Canadian doctor diagnoses woman in British Columbia with ‘climate change’ after breathing problems during summer from heat waves and wildfires | Climate news
A Canadian doctor diagnosed a woman with “climate change” after she arrived at the hospital with breathing problems.
Dr. Kyle Merritt came to an unprecedented conclusion after discovering that a recent heat wave and poor air quality in Nelson, British Columbia, had contributed to the deteriorating health of the 70-year-old.
It comes as the doctor and colleagues working in the emergency department at Kootenai Lake Hospital faced a surge in patient numbers in June as a result of the province’s worst weather in years.
British Columbia was hit by the hottest and deadliest heat wave in the country’s history. This was followed by wildfires that left behind thick smoke across the county.
Air quality levels quickly deteriorated, becoming 43 times worse than acceptable levels.
Dr. Merritt found that the 70-year-old’s current conditions had worsened after her examination at the end of the summer.
He told Glacier Media: “She has diabetes. She has some heart failure…She lives in a trailer, there is no air conditioning.
“All of her health issues have worsened. She really struggles to stay hydrated.”
In what is believed to be the first scientist, after evaluating the “underlying cause,” he wrote on the patient’s chart: “Climate change“.
“If we don’t look at the underlying cause, and just treat the symptoms, we’re going to keep coming back further and further,” he said.
Others at the hospital shared Dr. Merritt’s opinion and was able to put together an internal group of about 40 medical professionals called Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health.
“As doctors and nurses, we have seen for ourselves the physical and mental effects of climate change on our patients and communities,” the group said in a statement on its website.
“We view this as a looming disaster that threatens to undermine our already overburdened medical system,” she warned.
The group’s message of concern has been echoed by other health professionals around the world.
“The same unsustainable choices that are killing our planet are killing people,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
In the United Kingdom, a nine-year-old child dies Ella Casey Debra It was the first time exposure to air pollution was named as a medical cause of death.
News of the 70-year-old’s diagnosis comes after Dr Merritt and doctors and nurses from Planetary Health aired their concerns to politicians at a protest in Victoria last week.
“This is about moving forward in a way that saves lives,” said Dr. Kelly Lau, who was among the protesters.