First Nations health care: ‘The system failed my son’

Fraser Meekis stands by the grave of his son Brody on the Sandy Lake First Nation reserve in Northern Ontario. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

The death of five-year-old Brody Meekis from a strep throat infection has cast a critical light on the inadequacies of health-care delivery on First Nations reserves, reports Gloria Galloway in Sandy Lake, Ont.

We’re not asking for more than what the normal Canadian gets for health care… we’re losing people needlessly – Bart Meekis, the Sandy Lake chief

Gloria Galloway |  Sandy Lake, Ontario | The Globe and Mail, Aug. 20, 2015 LINK

Brody Meekis died of strep throat, a common bacterial infection that is easily cured with a round of antibiotics when diagnosed almost anywhere in the developed world.

But five-year-old Brody was aboriginal and had to rely on the health care provided in his remote Ontario First Nation community.

More than a year has passed since the morning his frantic mother, Wawa Keno, rushed the boy to the nursing station in Sandy Lake, a fly-in reserve 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. She still fights back tears as she recounts the final hours in the life of her normally energetic, hockey-loving son.

“I just remember being so angry,” Ms. Keno said during an interview in the living room of her ramshackle, two-bedroom bungalow as she and her family prepared for a feast to mark the anniversary of her son’s death. “I was just in shock.”

Many things went wrong in the treatment of Brody Meekis, many of them related to a shortage of medical resources in the remote indigenous community where, as with other Canadian reserves, the responsibility for health care lies with the federal government. And Brody wasn’t the only First Nations child to die last year of strep. A little girl in Pikangikum, Ont., whose name is being withheld by her community, also succumbed to the disease that is rarely fatal anywhere else in Canada.

Brody Meekis was taken to the Sandy Lake nursing station twice, but his strep throat infection was not diagnosed.

KEEP READING:  First Nations health care: ‘The system failed my son’ – The Globe and Mail.

Editors Note: Even in the United States of America in 2016, there exists rampant debilitating Third World poverty and inadequate health care for First Nations and Sovereign Tribal Nations, the First Peoples.  What can we do about it? Please leave a comment or your thoughts…

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