05 February 2010

Health care and a politician’s privacy

Now:

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

and

"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.

-srbp-

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