Tommy Douglas

Topics: Medicine, Health care, Health Pages: 2 (631 words) Published: December 12, 2013
Tommy Douglas

Tommy Douglas demonstrates a true leader, he believed in access to healthcare for citizens from all walks of life. Douglas also valued a government that was for the people, by setting up a socialist government in North America, in which distribution of wealth and property is community based. Douglas portrayed an important role in Canadian history because he introduced universal hospitalization in Saskatchewan, set up a Medicare program, and was the first leader of a socialist government in North America which lead the way to other social reforms throughout Canada.

When Douglas was a child, he injured his leg and later developed osteomyelitis, causing inflammation to the bone. His families inability to afford medical care, would have cost him his leg. Douglas was fortunate with the exception made by Dr. R.J Smith, who was a very distinguished surgeon, that the operation would be performed for free if his students could watch. Douglas, grateful of Dr. Smith’s help, later stated: “I felt that no boy should have to depend on either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first class surgeon to his bedside.” This life altering experience brought Douglas to the realize that an individuals health and well- being should be independent of their ability to pay for medical care. Douglas later led himself to a life in politics. In 1947 when Douglas was Premier of Saskatchewan, he himself introduced universal hospitalization to Saskatchewan, he asked for a $5.00 fee per person. Douglas noted: hospitalization is paid out of the treasury, in which it is government funded, therefore he argued, “instead of the burden of those hospital bills falling on the sick people, it is spread over all the people.” Douglas felt that no one who is in need of medical help should have to worry about paying the expenses. Introducing hospitalization was a huge effect on Canada because without it, not many...
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