Canadian doctor clinically diagnoses patient as suffering from 'climate change'

People have it drummed into them these days that any bad weather is a result of climate change.   But weather is intrinsically variable and none of the dupes think to check history for other instances of similar bad weather. The statistics would surprise them.  There is a long history of weather catastrophes.  Tony Heller has documented a lot of it

When a patient in her 70s came into the emergency department at Kootenay Lake Hospital in Nelson, B.C., Dr. Kyle Merritt had no idea hundreds of people were dying of heat across the province. 

It was late June, and British Columbia was consumed under a heat wave that would soon go down as both the hottest and deadliest in Canadian history.

The head of the hospital’s emergency department, Merritt could see the aggravated toll the extreme heat took on patients battling multiple health problems at once, often with little money.

“She has diabetes. She has some heart failure. … She lives in a trailer, no air conditioning,” says Merritt of the senior patient. “All of her health problems have all been worsened. And she's really struggling to stay hydrated.”

As the mercury climbed, more patients arrived and pressure on the hospital mounted. Merritt and his colleagues tried to make sense of a surge in heat illness most had only seen in medical school. “We were having to figure out how do we cool someone in the emergency department,” says the doctor. “People are running out to the Dollar Store to buy spray bottles.”

Merritt remembers hitting a tipping point, the extreme heat an opening salvo in another summer of crisis. He started contacting other doctors and nurses, in Prince George, Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria. 

The response was immediate. Roughly 40 doctors and nurses at the small hospital — all busy trying to manage a pandemic and their regular professional lives — came together under the banner Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health. 

“I was worried about the summer that was coming,” says Merritt of the rising number of health-care workers desperate to talk about how climate change is affecting their patients’ health.  “I was really quite amazed at how many people have decided to jump in.”

Just as doctors and nurses started to make sense of the record heat, it cleared — only to be replaced by a blanket of wildfire smoke.

Climate change enters the ER

Like so many summers in recent memory, this summer, Nelson’s air turned the colour of pea soup, leading to a spike in patients suffering respiratory problems. 

B.C.’s Interior suffers some of the greatest fallout from air pollution in the country.

Between 2013 and 2018, the 10 census divisions in the country with the greatest exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were all in B.C.’s Interior, according to a 2021 Health Canada analysis of the impacts of air pollution on human health.  

Of those, half the census divisions — including Central Kootenay, where Nelson is located — were among the top 10 slices of the country with the highest per capita rates of premature death.

“A lot of people in the Kootenays sort of thought that this would be a good place to hide out while the rest of the world falls apart. But it's, of course, hitting us here, just like it's hitting many places, and we're really seeing the impacts,” says Merritt.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments containing Chinese characters will not be published as I do not understand them