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Canada reports world’s 1st ‘climate change’ patient, here are the symptoms

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date
Canada reports world’s 1st ‘climate change’ patient, here are the symptoms

Ottawa: As the world is facing adverse affects of ‘climate change’, Canada’s British Columbia province reports world’s first patient diagnosed with “climate change”.

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According to reports, the patient- in her 70s, has been facing breathing trouble which is an underlying condition of asthma. Dr Kyle Merritt, the consulting doctor, asserted that due to heatwaves and bad air quality patient’s health condition had deteriorated.

The patient was struggling to breathe after the recent wildfires in Kootenays worsened her asthma, reported a local newspaper. The Kootenays region in the British Columbia province has seen over 1,600 wildfires this fiscal year, according to reports.

Dr. Kyle Merritt, who heads the Kootenay Lake Hospital’s emergency room (ER) department, had seen numerous cases where the record heat wave exacerbated existing health issues like diabetes, heart failure, and so on. Dr. Merritt stated that for the first time in over 10 years, he has used the term ‘climate change’ while writing the patient’s diagnosis. “She has diabetes. She has some heart failure. She lives in a trailer with no air conditioning. All of her health problems have worsened. And she’s really struggling to stay hydrated,” Merritt added.

When asked why he chose make the unusual diagnosis, the report quotes Dr. Merritt as saying: “If we’re not looking at the underlying cause, and we’re just treating the symptoms, we’re just gonna keep falling further and further behind.”

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“It’s me trying to just … process what I’m seeing. We’re in the emergency department, we look after everybody, from the most privileged to the most vulnerable, from cradle to grave, we see everybody. And it’s hard to see people, especially the most vulnerable people in our society, being affected. It’s frustrating,” he says.

Dr. Merritt, who went on to put together a collective named Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health, hopes that his action will help another physician to establish a more straightforward link between their patients’ health and climate change.

He further stated that the three weeks of summer, where Covid-19 pandemic, the heat wave, wild fires and air pollution converged, was especially trying.

“What do you do with your children? You know, I have three kids, and they’re inside, it’s summertime, we’ve just got through COVID. And they want to go out and jump on the trampoline. So I have to try and figure out: Is that safe?” says Dr. Merritt.

It is also to be mentioned that, earlier this year in June, Canada had witnessed one of the worst heat waves ever following which there was smog caused due to wildfires that filled the sky. Among the many provinces, British Columbia suffered terrible heat waves that ended up causing 500 deaths, as per reports.

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