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Worst case: Canadian becomes world’s first patient to be diagnosed as suffering from ‘climate change’

Dr Kyle Merritt examined the senior citizen who suffered from asthma and faced breathing difficulties when they arrived at the emergency department in Nelson, British Colombia.

Worst case: Canadian becomes world's first patient to be diagnosed as suffering from climate change-dnm
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Vancouver, First Published Nov 9, 2021, 5:02 PM IST
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A Canadian is thought to be the first person in the world diagnosed with a condition caused by “climate change” as doctors said heatwaves and poor air quality were responsible for his condition. Dr Kyle Merritt of Kootenay Lake Hospital, who diagnosed the patient in Canada’s British Columbia province, said the patient in 70s came in with breathing trouble as suffering from “climate change”, possibly the first such case recorded till date.

The patient was struggling to breathe after the recent wildfires in Kootenays worsened their 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.

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. “It’s me trying to process what I’m seeing,” he told Glacier Media. “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.”

Also read: COP26 climate summit urges automakers to go for complete electrification

The record-shattering heatwaves in Canada and parts of the United States were responsible for hundreds of deaths. At least 233 people died in British Columbia from the heatwaves. The emergency condition was caused by what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the Northwest, worsened by human-caused climate change, which is making such extreme weather events more likely and more intense.

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.

“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,” Dr Merritt told the outlet.

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