Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Even huge tumour can't secure care in Ontario
Globe and Mail ^ | March 11, 2008 | LISA PRIEST

Posted on 03/12/2008 1:34:22 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious

Inside Sylvia de Vries lurked an enormous tumour and fluid totalling 18 kilograms. But not even that massive weight gain and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer could assure her timely treatment in Canada.

Fighting for her life, the Windsor woman headed to the United States. In Pontiac, Mich., a surgeon excised the tumour - 35 centimetres at its longest - along with her ovaries, appendix, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix. In addition, 13 litres of fluid were drained during that October, 2006, operation.

And there was little time to spare: Had she waited two weeks, she would have faced potential multiorgan failure, rendering her unstable for surgery, according to a letter from Michael L. Hicks, who performed the four-hour operation at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.

"Based on my exam and experience as a gynecological oncologist, I felt it necessary to perform surgery within two weeks," said the letter written by Dr. Hicks, provided to Ms. de Vries's lawyer, Kate Sellar.

But a devastating cancer diagnosis was only the beginning of Ms. de Vries's troubles.

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan says it won't pay for the $60,000 cancer treatment because Ms. de Vries did not fill out the correct form seeking preapproval for out-of-country care.

As well, it says no medical documentation was submitted that indicated a delay in obtaining the service in Ontario would result in death or medically significant, irreversible tissue damage.

That administrative misstep has left Ms. de Vries, a 51-year-old corporate communications manager, with a staggering cancer bill. She has drained her savings, maxed out her credit cards, taken out a line of credit and relied on friends to hold a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser, which earned $11,125.

"I feel abandoned; I was fighting for my life," Ms. de Vries said. "... I definitely would like to get some money back but more importantly, I would like to see the situation rectified so [other patients] don't go through this."

Ms. de Vries's case raises questions about OHIP's out-of-country health coverage program, which was put under a review more than a year ago after cancer patient Suzanne Aucoin of St. Catharines, Ont., was denied funding for treatment she received in the United States.

Only after ombudsman André Marin intervened was Ms. Aucoin reimbursed $76,018.23 in January, 2007, to cover costs associated with the colorectal cancer drug Erbitux, among other expenses and legal fees. (She has since died.)

At the time, Mr. Marin described the out-of-country approval process as "literally impossible for patients and physicians to understand."

Just two months before Mr. Marin made those comments, Ms. de Vries was trying to get access to that same program.

To have an out-of-country treatment approved, the procedure must not be performed in Ontario, cannot be experimental and should be deemed medically appropriate. However, patients can have out-of-country treatment funded even if it is available in Ontario so long as there is a delay that would cause irreversible tissue damage or death. Part of the form must be filled out by the patient's physician.

Patients denied preapproved, out-of-country treatment can appeal their cases to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. And that is what OHIP has suggested to Ms. de Vries.

But her lawyer, Ms. Sellar, said such an appeal would be futile: Since Ms. de Vries did not fill out the out-of-country form before receiving treatment in the U.S., she cannot win the appeal.

Health Minister George Smitherman has the discretion to reimburse Ms. de Vries for treatment, if he chooses to do so. Ms. de Vries said she contacted her MPP, Sandra Pupatello, about it. In the end, she was told she had to go through the appeal process.

Bill Hryniuk, a past chairman of the board for the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada, said cases like Ms. de Vries are "happening quite a bit." The problem, Dr. Hryniuk said, is that "no one is in charge. No one is in charge of the case and the patient bounces around. ... It really is a bad system. Really, it's no system."

Even after Ms. de Vries obtained a CT scan in the U.S. that suggested she had ovarian cancer, she still couldn't get treatment in Ontario. She was referred to a gynecologist who would not take her as a patient because she had dismissed his practice partner some years earlier. Another gynecologist said he did not believe she had ovarian cancer. And a general surgeon said she needed a gynecological oncologist.

At that point, in October, 2006, her condition was worsening - so she tapped her savings and went to the U.S.

After the surgery, she tried to get into the cancer system in Windsor, this time for chemotherapy. In November, she was told there was a six-week wait for chemotherapy, and she ended up getting chemo in the U.S. as well.

Ron Foster, vice-president of public affairs and communications for Windsor Regional Hospital, which includes the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, said such a wait even back in 2006 would have been unusual - that it may have been as long as three weeks. Today, chemotherapy begins within one week of being referred by a doctor, he said.

Several improvements have also been made to the out-of-country process. A bulletin describing the program was mailed to the province's physicians, hospitals and associations in October, 2007. The next month, a special website was created. Those who receive denial letters are now provided a special telephone number to call for clarification on why the request was rejected, said Health Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Woodward Fraser.

But all that was too late for Ms. de Vries.

"I feel disappointed that when you're going through something like I did, you had to think about financial issues. It put a tremendous amount of strain on us," she said.

Her husband, Adriaan de Vries, an IT systems engineer, said they had no choice but to go to the U.S. "Nobody was in charge," he said, "and nobody really cared."


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: bureaucracy; canada; govhealthcare; hillarycare; nationalhealthcare; socializedmed; socializedmedicine; universalhealthcare

1 posted on 03/12/2008 1:34:23 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: long hard slogger; FormerACLUmember; Harrius Magnus; Lynne; hocndoc; parousia; Hydroshock; ...
Socialized Medicine aka Universal Health Care PING LIST

FReepmail me if you want to be added to or removed from this ping list.
2 posted on 03/12/2008 1:35:42 PM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

It’s “free” when you can get it I guess. But this would never happen under hillary care.


