Tommy Douglas and His influence on Medicare in Canada

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Have you ever been sick? Chances are you have. Medical care is very expensive; a simple check-up can cost up to and over $100. If a check-up costs that much money, think about how much an operation might cost. If it weren’t for Medicare or (Free) Universal Health Insurance, it is possible that some of you would be bankrupt by now. The inventor of this system is Tommy Douglas, voted the greatest Canadian of all time by the CBC broadcasting channel. This remarkable man was the former premier of Saskatchewan for 17 years and the father of Medicare.

Tommy Clement “Tommy” Douglas was born in Falkirk, Scotland on the 20 ͭ ͪ of October, 1904. In 1910, Tommy Douglas immigrated to Canada with his family. Shortly before he left Scotland, he fell and subsequently contracted osteomyelitis, a type of bone infection. His family was too poor to afford the expensive operations that he had to undergo to cure his leg. Miraculously, the doctor that the Douglas family hired offered to operate on him for free as long as they would allow the doctor’s students to observe the operation. The Douglas family accepted the offer. The doctor performed a series of operations that would save his leg, but an unfortunate side effect might make it so that he would never bend his leg again. To great surprise, Tommy was able to bend the leg right after the operation with the cry of, “I can bend my leg!” That leg served him well for 30 years to come. Nine years later, Tommy started an amateur career in boxing. Three years later, at the age of 18, Tommy fought his way to the title of “Lightweight Champion of Manitoba.” He managed to defend his title for one more year, 1923. This also helped him finance his future college or university education.


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