[Ottawa - 2009] At least two Ontario Liberal health ministers have misled journalists and the public about the findings of a 1985 Ministry of Health committee report.
In three news releases (See attachments, below), Murray Elston and Elinor Caplan invisibilize the two most important findings of the Thomson report. They also repeat a mistake the report cautions against making. Worse, Elston and Caplan set the Liberal Party and the Ontario Ministry of Health on a course of causing preventable deaths.
Since then, persons with sensitivities have discovered that there is nothing more powerful than the need to cover up colleagues' lethal mistakes, the need to “stick to the story,” no matter what the costs.
The Ontario Ministry of Health committee was set up in 1984 when consumers and health professionals complained to Conservative health minister Keith Norton about preventable harm being caused by serious abuse in the health care system. Norton apparently did not notice that there was an existing, legally obligating, publicly insured method of diagnosis, one that is still encouraged by the College of Family Physicians of Ontario. He was certainly unfamiliar with the history of sensitivities as described in mainstream medical literature. His officials were apparently unaware of scientific and clinical articles then held in the Ontario Ministry of Health library, containing supportive references back to 1700.
Thomson's panel of physicians identified an existing, publicly insured, method of diagnosing persons with sensitivities. The existence of a publicly insured method of identifying persons with sensitivities brings with it the legal obligation to do so if doing otherwise risks causing preventable harm. As consumers and others repeatedly told health ministers' staff, this is far more important than any further research. Elston and Caplan, along with the NDP health ministers after them, repeatedly invisibilized this lethally important matter. Normally available protections were denied.
Another important finding of the Thomson report was that parties were confusing debate about the approaches of clinical ecologists with the legitimacy of the health complaint itself. Others, including Barry Zimmerman, who chaired a panel that reviewed the Thomson report, deemed this a legitimate but separate debate, as have other medical educators and leaders in organized medicine, before and since.
However, Elston and Caplan continued to take opinion about the approaches of clinical ecology and apply it to persons with sensitivities as a whole, often miss-portraying concerns about the extravangances of clinical ecology as being a reluctance to recognize the patients' experience of repeatable, controllable circumstances. They continued to encourage physicians to make the same ethical mistake.
When Thomson later became the Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Labour, he confirmed to me personally, in an elevator at One Nicholas Street, that Deputy Ministers of Health since his report continued to assert that the problems were emotionally based. Thomson's panel of teaching hospital physicians had found this position “clearly untenable.” The unethical nature of the DM's highly damaging (if not, by this point, illegal) position was ignored by Elston, Caplan, Peterson and Ombudsman Ontario.
The Ministry's position was described as subjecting persons with sensitivities to a “reverse onus” and acted on by OHRC Chief Commissioner Catherine Frazee, by CHRC Commissioner Max Yalden, and by several federal departments. An Associate Director of the Ontario Medical Association wrote Premier Peterson's office after consumers prevailed upon him about this very concern.
The fact that the position held by the Deputy Minister was deemed “clearly untenable” and the other two findings mentioned above are a bit too important to always leave them out of summaries of the report and correspondence.
Mapping prevalence against figures quoted by Terence Young in “Death by Prescription,” since Elston's first news release perhaps 35,000 persons with undiagnosed sensitivities have been unnecessarily killed in Ontario health care, about three times that nationally. These preventable deaths, some percentage of which are s.216 homicides, continue at a national rate of perhaps a dozen per day, while Ontario politicians continue to invisibilize the findings of a report that is almost a quarter-century old, and a history centuries older!
Here are the three questions:
1) Is it Deb *Matthew's loyalty to the Liberal Party that is now killing kids and other vulnerable persons?
2) Is loyalty to the Peterson government really worth causing more deaths?
3) Are Ontario politicians in all parties more interested in hiding party mistakes than in stopping the preventable killing of persons with undiagnosed sensitivities in health care?
* When Journalists for Human Rights founder Ben Peterson heard about these abuses, he was fascinated, until he was told his aunt, Health Minister Deb Matthews, was then the main perpetrator. At that point he ended the conversation. Journalists continue to invisibilize the abuses. JHR continues to turn a blind eye.