The Consumer Complaints Blog

Fighting the trained monkey in modern society.

October 6, 2005

I Think I Know Why The Kids Are Sick

Filed under: Musings — Editor @ 1:16 pm

For this article I’d like to talk about SickKids Hospital in downtown Toronto, Canada.

The story begins with a call from my sister in law. My nephew hurt his arm and we needed to take him to the doctor because she couldn’t tell what was wrong with him. After an annoying trip to his incompetent doctor, we end up at Sick Kids Hospital. (I once had a guy on the street ask me why it’s not just called Kids Hospital since hospitals are automatically presumed to be for sick people.)

The Hospital For Sick Children, or SickKids as it is known, “is one of the largest paediatric academic health science centres in the world, with an international reputation for excellence in health care, research, and teaching.” That’s a direct quote from their web site.

Now don’t get me wrong. This is not an assault on the hospital or its abilities. In Toronto and around the world, they really do have a superb reputation for excellence. Something not all hospitals in the Canadian system can claim, and I’m speaking from first hand experience. I once had to sit in the emergency room for over three hours with an exposed, gashed open knee before anyone looked at it. Of course this wasn’t as bad as the kid next to me who’s wheelchair was parked in a pool of his own blood. But I digress.

So we’ve established that SickKids Hospital is famed for its excellent doctors and the good work that they do, including teaching.

My nephew, by the way, was taken care of by a doctor who found that his arm was just dislocated. A common condition in young children apparently. He popped it back in in a second flat.

While we were waiting for the doctor, I had a chance to look around. This is the part I don’t get. In North America, we have a growing problem with obesity and heart disease and you name it. The culprit of which is overeating and a fast food culture. So why then does one of the world’s best hospitals for children allow Burger King onto their premises? Is this not a conflicting message to send to children and people in general?

Now, I’m not a granola munching vegetarian hippy or anything, but I am against hypocrisy and I do hate fast food. Not because I don’t eat meat. In fact, there is nothing I love more than a good charcoal barbecue dripping with flesh. (I think I’m getting hungry.)

No, the reason I hate fast food is because it’s insulting to consumers and humanity as a whole. I can barely even call it food to be honest. It’s a pathetic example of minimum standards for low quality human consumption, masked with flavour enhancers and cleverly marketed with lies and propaganda. Not to mention how it’s prepared. This truly is the lowest form of food created solely for profit. The worst part is how people keep eating it and even defend it if you point it out.

But the real problem is that this famous hospital has no problem sending this mixed message to children and parents. What are we as consumers supposed to think? Doctors are telling us that we should avoid this crap but the hospital seems to think it’s okay. Which one is it?

I went back a different day and shot some photos.

Burger Kind sign at SickKids hospital in Toronto
This one is a shot of the sign from the street. The hospital wants to make sure you know what’s inside for you to eat.

Sign making sure you can find Burger King inside SickKids.
They also want to make sure that on the way to that cardiac scan, you can grab something at Burger King.

Burger King inside SickKids Toronto.
This is inside the hospital. Burger King seems to be closed on Sunday. Guess Sundays aren’t profitable enough.

What about this question of profitability? Would these companies be in the hospitals if they weren’t turning a profit? Hell no! So why then does this hospital send out a yearly campaign asking people to donate money? Other hospitals in the city use their facilities to make money that goes towards the hospital. Why is The Hospital for Sick Children such a corporate whore?

All good questions that I’m sure some twisted individual at the hospital can give a BS answer to when they could do a much better job of running their facilities. At the very least, stop sending out mixed messages.

As always, thank you for reading.

7 Responses to “I Think I Know Why The Kids Are Sick”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Our local childrens hospital is called “Starship” and the head of the hospital has tried to have it renamed to the Auckland Childrens Hospital because the current name makes it seem fun. Tell that to the kids! Not such a big deal for the outpatients or short stay kids but for the kids who are in and out of hospital all the time it must be nice to have a name that’s slightly oblique.

