Bioethics Blogs

Code Gridlock

Chris Simpson rants about the crisis in Canada’s hospitals.


Last month at the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) annual meeting, Dr. Chris Simpson called for a dramatic reshaping of the Canadian healthcare system in order to address the healthcare needs of Canada’s ageing population. He introduced a policy framework guideline that outlines senior-friendly changes in areas including wellness and prevention, primary care, home care and community support, acute and specialty care, long-term care, and palliative care. Dr. Simpson also called for politicians to commit to a national seniors strategy to meet the care needs of Canada’s ageing population in the upcoming federal election.

In a short video that is a part of the CMA’s video series on senior care, Dr. Simpson explains “code gridlock” and calls upon all Canadians to demand a national seniors strategy.

Here’s a transcript of Dr. Simpson’s video:

Welcome to that great symbol of Canadian healthcare—the hospital. The hospital is kind of like Canada’s Statue of Liberty. It’s where you’ll find our tired, our poor, and our huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Make no mistake, miracles happen here everyday. But far too often these days the miracle is if the patients can actually get a bed. Or, if you’re a senior who’s recovered from their illness and waiting to go home, actually getting out of their bed.

The crisis in Canada’s hospitals has led to the creation of a new medical code, code gridlock. Just think of downtown traffic snarled on a Friday afternoon. We have emergency doctors treating patients in hallways because there are no beds.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.