05 February 2010

Health care and a politician’s privacy


The Premier, as well as every one of the rest of us, has a right to privacy.


"You forgo a lot of privacy when you put your hand up to do this job but there are certain areas of your life that are sacrosanct," [Deputy Premier Kathy Dunderdale]  said.

but back then?

Well, let’s just say things were different.

Extremely different.

One example, an official news release:

Williams provides update on medical condition

ST. JOHN'S, May 20, 2003 — Danny Williams, Leader of the Opposition and MHA for Humber West, today provided an update on his medical condition. Williams was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, May 13, suffering from severe back pain. He was permitted to leave the hospital over the weekend while his physicians awaited the results of medical tests. However, his mobility was severely limited.

"The physicians and staff of St. Clare's have conducted tests to determine what is causing the pain. They believe it is the result of inflamed tissue in my back. Tomorrow, [May 21, 2003] they will perform back surgery to try and alleviate the pain," Williams said.

While recovery time will depend upon the extent and nature of the surgery, Williams' back problem is not expected to have a long-term impact on his political career. "I expect a full recovery and look forward to serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for many years to come. However, any type of surgery and subsequent recovery should be treated very seriously. I will follow the instructions of my doctor with regards to recovery time and physical activity and won't do anything to compromise my long-term health and well-being.

"I respectfully ask for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to be understanding of the fact that I will be temporarily out of the office while this back problem is being addressed. However, I am in regular contact with my staff and caucus and am still able to perform my duties as the MHA for Humber West, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"I want to thank the staff at St. Clare’s for their first-rate care and medical treatment. They have been extremely professional and I am very appreciative of their efforts. I would also like to thank all the people who have left messages of support. My family and I take great comfort in knowing that so many people are thinking of us."

Followed by another:

Williams undergoes successful back surgery

ST. JOHN'S, May 21, 2003 — Danny Williams, Leader of the Opposition and MHA for Humber West, today underwent successful surgery to alleviate severe back pain. Williams was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, May 14, and is expected to remain there for several days as part of his recovery.

During the complicated operation, which lasted more than two hours, doctors removed a mass of tissue from his back that was believed to be the source of his pain. As a standard precautionary procedure, this tissue will be analyzed over the next 48 hours. Williams is now fully conscious and resting in hospital with his family.

While Mr. Williams is expected to make a complete recovery, his physicians will work with him over the coming days to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation program. That rehabilitation program will determine when he is able to return to the office and resume his provincial tour schedule. In the interim, he continues to be in regular contact with his staff and caucus.

"I ask people to understand that while I may not be able to travel throughout the province in the short term, I will continue to fully discharge my duties as MHA for Humber West, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. I will do everything possible to work with my doctors to expedite my rehabilitation program and I look forward to a complete and prompt recovery," Williams said.

The Williams family would like to sincerely thank the physicians and staff at St. Clare's for their professional care and treatment. They would also like to thank the countless people who have sent messages of support and encouragement. The family is truly touched by such a wonderful outpouring of emotion.

And then another…

Williams receives excellent prognosis for recovery

ST. JOHN'S, May 26, 2003 — Danny Williams, Leader of the Opposition and MHA for Humber West, today provided an update on his medical condition. Williams was admitted to St. Clare's Emergency Department Wednesday, May 14, and underwent surgery Wednesday, May 21, to alleviate severe pain that was being caused by a mass of tissue in his back.

"My physicians are very pleased with the surgery and expect me to make a full recovery. In fact, I am already able to take short walks in the hospital. All tests to date have been completed and the results were extremely favourable. Doctors say that I am making excellent and steady progress, but given the nature of the surgery, complete recovery could take upwards of six weeks. They have developed a rehabilitation program that involves rest, appropriate physical exercise and physiotherapy. I will strictly adhere to that program and will do everything possible to expedite my recovery," Williams said.
As a result of the surgery, Williams is experiencing normal post-operative pain. He is continuing to receive medical treatment in hospital and is being re-evaluated on a day-to-day basis to determine an appropriate discharge date.

"Given that physicians are advising me not to travel in the immediate future, I will be asking a number of our MHAs to represent me and the party at various functions throughout the province. With the exception of travel, I expect to be able to conduct all of my duties as Leader of the Opposition, MHA for Humber West and Leader of the PC Party of Newfoundland and Labrador while working from my office at home."

Williams once again thanked the physicians and staff of St. Clare's for their outstanding medical care. "I don't think a person can truly appreciate the remarkable efforts put forward by our health care workers until they are able to experience it first hand. These dedicated professionals work very hard to provide quality care to their patients. My family and I are very grateful for their efforts. We would also like to thank the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who have called or sent cards with their support. Such kind gestures will never be forgotten."

There is no record that the premier’s personality cult voiced any objections to these news releases or the subsequent news coverage.



David said...

Couple of things:

First, from reading online comments, there's a clear inability to even broach a debate on this topic without being called an idiot or even being physically threatened...very disturbing. It shows both the servile obedient depths of Danny-mania, and the intellectual incapacity of our population.