    They had McD for years and have recently thrown it out. Now there are no fast food outlets in the hospital and long may that last!

  2. Ron Oswald Says:

    ” I once had to sit in the emergency room for over three hours with an exposed, gashed open knee before anyone looked at it.”

    Ah, the beauty of socialized health care. And to think they wanted to do this in the US. No thanx!

  3. WM Says:

    There are a lot of items prepared at home that are unhealthy as well, and not EVERYTHING at Burger King is unhealthy. In fact, any competent nutritionist would tell you that an occasional fast food meal isn’t bad for most people.

    Now, the hospital apparently uses proceeds from its arrangement with the restaurants and the drug store to fund research and patient care.

    As for the comment from our uninformed American friend, Sick Kids as an institution is not rivalled by any pediatric hospital in the US, period. One of the strengths of the hospital is that every Canadian child who is in need of its services, from setting a broken limb to a heart transplant, can receive them, regardless of the family’s ability to pay.

  4. Editor Says:

    Hi WM. I’m not sure you posted your real e-mail address but thought I’d respond to your comment anyway. It’s true that there are lots of things prepared at home that are unhealthy. That’s not the point however.

    I suppose you fail to grasp the hypocrisy of telling people to eat healthy on one hand while supplying them with junk on the other. What kind of a message does that send coming from a hospital? So what if the money goes to research? Could they not have contracted with a better food choice than Burger King?

    And as for the nutritionist comment, it’s true that the occasional fast food meal will not harm you but any nutritionist that would advise eating it is probably not competent by definition.

  5. heidi Says:

    i have been going to the hospital for sick children my whole life i am turning 19 in only a few months and ym personal opion is who cares if there is a burger king in the hospital you knwo it is an individuaks onyl choice to choose a big burger or a salad and you know you got to live life up as any one there is a day you would want to eat healthy and another you want the junk i am no where near obesit and i work at a pita place and i grab a burger all the time there is nothign worng with it if thats what you enjoy for those who it dosnt settle for as welll then it just takes the common sence to not eat a burger everytime you walk by a fast food place i work right beside one and yes every now and again you would catch me there but you knwo balance it off and secondly it is mostly children going into this hospital and yes they would rather a kids pak and fries you must have a variety to make people satisfied

  6. Editor Says:

    I think people are kind of missing the point of these posts. I like the hospital for sick children. It’s a good place, but that doesn’t excuse the mixed message they are sending. It’s a sad state when people start to consider the slop at Bugger King and other fast food places as food.

    There is no accounting for taste but a hospital should not encourage the marketing of crap to kids. It’s this kind of comfort association that gets people hooked on this garbage when they are adults.

    I’m glad you’re not obese and you enjoy fast food. If I want a burger, I’ll go and make, or buy a real one from a place that knows how to make one. Burger King burgers are not really my idea of “living life up”. It’s kind of living down if you ask me.

    It’s not the type of food I’m criticizing but rather the lack of quality and nutritional value in the food.

    Thanks for the post. These kinds of varied opinions are what make for a healthy debate and discussion.

  7. Rose Says:

    Give me a break. This is perhaps one of the most ludicrus posts I have ever seen. My daughter has been a patient at HSC for the past 2 years for various (quite serious) health issues. Now let me tell you something. Who CARES whether there is a Burger King on sit…hmmmm other than the burger king, I don’t think that Tim Hortons or Soup it up are in the same “junk food” league. Cant someone get a coffee or a chicken noodle soup in peace? I think it is YOU who is missing the point. Imagine the thousands of kids who are seen and treated at that hospital every year, some who are very sick, some with life threatening illnesses. I think these kids, if they wanted a couple of fries, would be deserving of them don’t you think? Let the public choose what to eat and where. But don’t blame a world class institution for providing for people’s choices.

    Why dont you spend your time about the GOOD this hospital does DAY IN and DAY OUT.

    Thanks for your time.

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