#52 – The Triptych of Death, Part One: Failing at Babies (is OK in Canada)

English Canada is the second-worst advanced society on earth at keeping babies alive.

Infant mortality, defined as the number of infants in a hypothetical sample of 1000 who won’t see their first birthday, is a critical indicator for how well societies are doing at a number of things. Infants are fundamentally vulnerable and require the attention of their guardian(s) to survive; they also tend to have problems that need relatively advanced modern medical techniques to be readily on-hand. Infant mortality is useful as a metric as a means of seeing how well a medical system is working as well as offering a potential window to greater social problems.

Canada is the second-worst at keeping babies alive in the developed world. And it has been falling further and further behind as the years go on. Unlike countries like Italy which went from worse than Canada to better than Canada in 50 years or countries like Denmark which have maintained a high standard for infant care, Canada has proudly gone from relatively mediocre to extraordinarily bad at babies.

So what kills Canadian babies? Surely with Canada’s godly healthcare that is so much better than the American system you guys Canada can keep a few babies alive. In 2002, Canada claimed that it was lagging behind the world like a fat man in a marathon entirely because too many babies were being born early and dying in their first day of life. Damn you, anti-Canadian babies! Never mind, among many other factors to never-mind, that the documented and consistent problem with Canadian Indians getting to hospitals on time and safety from distant, uncared-about reserves may perhaps lead to infant mortality – people’s wombs are just too un-Canadian and must be conspiring to ruin Canada!

A pathetic excuse aside, Canada’s poor performance in the field of infant mortality belies a host of potential problems. Are Canadians overworked and unable to take care of their young in a context of falling wages and rising costs? Are hospitals clean, sanitary, and professionally carrying out their duties? Are Canadian infants exposed to contaminants or poisons in their environments? Are transit systems able to safely and properly bring people to care facilities? Has Canada been paying attention to this problem and watching how the rest of the world avoids dead babies? Has the Canadian state informed its people that it has a problem?

Nope! There are still plenty of infants to become hockey stars, so fuck those dead ones! They didn’t have enough Grit and Heart anyways.

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