Second, it is very interesting to see the media opinion and coverage on this. First, non-Newfoundland media can at least see the seeds of a debate and the brutal optics of this. The Newfoundland media, not blind to the first point, sees nothing but a toxic career-ender....the mob is just too loud.

Even Rex Murphy was reduced to a pragmatic yes-man last night on the CBC. He is a smart man---smart enough to realize where his Toronto toast is generously buttered.

We love our saints, right up until it's time to kill them as sinners.

Ed Hollett said...

Well, David the intention of the Perosnality Cult is to shut down all reasoned debate and discussion of anything.

That's what they do and what they have always done. They never have brought anything else to the table but bullying and bullshit and this is no exception. If they don't have something concrete they just make shit up and go with that.

I wouldn't agree with your characterisation of the local media entirely. There have been some bright spots of editorial opinion out there that have tackled the issues reasonably and dispassionately. That would be bright spot because they resisted the efforts at intimidation.

What's been hysterically funny though is watching the Cultists lace into CBC when in fact someone deliberately leaked the story to NTV.

The Ceeb has been running around playing catch-up since Day One (and at least one of them publicly surrendered at the end of Day One) yet the venom of the Cultists has been aimed squarely at them.

The other humour has come from listening to them trashing randy and the media generally and yet...whenever anyo of them get into a convo with randy, they quickly realise that they have absolutely no evidence of anything on which to base their comments. in other words, he very simple exposes them for being full of crap.

As a last point, you are right on the saints thing. As I put it some time ago, the people laying palm fronds in front of the saviours ass today have a nail gun ready so they can nail his ass to a pre-fab cross they keep out back tomorrow.

If you court celebrity or saviour status, you can hardly whine, bitch ,moan and complaint about the natural consequences.

WJM said...

Even Rex Murphy was reduced to a pragmatic yes-man last night on the CBC.

What do you mean, "even" Rex Murphy?

Rex Murphy was the auteur of the CBC National puff-piece whence came the immortal Dannyism: “I think our popularity is based not so much on me. It's based on the fact that I think I represent in my own heart and soul the hearts and souls of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians…”

Peter said...

Wow, Dave. Excuse us for not going for the juglar while he was getting his ticker fixed.
a timid local media person

BTW when you say "the intellectual incapacity of our population," I assume you mean everyone but you.

Ed Hollett said...

Peter, the Telly has taken a fairly solid and reasonable editorial position on this story.

That would definitely contradict David's point but it would also contradict yours,unless that was a sarcasm stain I see from the drippings under from your comment. ;-)

Now I don't know if the newsroom is getting the same orchestrated partisan shit storm as the Ceeb but the paper has been willing to actually say something solid.

In itself that is worthy of note. if I were to look at the major Canadian media outlets, I'd say they also reported the story reasonably and discussed some of the issues associated with it in a fair and reasonable manner without, at any point, doing anything remotely close to what Dunderdale said yesterday.

Then again, the Cult claim has been - from Day One - a load of pure crap. It's the crap that Oram peddled. It's the stuff the Prem has moaned about before and it remains the same crap now that it was then. Simply put, he doesn't even know what it means to be treated badly by the media.

Even Wakeham wasn't out of line the other day. I just had this mental picture though of you and jeff slowly moving your chairs away in case the lightning bolt struck at that precise moment.

David said...

The jugular? Really? Any sort of debate on this is going for the jugular? I think that's part of my point.

And you're in the local media? Check and mate on that one.

Secondly, I thought it was
pretty clear that I was referring to those (many) people who have been calling others idiots, even threatening violence instead of rebutting with a rational position. If you are accusing me of being a snob because I feel I'm above that level, I'll take that gladly.

As far as there being a few bright spots in the local media, it will certainly be interesting to see whether and how they might be treated/punished in the future.

Precarious is an apt description of the state of journalism at the best of times and in the most informed, unbiased of markets....
This is neither of those.

Peter said...

Wakeham lives in his his own little Wakeham world, where everyone's supposed to lay his whole life out in the open like a rotting corpse. No surprises as far I was concerned.

Ed Hollett said...

Well actually Peter, Bob's position was a surprise in that he did not take an extreme point of view.

Normally he might argue in the extreme as a counterpoint to whatever is there as the dominant position. The purpose or the consequence (his intention is irrelevant) of doing that is to create a debate and discussion so people get to decide where they think things actually are.

His was a very modest suggestion. Go back and listen to the audio to confirm this. On a scale of one to 10 it was about a five. take that as an indication that the current standard out there is about two or less on that sort of disclosure scale.

In other words, if a simple statement of fact (as he suggested) is - in your words - a world where "everyone's supposed to lay his whole life out in the open like a rotting corpse" then that would suggest you think even what was reported was too much.

Are you saying that nothing should have been reported at all ever about The Story?

Should NTV have suppressed the story entirely?