Monday, September 29, 2008

Hernia Repair? Try Canada

Hernias, a common health issue, have a high rate of re-occurrence after they have been surgically repaired. In the United States hernia repair operations are considered a day-surgery procedure and cost upwards of $10,000 with a recurrence rate of, on average, over ten percent. While these statistics don’t sound so great, there is heartening news.
In Toronto, Canada there is a hospital dedicated solely to hernia repairs and they have the technique down with a less than one percent chance of recurrence.

The Shouldice Hospital, founded in 1945, sits on twenty-three acres of gardens and grounds, with eighty-nine beds and five operating rooms all devoted to hernia repair. In most cases, Shouldice advises using local anesthetic and pre-op sedation, rather than general anesthesia and this makes for a speedier and smoother recovery. Patients stay about four days rather than the same-day discharge in U.S. hospitals. This too helps with recovery and low recurrence rate. Unbelievably, the cost for this extra time and attention is anywhere from between one-quarter to one-half the expense of the procedure in the U.S.

Maybe we should add this to Michael Moore’s list of health stories in his film Sicko, a must-see by the way for anyone interested in the health care system, or lack thereof, in the United States.

My husband, a builder/carpenter, prone to stubbornness and extreme heavy lifting has had two hernias, one on each side, and both have been repaired at Shouldice with great results. It can be a bit of a trek to travel there, but even with the transportation costs of air travel we found it to be substantially less expensive, and much better care, than what we could find locally. So if you know of anyone in need of a hernia operation, steer them to Shouldice.

Shouldice Hospital, 7750 Bayview Avenue, Thornhill, Ontario L3T 4A3; 800-291-4216/905-889-1125;;

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