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Thread: The truth about Shona Holmes

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    The truth about Shona Holmes

    FACT CHECK: Loose facts in health horror story - Yahoo! News

    Quote Originally Posted by Article
    WASHINGTON – Shona Holmes is the Harry and Louise of this year's health care debate, only unlike the fictional folks who memorably trashed the Clinton-era health plan in advocacy ads 15 years ago, Holmes is real.
    But her story? It's not quite the slam-dunk indictment of socialized medicine that's been portrayed by Republican lawmakers and their allies.
    Holmes, a Canadian living under that country's single-payer system, has said flatly that her brain tumor would have killed her if she'd accepted her fate in Canada — a wait of four months for one specialist and six months for another. Instead she went to the U.S. and had successful surgery.

    But she never had cancer — a fact routinely omitted by the advocates who have seized on her case. Technically, she didn't have a tumor, either. She had a benign cyst that was apparently threatening her eyesight.
    Holmes' decision to come to the U.S. exposed her both to the best of American health care and the worst: its capacity for prompt, advanced treatment for complicated conditions, and its staggering expense.
    She and her husband took out a second mortgage on their Waterdown, Ontario, home and made other sacrifices to cover the nearly $100,000 in medical and travel bills from her visits to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    In that respect, she was much like the 40 million or so Americans who have no health insurance and are only one hospital bill away from financial peril.

    Had she waited, the surgery would have cost her nothing back home. She says that was a risk she couldn't take.

    Holmes has pitched her case against government-run health care in advocacy group advertising, TV interviews and testimony to Congress, while holding back her medical records from scrutiny. She is back in Washington this week for a conservative forum. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, among others, has showcased her story.

    A look at rhetoric and reality in her case:

    CLAIMS:
    _"If I had relied on my government for health care, I'd be dead." Holmes, in an ad for Patients United Now, showing an image labeled as a brain tumor.
    _"Shona's life was eventually saved because she came to the United States for the care she needed. ... Once the government is in control, politicians and bureaucrats will be the ones telling people what kind of care they can have." McConnell.

    THE FACTS:
    The Mayo Clinic diagnosed Holmes with Rathke's cleft cyst, which the clinic describes as a rare fluid-filled sac that grows near the pituitary gland near the base of the brain and can cause hormone and vision problems over time. The condition is not known to be fatal and the clinic, in trumpeting her treatment, makes no claim that her life was in danger.
    It does, though, say she would have eventually lost her sight without surgery.

    Holmes has declined to release medical records to Canadian news organizations checking her claims, citing her lawsuit seeking payment of her expenses by the Ontario provincial government.

    Without them, the severity of her condition cannot be verified and it is impossible to know the circumstances that placed her on long waits in 2005 after she was referred by her family doctor to a neurologist and an endocrinologist.

    Canada's system is not being emulated in the U.S. At most, some Democrats are pushing for a government-run plan to compete in the marketplace with private insurers, although even that idea is faltering.
    Republicans contend that over time, a public insurance option could drive private insurers out of business, effectively giving the U.S. government-run care.

    There's no question many Canadians wait for care they're anxious to get. A trade-off of guaranteeing coverage for all and paying medical bills mostly through taxes is that people often wait to be treated for conditions that may be serious but — rightly or wrongly — are not judged urgent.
    Even so, across a range of diseases monitored in Canada, the average waiting time before seeing a specialist is typically measured in days or a few weeks, not the four to six months reported in Holmes' case.
    Holmes was at first diagnosed in Arizona, then went back for the surgery after she failed to persuade health officials at home to speed up her treatment. She says her vision has been restored.
    Time to reveal this woman for exactly who she is: someone who panicked and didn't have patience to wait to get a FREE surgery in Canada for her non-life threatening condition, so she went to the U.S. and spent a fortune, lying to the media about the nature of her medical history in order to gain bonus points along with, no doubt, some cash. Now she claims UHC in Canada almost killed her... meanwhile her condition was benign.
    Last edited by Orion; 10-03-09 at 09:09 PM.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    FACT CHECK: Loose facts in health horror story - Yahoo! News



    Time to reveal this woman for exactly who she is: someone who panicked and didn't have patience to wait to get a FREE surgery in Canada for her non-life threatening condition, so she went to the U.S. and spent a fortune, lying to the media about the nature of her medical history in order to gain bonus points along with, no doubt, some cash. Now she claims UHC in Canada almost killed her... meanwhile her condition was benign.
    Benign tumors can still kill you. Not knowing the details of her case, you can't make the claim she lied simply because the tumor she had was non-cancerous.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    What a joke she is. Shame on her.
    No men are anywhere, and Im allowed to go in, because Im the owner of the pageant and therefore Im inspecting it, Trump said... Is everyone OK? You know, theyre standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    Benign tumors can still kill you. Not knowing the details of her case, you can't make the claim she lied simply because the tumor she had was non-cancerous.
    Drinking water can kill you too. How far down do you want to go before you draw the line? A lot of moles are benign tumors; you want to tell everyone that they could get killed from that too if they don't have it removed?

