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B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

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B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby steven lloyd » Oct 14th, 2012, 9:41 am

B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-month wait for surgery
CBC News

B.C.'s Provincial Health Services Authority failed two Okanagan teens who desperately needed spinal surgery, including one who is now a paraplegic, according to a new report.

The Provincial Health Services Authority failed two Okanagan teens who desperately needed spinal surgery, including one who is now paralyzed from the waist down, according to a report from the B.C. Patient Care Quality Review Board.

The report referred primarily to the case of Walid Khalfallah, of Kelowna, who was diagnosed in 2004 with a spinal-curvature condition called kyphosis. At that time, the curvature in his upper spine measured 53 degrees.

In 2009, when Khalfallah was 13, his doctor insisted the boy's condition required immediate attention.

The review board report said it took 27 months before he got a date for surgery, but before that date arrived, Khalfallah's family had given up on the B.C. system, and sought help at the Shriners' Hospital in Spokane, Wash.

By that time, the curvature had more than doubled to 127 degrees and Khalfallah had to spend 10 months in traction before undergoing a 10-hour operation.

"We had done so many things to try and expedite him being seen and nothing seemed to make a difference," his mother, Debbie Waitkus, told CBC News.

"Everywhere I went I was crying because I thought my son isn't going to survive this and nobody's listening to me."
Government acknowledges failure

An assistant deputy minister from the provincial Health Ministry acknowledged in a letter to Waitkus dated Oct. 5 that her son was inadequately served.

"I would like to express my sincere regret for your family's very difficult experience with our province's health system," the letter said.

The report also cited the case of George Webb, of Vernon, who had a spinal condition requiring urgent surgery.

"As we were nearing two years on the waiting list, we had a very brief meeting with the surgeon who told us it could be another 18 months," said his mother, Donna Webb.

Webb eventually also abandoned the B.C. health system and was provided surgery at the Shriners Hospital in 2009, when he was 19. The operation was a success.

The board concluded that the Health Authority failed both teens, and found it had allowed Waitkus's condition to deteriorate unnecessarily


http://news.sympatico.cbc.ca/canada/bc_ ... y/d4a183de
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby Captain Awesome » Oct 14th, 2012, 10:05 am

Private healthcare saved the day? Hmmm....
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby steven lloyd » Oct 14th, 2012, 10:08 am

Captain Awesome wrote:Private healthcare saved the day?

For one of them anyway it seems. Maybe if there was more access to private services there would have been less strain on the public system and both could have been saved? I don't know.
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby coffeeFreak » Oct 14th, 2012, 10:13 am

Captain Awesome wrote:Private healthcare saved the day? Hmmm....


And the financial means to access it.
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby Captain Awesome » Oct 14th, 2012, 10:18 am

coffeeFreak wrote:And the financial means to access it.


Well, that always helps, I guess...
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby Charlie01 » Oct 14th, 2012, 10:24 am

I think it's worth taking a long, hard look at who was in charge of the Ministry of Health during the bulk of the years the first young man chronicled in the posted article relates to. From there, if a person follows the other Ministries this MLA has had as his portfolio you can't help but see a trend of cold indifference to the people of BC, no matter if they are children or in any other way vulnerable or at a disadvantage.

At least somebody finally admitted there was failure for these young men. The probable necessity of a legal fight ahead of them to gain compensation for the failures is so wrong. Quality of life that sounds like it may well have been achievable to some satisfactory degree for the fellow now facing life in a wheel chair is never replaceable with money. Any compensation will never ever cross the mind or desk or conscience of the guy in charge of the Ministry of Health during the years these fellows were most neglected. With or without the next election, he's retiring to spend time with family and to do more fishing. Sickening that the taxes paid by the families of these boys and ultimately by them as they enter the adult world will be going to pay that man's pension.
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby Graphite » Oct 14th, 2012, 11:09 am

Since healthcare is necessary to life, why are these issues not being solved? BC charges monthly for healthcare, and I think we might be the only province who does that but I might be wrong. Point being, if we pay, every other province should be paying too. Maybe that will begin to help the situation in Canada. Clearly a lot more needs to be done. But if we have to pay, why shouldn't everyone else? Obviously there is not enough money to start with. Goal: get more money. Solution: stop wasting money on things that are not necessary to life. Once that is accomplished work on funding the rest after life is taken care of. No brainier.
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby WhatThe » Oct 14th, 2012, 11:23 am

I must reiterate, every other expenditure and concern becomes trivial when health care is needed and not satisfactorily received. What then becomes the point of paying taxes?
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Re: B.C. teen paralyzed after 27-mo wait for surgery

Postby janalta » Oct 20th, 2012, 11:39 pm

I'm not sure what went wrong, why the system failed them, or if things have improved since then...but my personal experience has been quite the opposite.

I first had to go to the ER in Kelowna a year ago...Oct 30. Neck pain....onset of severe numbness in hands and feet, extreme tightness around my rib cage. That Dr was...less than impressive...said it was probably just carpal tunnel and sent me home. I was a massage therapist in AB and knew it wasn't carpal tunnel.
I kept going back until someone paid attention and took my symptoms seriously...which were getting worse every day.
I kept calling the neurologist's office until they got me in sooner. I called again to get the MRI sooner...I wasn't going to sit back and play the waiting game, not knowing why my body was suddenly failing.

I had the MRI the first week in Dec....one month after my first trip to the ER.
On Dec 9, the neurologist called and told me to go directly to the ER to see the neurosurgeon on call.
I was admitted into the hospital that same day.

X-rays, scans and nerve tests were inconclusive...and if I hadn't been the 'squeaky wheel', the end result could well have been different as I could have been waiting for months for an MRI.
As it turned out...that wait could have killed me, and most certainly would have landed me as a quadriplegic.
My cervical spine was so unstable that it was pinching off my spinal cord...causing significant nerve damage at C2 and compression from C3 to C6. It was already starting to paralyze my diaphragm.

I was in the hospital for more than 3 1/2 weeks...had extensive surgery on December 20..fusing my spine at C2 and stabilizing the rest of my neck with screws and pins.
Although the nerve damage has not healed...I'm alive, back at work and thankful that the health care system did it's job.
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