Doctor Identifies World’s First Patient Suffering from Climate Change
A Canadian woman with an underlying condition of asthma has been diagnosed with “climate change” in the first such recorded case
In a shockingly unusual case, a Canadian woman facing breathing issues was diagnosed as the world’s first patient suffering from “climate change.” The woman’s doctor said that recent heatwaves and poor air quality were the driving factors behind her condition. The diagnosed comes not long after the heatwaves struck the country and worsened her frail health.
Reportedly, the patient is a senior citizen from Nelson in British Columbia and suffers from asthma. The patient’s condition deteriorated after the recent wildfires in Kootenays region in the British Columbia, which had seen over 1,600 wildfires this fiscal year.
Her doctor Dr. Kyle Merritt, who heads the Kootenay Lake Hospital’s emergency room department and is responsible for the diagnosis, said this was the first time that he wrote climate change as a cause of suffering. Dr. Merritt has encouraged other doctors in the area to come together and launch an initiative called the Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health through this new finding.
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…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.
Earlier this year, Canada experienced one of the worst heatwaves in its recorded history that triggered many wildfires, filling the skies with toxic smoke. Among many provinces, British Columbia had to bear the brunt of terrible heatwaves that led to about 500 deaths.
Dr. Merritt said that he had seen many cases where global warming has exacerbated existing health issues like diabetes, heart failure and much more. He reached out to other medical professionals in neighboring provinces of Prince George, Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria to start the initiative, in hopes of helping others in establishing a more forthright link between their patients’ health and climate change.
This unique diagnosis comes during the ongoing COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where the relationship between public health and climate crisis is already a hot topic. However, will this strange case prompt the global leaders in making some aggressive policies and decisions against climate change, only time will tell!