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Smoke[MaxX] View Post
    Drinking water can kill you too. How far down do you want to go before you draw the line? A lot of moles are benign tumors; you want to tell everyone that they could get killed from that too if they don't have it removed?
    I draw the line at a life-threatening illness. I don't know if hers was or not. None of us do. What I do know is that even benign tumors can be life threatening. She might be lying, but I have no idea how anyone can possibly make the claim they know she's lying simply based of the fact that her tumor was a non-cancerous one. This a simple medical fact rather than the ridiculous hyperbole you seem to want to engage in.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    Benign tumors can still kill you. Not knowing the details of her case, you can't make the claim she lied simply because the tumor she had was non-cancerous.
    She claimed outright that the tumor was malign and would have killed her if she didn't have surgery. That is a blatant lie.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    She claimed outright that the tumor was malign and would have killed her if she didn't have surgery. That is a blatant lie.
    Where? I thought she claimed she had a brain tumor. She did. She also claimed it would have killed her if she waited too long. That too can be totally true even it the tumor was non-cancerous. Like I said, she might be lying. I wouldn't be surprised if she is. But since you seem so sure that she is, where is the proof that her tumor was not?

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    Where? I thought she claimed she had a brain tumor. She did. She also claimed it would have killed her if she waited too long. That too can be totally true even it the tumor was non-cancerous. Like I said, she might be lying. I wouldn't be surprised if she is. But since you seem so sure that she is, where is the proof that her tumor was not?
    What she claimed is irrelevant. Her doctors said it was benign and non-fatal. A cavity can kill you if you wait too long... it infects the root, you get an abscess, blood poisoning, then you die. All this aside, she already had an appointment scheduled to have it removed, but she freaked out and went to the U.S... and turned it into political hoopla to provide money for her medical fund.

    Her claim is a lie. Period. And I am sickened that someone from my own country is twisting Canada's UHC system for her own benefit, in a political debate where innocent minds are so susceptible to the wrong information.
    Last edited by Orion; 10-03-09 at 10:57 PM.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Orius View Post
    What she claimed is irrelevant. Her doctors said it was benign and non-fatal.
    Where did her doctors say this? Rathke's pouch cysts can be associated with diabetes insipidus which in rare cases can be fatal. Like I said, I wouldn't be surprised if she is lying and the case unfolded exactly like you describe. But you seem to be making stuff up like her doctors saying it was non-life threatening when in fact, they haven't. I don't think they said anything at all about the case, and if they did, they are in clear violation of patient privacy laws if they did. You also seem to be making up some statement by her that she had brain cancer, when in fact she said she had a tumor (which although, technically isn't correct, cysts are often referred to as fluid-filled tumors). You also seem to assume that only malignant brain cancers can be fatal. That also is false. I would be much more enthusiastic about sharing your outrage if you didn't need to make stuff up in the process.

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    Re: The truth about Shona Holmes

    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    But you seem to be making stuff up like her doctors saying it was non-life threatening when in fact, they haven't. I don't think they said anything at all about the case, and if they did, they are in clear violation of patient privacy laws if they did.
    Citing the nature of a Rathke's cyst in general does not mean they are violating her privacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by From the article on this very page
    The Mayo Clinic diagnosed Holmes with Rathke's cleft cyst, which the clinic describes as a rare fluid-filled sac that grows near the pituitary gland near the base of the brain and can cause hormone and vision problems over time. The condition is not known to be fatal and the clinic, in trumpeting her treatment, makes no claim that her life was in danger.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    You also seem to be making up some statement by her that she had brain cancer, when in fact she said she had a tumor (which although, technically isn't correct, cysts are often referred to as fluid-filled tumors).
    Yeah, but I guess saying it's a serious tumor has bigger media impact, right?

    And I never mentioned the word cancer. Go back and re-read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cremaster77 View Post
    You also seem to assume that only malignant brain cancers can be fatal. That also is false. I would be much more enthusiastic about sharing your outrage if you didn't need to make stuff up in the process.
    Accusing me of fabricating info is in poor style especially when you evidently didn't even read the OP article.

    I made no such assumption. You claiming that that's what I'm saying is your assumption and nothing more.

    This woman couldn't wait for the procedure to be done in Canada, so she fled to the U.S., taking out another mortgage in the process, and then turned it into a political firestorm. She made the choice to hop borders to deal with a non-life threatening condition. In the UHC system, the most urgent procedures get the priority.

    Now she has to exaggerate the seriousness of her illness in order to gain legitimacy somewhere. Her Canadian audience already sees her as a nut... so she might as well just go to the U.S. where there are plenty of anti-UHC advocates who are completely ignorant of how Canada's UHC actually functions to gain some acceptance.

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