Canada witnessed one of the worst heat waves ever following which there was smog caused due to wildfires that filled the sky
A Canadian has become possibly world’s first patient to be diagnosed as suffering from ‘climate change’. The patient from Canada’s British Columbia province is facing breathing issues as doctors said heatwaves and poor air quality were responsible for her condition. The patient is a senior citizen and has an underlying condition of asthma but Dr Kyle Merritt, the consulting doctor said this was the first time in over 10 years he used the phrase climate change while writing up a patient’s diagnosis, Times Colonist, a Canadian daily reported.
According to Canadian daily Times Colonist, the patient — in her 70s from the British Columbia province — has been facing an underlying condition of asthma. Doctors examining the patient asserted that due to heatwaves and bad air quality her health condition had deteriorated.
Dr Kyle Merritt, the consulting doctor, 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.
He also notified that there is a strong requirement to identify and sort out the primary cause rather than just treating patients’ symptoms.
Earlier this year in June, Canada 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, per reports.
Recent climatic crises
The recent wildfires in Kootenays worsened her asthma, reported Canada’s Times Colonist newspaper. The Kootenays region in the British Columbia province has seen over 1,600 wildfires this fiscal year, according to the BC Wildfire Service website.
This diagnosis comes as record temperatures led to unprecedented severe heatwaves across the northwest territories in Canada in June 2021. The crisis killed over 500 people as temperature touched 46 degrees Celcius.
Pictures on social media had shown the heatwave melting roads and homes as residents sought relief from the heat by visiting outdoor pools and checking in into hotels to avail the service of an air conditioner, the usage of which is a rare in Canada.
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. However, linking mortality or severe illness to heat waves or air pollution is a struggle.
“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.