Letter: Wait time for surgery ridiculous in Kelowna

“My wife is now approaching 10 months, and counting.”

To the editor:

TV news item of Jan. 15 presented by the Society of Anesthetists stating that surgical wait times in B.C. are far beyond six months (a recommended standard).

My wife is now approaching 10 months, and counting, until she is able to undergo total hip replacement. She is in pain both day day and sleepless nights. Recent hip x-rays show definite progression of severe osteoarthritis, since first assessment consultation with our surgeon in April 2018, where a six to eighth-month wait was indicated. A second surgical opinion was recently sought, but to no avail, indicating a further three months wait.

Booking for a surgical date is not in the hands of surgeons but under the direction of an unidentified division of employees of Interior Health.

Apparently, as patients, we are not able to converse with this person, and we are unable to obtain any information of an upcoming surgical date. Therefore, left totally in the dark for months on end with no hope of getting any relief from the chronic pain, waiting day by day, hour by hour for the phone call.

We cannot plan ahead of time, not even over Christmas to get away for a couple of days, as she is unable to travel, being in pain 24/7, and just trying to keep the pain at bay with ice, and non-opiate medication.

She is getting more and more depressed about the loss of almost one year of her life at 79, and is unable to walk very far anymore and can do very little to maintain physical health.

Our Health Care System is excellent in some ways, but with respect to surgical wait times – unfortunately, it is very inadequate to meet the demands of timely access to desperately needed surgeries.

I would strongly urge a review of the manner in which surgical procedures are processed and allotted to individuals.

It is evident to my wife and I, that the current designation of surgical times, is severely out of reality with the present demands of the aging valley’s population needs. The system urgently demands a proper fix.

We request government authorities to get on with the job of researching and making adequate changes to the present system. The way it is now, people will die of old age before they get a surgical date to repair something that is “fixable”. A joint replacement should be re-classified as necessary, not “elective” surgery; it is something to provide mobility, not “elective” such as a face-lift.

At the time of this writing, the phone call came, the date will be 11 days short of one year of waiting!

Don Campbell

Kelowna

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