January 22, 2010
Lesnar's claims smashedManitoba health minister responds to comments about care at hospital
By PAUL TURENNE, QMI Agency
Manitoba Health Minister Theresa Oswald does not appear terribly bothered by critical comments Ultimate Fighting star Brock Lesnar delivered Wednesday about the quality of care he received in the Brandon hospital.
Oswald went on to say she has never watched one of Lesnar’s fights and suggested that if he is considered a celebrity, then the bar for fame is set pretty low these days.
The head of the Brandon Regional Health Authority, meanwhile, said the facility and staff are both first-rate and dismissed the notion that Lesnar’s comments might affect their image.
Lesnar, a UFC champion and former professional wrestler, was hospitalized for four days at the facility in November when he became sick while on a hunting trip in southwestern Manitoba.
He told reporters on a conference call Wednesday that he received “Third World” treatment, said some equipment wasn’t working, and suggested his wife “saved his life” by checking him out of the hospital and driving him to a facility in Bismarck, N.D., instead.
Lesnar, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican, admitted that he made the comments in an effort to influence opinion about U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to reform the American health-care system.
Oswald said Thursday that although she takes complaints about patient care seriously, she’ll take this one with a grain of salt.
“If this is more about partisan American politics and bashing American health-care reform I’m not interested in getting engaged in that. They can have that debate down south,” Oswald said. “I will listen to critics and learn from critics but also evaluate the point of view from which they’re coming.”
Carmel Olson, CEO of the BRHA, said the Brandon hospital is “very well-equipped with all the state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment” and that the doctor who attended to Lesnar is “very qualified and very respected.”
“I would be very disappointed if comments from one would-be celebrity would tarnish our reputation and I’m confident they won’t,” Olson said. “We’re not perfect, and there’s never 100% satisfaction with the health-care system anywhere, but this one-time event will not have an impact on the confidence that people have in our system.”