against anyone attempting to claim their rightful place in their own health care or that of family members can be deadly.

This culture needs to be fundamentally changed by senior management, although the actions of those in charge of the Brian Sinclair case and others indicate they are not the ones to do it.




Disrespecting Winkler

Re: Hit in crosswalk, Winkler girl dies (Oct. 5). It is disappointing there is a lack of safety measures on Provincial Highway 428 passing the new school, all because of the negative attitude our NDP government has toward southern Manitoba in general and Winkler in particular.

For years, Winkler has been hounding the government to upgrade Highway 32 running through Winkler, and the NDP has refused to give any kind of consideration to this vital issue. Instead, what do they do? They slam a liquor mart right into the heart of Winkler among 10,000 Mennonites, who for years have rejected all petitions to do so.

There is a liquor mart in Morden just a few miles west of us. There is enough liquor there to get both cities drunk, so another booze store is a real slam in the face of our Mennonite community. For more than 100 years, we have had a nice quiet community to raise our large families without the threat of drunks staggering around and breaking into our homes in the middle of the night and robbing us to feed their liquor habits.

Regarding the school-safety issue, a lot more attention must be given to this dangerous situation. No more months and months of meetings without anything coming of them. Just get at it and fix these dangers now.




Troubled by MPI decrease

Re: MPI posts net income increase of $20.7M (Oct. 5). While I admire Manitoba Public Insurance for its investment-income increase in the first six months of last year, I am deeply troubled by its decrease in bodily injury claims.

The number of accidents that result in bodily injury claims has not decreased by 8.5 per cent, so the only way for MPI to make this $11.2-million decrease possible is to deny income replacement indemnity (IRI) claims. I can only imagine how many legitimate claims, like that of my wife, have been denied with no recourse for the claimant, since one MPI employee denies the claim and another MPI employee denies the appeal. Nice racket!

My wife has now been unable to work for almost a year and rarely leaves the house due to constant and sometimes debilitating pain.

So while MPI is patting itself on the back for a job well done, I hope its managers realize their heavy-handed methods of dealing with legitimate claimants affect entire families. In our case, we have been forced to dip into our retirement savings to make ends meet.




Disgraceful invasion

Your Oct. 5 article Judge on leave; cases in limbo is a disgraceful invasion of privacy. Judges are, first, people. Like all of us, they are susceptible to illness and entitled to privacy.

There is no legitimate public interest in, for example, anonymous speculation about when she last worked, or indeed whether she claims disability insurance. A judge's absence may be relevant to particular legal cases. You could have reported on those cases without even identifying the judge by name or, at least, without splashing her picture on the front page and inviting speculation about the nature of her absence.

This is a shoddy attempt to sell newspapers by capitalizing on a female jurist's image and right to privacy.




Managing on $285 rent

I applaud all the people who spent the night outside to see how some of Winnipeg's homeless population must live It is important to "walk a mile" to start to understand this issue.

Now, how about giving the same people who stayed outside for a night $285 to see if they can find a place to live for a month. Perhaps Premier Greg Selinger could lead the adventure.




Gauging appropriate care

Having dealt with a chronic schizophrenic sister and a severely disabled brother for many years, I feel my thoughts are warranted on the most recent commentary on the Manitoba Developmental Centre.

We all have a right to see things differently, but it is difficult for anyone who has not lived with and experienced the limitations of severely disabled persons to gauge the level of care that is appropriate.

I would argue there is a need in society for institutions that provide around-the-clock care in a building large enough to accommodate special equipment and services for severely disabled persons and that overall the MDC has done an exemplary job of doing so.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 8, 2013 A7


Updated on Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM CDT: adds links

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