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The public health care system has failed me on so many levels.

Loki, Victoria, BC

January 22nd, 2017


The public health care system has failed me on so many levels.

As a child I waited and suffered for 8 years before a serious spinal-nerve condition was diagnosed. My symptoms were waived off as imaginary and diagnostics were not performed. It was finally discovered that I had spinal deformities, scoliosis, and a tethered spinal cord. Spinal cord surgery was not performed until age 10. I wore a back brace for 7 years to try to stabilize my worsening spine.

After I turned 19 no follow up treatment was provided. By age 21 I developed debilitating upper limb pain. It took 6 years to receive a correct diagnosis, job loss, financial ruin, and numerous appointments within the public health care system. In between waiting for specialist appointments I sought pain relief from private health care treatments. They helped, but were not financially sustainable. I was finally referred to a public surgeon who specializes in my condition.

Two and a half years have passed and I am still waiting for a consult. I've been told I'm on the "short list" and could be waiting up to 5 years total. The "long list" is up to 10 years.

Since then, I have been struggling with daily tasks, taking high doses of pain killers, and suffering from mental health issues. Last year I attempted suicide and was hospitalized. My chronic pain was so unbearable I tried to end my life to escape it. I continue to struggle with severe depression.

Due to the long wait to have my spine properly assessed, I recently developed further complications. I've now been referred to a second surgeon with a 1.5+ year wait list. These wait times are just for consults, not surgery.

How much longer will I be waiting? What new problems will arise in the meantime?

I understand a private surgery consult could be arranged for me in a matter of weeks. I will be looking into this as it may be the difference between life and death for me.

I simply can't wait any longer. No one should have to wait 8+ years for help. I'm 29 years old and have spent most of my life "waiting" for medical treatment.


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