Media Missed Question for Patient Losing Patience
By Harvey Oberfeld
There are reporters … and there are reporters. I think I was in the latter group.
What’s the difference, you wonder?
Well, reporters in the first category ask the obvious questions; get the basics; seek out a comment or a reaction and then put it all together in a hopefully coherent piece that delivers the facts and any opposing point of view or bits of information.
Those of us in the second category do all the things our colleagues in the first group do …BUT also seek out something a little extra, often informative, occasionally emotional and even amusing to enhance our stories … to not only inform, but also entertain our viewers, readers, listeners.
I like to think I was most often on that second list when I was working … always looking for a little extra piece of info or posing an unusual, unexpected question that added to the perspective … and even fun … in my stories.
Which brings me to Oscar Nieto, the unfortunate VGH patient on a waiting list for hernia surgery for THREE YEARS!
The story was widely reported in all forms of BC media: a far too long delay in treatment; the affect the injury had on his life; and, how the system had let him down.
Now that the story has hit the fan, his surgery will be “expedited”.
But I would have asked Oscar one more question: how did he vote in the last provincial election????
I believe that would have been a fair question: had he replied “Liberal”, I would have followed up by wondering whether he, therefore, had been getting what he voted for … inadequate health care funding, unacceptable and inexcusable wait times forced on BC voters by a government that is also not only one of that last provinces charging monthly MSP fees to residents … but has been raising those fees higher and higher, year after year after year.
THAT would have made the story even better, even more outrageous, even more of a public eye opener.
And had Oscar replied “NDP” or “Greens” I would have given him a full opportunity to give the Liberals a piece of his mind for failing to adequately fund a whole list of surgeries in this province …and remind those who voted for them that THIS is what we have all reaped.
In other words, either way, take the story beyond one man’s plight to a much wider examination of Liberal provincial policies, funding …and the human consequences so many are suffering under.
But I’m retired.
So I’ll just give you a few of the facts some reporters DID obtain … showing the AVERAGE wait for hernia surgery in BC is 32.2 weeks (35.8 in Vancouver) compared to 28 weeks in Alberta; 19.1 weeks in New Brunswick; 18.1 weeks in Nova Scotia; and, 15.9 weeks in Ontario.
Get the picture?
Too bad no one (from everything I’ve seen) asked Oscar what he thinks of that!
As well as how he voted.