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Cablegate: Tfha01: Canada Considering Medevacs

VZCZCXRO7967
OO RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHHO RUEHNG RUEHRS
DE RUEHOT #0055 0362027
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 052027Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0341
INFO ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000055

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID MOPS HA CA
SUBJECT: TFHA01: CANADA CONSIDERING MEDEVACS

1. (U) Canada is in the process of establishing procedures to
treat medevac patients from Haiti. A British Columbia-based NGO --
the Rick Hansen Foundation (which specializes in spinal cord
injuries) -- has identified eight Haitian patients with spiral cord
injuries recommended by contacts on the ground in Haiti (including
at least one Canadian Forces doctor). It has offered to pay their
medical expenses in Canada for ninety days. The Department of
National Defence has apparently agreed to provide a medevac airlift
from Haiti to the Ottawa area. Four hospitals in Ontario and one
in Manitoba have tentatively agreed to provided the needed care.

2. (U) However, the government of Canada is still wrestling with
a few issues:

-- how to issue visas to the eight patients, most of whom
presumably do not have passports now and few of whom would likely
qualify for a visa ordinarily;

-- how to pay for in-country Canadian travel;

-- eligibility of family members to accompany, and who would cover
those costs;

-- who would absorb the costs of any medical treatment or
rehabilitation after the 90 day period;

-- how to ensure that the patients (and any family members) would
return to Haiti, especially if Canada was still in its current
period of halting all deportations to Haiti;

-- how to deal with local perceptions of "queue jumping" in
hospitals where there may be wait periods for Canadian patients
with similar injuries;

-- how to coordinate with the provincial health ministries, which
individually administer the federally funded national health care
system;

-- how to determine whether alternative in-country hospital space
may already be available in Haiti, as the Pan-American Health
Organization has apparently suggested; and,

-- which federal agency in the Canadian government should have the
overall lead on this issue (most likely, the Privy Council Office).

3. (U) There will be a meeting of Deputy Ministers late afternoon
on February 5 to sort through some of these issues, with hopes of
achieving greater clarity soon. According to the Department of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada wants to be
supportive of this medevac process and intends to begin with this
offer from the Rick Hansen Foundation and these eight cases, but
will need some additional time given that there are no precedents
in Canada for similar medevacs.

4. (U) Canada would welcome additional information about which
other countries are currently providing or are planning to provide
medevacs for Haitian patients and about the procedures that they -
including the U.S. - are using regarding visas, expenses, etc.

5. (U) Minimize concerned.
JACOBSON

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