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Podcast: The crisis in children's hospitals
Three viruses converge on the smallest patients. It's been a rough autumn.
I’ve been meaning to talk about health care on The Paul Wells Show. I suspect I’ll be talking about it a lot more as we go along. But I might as well dive into the deep end: this week my guest is Alex Munter, the CEO of CHEO, which used to stand for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and, in recent years, just stands for CHEO.
As you may have heard, it’s rough out there. Three viruses — RSV, flu, COVID — are causing caseloads to rise among the country’s youngest patients. So emergency rooms and care beds are overflowing in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and indeed outside Canada.
The rest of us can debate causes or pick a government to blame, but Munter has to figure out ways to handle the heaviest caseload in pediatric emergencies his hospital has ever seen. He’s a well-known figure in Ottawa, a thoughtful speaker, and there’s a lot of information, insight and empathy in his remarks. I’m proud to bring you this conversation. And he also has some thoughts about what governments and each of us can do to help.
I want to mention one thing. There’s a moment where he mentions that Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s health minister, visited CHEO recently and he posted about it on social media. Apparently this won Jones some online invective, “much of it misogynist,” and Munter some more for hosting her. Similar barrages of insult have followed his posts about visits by prime minister Trudeau. Munter talks about all that in our interview, but like him, I basically just want to ask: what’s wrong with some people? It’s a good thing when politicians see where public servants try to help people. Some people need to give their heads a shake.
Here’s this week’s episode on Apple Podcasts:
Here’s how to find it on other platforms.
Here’s where I say thank you to all the people who bring you this podcast.
Our Founding Sponsor is Telus. Our Title Sponsor is Compass Rose. Our Ottawa partner is the National Arts Centre. I am constantly trying to live up to the honour of being Journalist Fellow-in-Residence at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy; on that score, wait until you see what we’ve got in store for the new year. Antica Productions handles production for the podcast. The Toronto Star and iPolitics distribute and promote The Paul Wells Show. Kevin Breit recorded and performed the music.
Thanks to them all. If you like what you hear there or read here, please call or email somebody you like and say, “Hey, you need to check out Paul Wells’s podcast.”