LIVING

Fake 'Hinterland Who's Who' Makes Fun Of Canada's Hospital Wait Times, But Doctors Aren't Laughing

It hits close to home.

11/16/2017 11:11 EST | Updated 11/16/2017 13:48 EST
Twitter/This Hour Has 22 Minutes

Most Canadians are familiar with "Hinterland Who's Who," those 60-second PSAs that profiled Canadian animals and first aired in the 1960s. (If you aren't, then you definitely know its theme song.) The series, which re-launched in the 2000s, taught us about wildlife such as the moose, gannet, loon, beaver, and woodchuck (to name just a few), and made us feel just a bit cooler for being Canadian.

But a new "Hinterland Who's Who" is making some Canucks a bit upset — and defensive.

On Tuesday, "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" posted a clip from their show on Twitter, which poked fun at the wildlife series and the Canadian medical system.

Titled "Hinterland Who's Who: The Hallway Patient," the clip shows various patients waiting for medical treatment in a Canadian hospital hallway.

Describing the "Hallway Patient" as a "forlorn creature all but forgotten in the corners of Canada's hospitals, where they gather in search of the elusive doctor," the clip goes on to describe the types of hallway patients, including the "achy back purse clutcher," the "bare-bummed poll pusher," and "the somebody get that guy to the OR."

"All are recognizable by their mournful call ('I've been here since 4 o'clock this morning')," it continues. "While many species are in decline, hallway patient numbers are on the rise, yet they never give up hope of one day obtaining that most scarce resource: a bed.

"To learn more about the hallway patient, try getting sick or injured in Canada," it concludes.

The tweet, which was captioned "Canada's doctor shortage is giving rise to a new species," certainly resonated with a lot of Canadians, with some saying it felt too close to home.

It also didn't impress several Canadian doctors who took issue with the clip.

One, Dr. Nishi Varshney, tried to school "This Hour" on what a "hallway patient" often looks like.

Varshney also gave her opinion on so-called hospital hallway "rooms."

Dr. Andrew Loblaw noted that he's seen this type of "patient" in Canadian hospitals for a long time.

While Dr. Jess Bryce hoped the clip would spur change to Canada's medical system.

The clip also inspired some people to use the popular hashtag, #CanadaWAITS, which allows social media users to recount their stories of waiting for medical help in Canada.

While the "This Hour" clip is funny, there's a reason why it resonates with so many Canadians: most of them have experienced being a "hallway patient" of some varying degree.

As HuffPost Canada previously reported, medical wait times for specialists and non-emergency surgeries in Canada are longer than those in other developed countries, including the United States, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, the U.K., Australia, and France.

Canadians also have to wait longer in ERs compared to other developed nations, with 29 per cent reporting they had to wait four or more hours during their last visit.

'Hallway patient' often is over age 65, at risk for #delirium, limited mobility, limited washroom access.

In a statement that perfectly reflects the "This Hour" clip, the Frasier Institute noted last year that, "Waiting for treatment has become a defining characteristic of Canadian health care."

They continued: "Overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have increased since [2015]. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 20.0 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment — longer than the wait of 18.3 weeks reported in 2015. This year's wait time — the longest ever recorded in this survey's history — is 115 per cent longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks."

The Frasier Institute also noted that there's a variation in wait times across the provinces. Ontario has the shortest wait time (15.6 weeks), while New Brunswick reports the longest (38.8 weeks).

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