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Who Killed the Queen?

The Death of a Community Hospital and How to Save Public Health Care

Holly Dressel

What's gone wrong in Canadian health care and how to fix it.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital of Montreal, an exemplary Canadian community hospital that had been the site of many national and international medical firsts, was suddenly closed in the mid-1990s. It was not alone.

Using the dramatic and entertaining 100-year history of the Queen Elizabeth as a base, Who Killed the Queen? investigates Canada's mass closures of hospitals and hospital beds between 1994 and 1998. The book shows that the resulting 20% loss of beds - a figure unparalleled in the history of any other industrialized country - continues to affect hospital and health care in every province. Holly Dressel offers strong evidence as to who and what was responsible for the closures and also provides well-supported, international assessments of the current quality of the Canadian health care system, arguing that it can not only be saved but strengthened.

Who Killed the Queen? not only exposes the effect of internal bureaucratic and external economic pressures on public health care in Canada but also demonstrates the many ways in which this country's medical care is exceptional and worthy of emulation. This discussion is relevant for all countries whose medical systems are under attack.


"Anyone interested in our collective history, health care, economic intrigue, or how to create sustainable social systems needs to read Who Killed the Queen?. It's the first book to assess a subject dear to every Canadian's heart in a way that entertains, angers, and astonishes - that shows us what we should be proud of and sets real goals to shoot for."

- David Suzuki

"Not just a history, Who Killed the Queen? could be used to develop frameworks upon which we could base future health care decisions - it should be recommended reading for health care decision makers worldwide."

- Martin Dawes, associate professor and chair, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University

Holly Dressel is the best-selling author, with David Suzuki, of Good News for a Change: Hope for a Troubled Planet and From Naked Ape to Super-species: Humanity and the Global Eco-crisis.