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.