A Canadian facing breathing issues was diagnosed as possibly the first patient in the world suffering from climate change with doctors saying heatwaves and poor air quality were responsible for his condition.
According to Dr Kyle Merritt who is responsible for the diagnosis of the senior citizen from British Columbia, this was the first time in a decade that he wrote climate change as a cause of suffering.
“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. It’s me trying to just… process what I’m seeing,” he said.
In June, Canada suffered from a historic heatwave, followed by a thick smog season triggered by wildfires.
British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada, saw record-breaking temperatures in June, which experts believe led to the death of over 500 people.
The wildfires caused the air quality to become 43 times worse than levels acceptable as safe throughout July and August.
The patient, who was in her seventies, was diagnosed in the summer soon after the heatwave that Merritt says directly contributed to making her ailment worse.
“She has diabetes. She has some heart failure .… She lives in a trailer with no air conditioning. All of her health problems have all been worsened. And she’s really struggling to stay hydrated,” he said.
The diagnosis from Dr Merritt has led to other doctors in the province launching an initiative called Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health.
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