3 posted on 03/12/2008 1:37:24 PM PDT by beltfed308 (Heller: The defining moment of our Republic)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

There, but for the grace of God, goeth Hillary.


4 posted on 03/12/2008 1:37:29 PM PDT by Sender (Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious
"the procedure must not be performed in Ontario, cannot be experimental and should be deemed medically appropriate"

Does DEATH count as medically appropriate? LOL!

5 posted on 03/12/2008 1:37:45 PM PDT by BossLady ("People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul" - Carl Jung)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: beltfed308
Mr. Marin described the out-of-country approval process as "literally impossible for patients and physicians to understand."

Which, of course, is the entire point.

L

6 posted on 03/12/2008 1:39:17 PM PDT by Lurker (Pimping my blog: http://lurkerslair-lurker.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

Hillabama Universal Government Health Care is coming to your town.

Aren’t you pleased?


7 posted on 03/12/2008 1:39:19 PM PDT by upchuck (Who wins doesn't matter. They're all liberals. Spend your time and money to take back Congress.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

Government health care means no health care.


8 posted on 03/12/2008 1:39:29 PM PDT by Jim Robinson (Our God-given unalienable rights are not open to debate, negotiation or compromise!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

That’s the future of US healthcare if the dems get control of congress and the WH.

Then where do Americans go for timely care? Nowhere. We start dying on waiting lists.


9 posted on 03/12/2008 1:42:20 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: beltfed308
But this would never happen under hillary care.

This is the answer I always get from libs I know when I point out how socialized healthcare fails everywhere else in the world.

10 posted on 03/12/2008 1:42:37 PM PDT by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson

Government healthcare means excellent healthcare for the political elites. All others wait in line.


11 posted on 03/12/2008 1:44:00 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore (If it ain't Rugby or Bullriding, it's for girls.........................................)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious
Which do you expect to be more profitable in case of Hillarycare:

1. Medical cruise ships (we are now outside the 3 mile limit, you may begin surgery)
2. Bahamas hospitals
3. Cuba as Michael Moore worships it now
or 4. Cuba after Raul is shot and Fidel is dug up, shot and reburied?

12 posted on 03/12/2008 1:46:38 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Rattenschadenfreude: joy at a Democrat's pain, especially Hillary's pain caused by Obama.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MrB
This is the answer I always get from libs I know when I point out how socialized healthcare fails everywhere else in the world.

Exactly! They quote these countries as examples but ignore stories such as this one. I don't think for a moment these are isolated cases either.

13 posted on 03/12/2008 1:47:19 PM PDT by beltfed308 (Heller: The defining moment of our Republic)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Sender

Dems rush in where angels fear to tread.........


14 posted on 03/12/2008 1:47:28 PM PDT by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson

If we are forced to take socialized medicine, where in the world will Canadians go to get healthcare?................


15 posted on 03/12/2008 1:49:16 PM PDT by Red Badger ( We don't have science, but we do have consensus.......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man
We start dying on waiting lists.

Then they'll take credit for solving the Social Security problem.

16 posted on 03/12/2008 1:50:48 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: KarlInOhio
3. Cuba as Michael Moore worships it now

It's funny that you should mention him because when I saw the headline I thought this article was about him.

17 posted on 03/12/2008 1:51:19 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (It takes a father to raise a child.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Tijeras_Slim

It’ll work so well someone will sponsor the “Logan’s Run” act.


18 posted on 03/12/2008 1:53:37 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

Some would argue that this is an anecdotal story. I don’t think that it is, though, because of a similar incident that claimed the life of one of my ex girlfriend’s family members. That person was preliminarily diagnosed with breast cancer. However, final diagnosis (MRI and simple biopsy) was put off for about six months. In that time, the cancer metasticized. Treatment was never approved because it was deemed to be futile, and she died shortly thereafter. The irony is that because she was never treated, the gov’t stats didn’t count her case as a death caused by poor treatment or anything like that. Basically, the delay and her death before treatment helped keep their numbers looking good. This was many years ago, but I see nothing here to indicate that anything has changed.

Socialized medicine is a travesty. Yes, our healthcare system is a mess, but that’s BECAUSE it is partially (more than partially, really) socialized already, and lawsuits, regulation, insurance compliance, Medicaid compliance, Medicare compliance, etc., etc. are out of control. MORE socialization and regulation is just pouring gas on that fire.


19 posted on 03/12/2008 1:53:56 PM PDT by piytar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jim Robinson
Government health care means no health care.

No, it means the government gets to play God. It will be a nameless, faceless bureaucrat who will decide who lives and who dies. And money or more succinctly the money the politicians have available to buy future votes will be the determining factor.

20 posted on 03/12/2008 1:56:58 PM PDT by mort56 (If you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till you see what it costs when it's free)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious
"The problem, Dr. Hryniuk said, is that "no one is in charge. No one is in charge of the case and the patient bounces around. ... It really is a bad system. Really, it's no system.""

This as they say in computer code writing is not a bug, but a feature. It is the very foundation of a bureaucracy that no one is in charge. Bureaucracy's were supposed to be pure, mechanistic, organizations free from human deficiencies.

I used to call the Army, the Post Office with guns. One of the common nature of bureaucacy is is for 'managers'( there are no leaders ) to aquire as much authority as possible and distribute responsibility as far afield as possible.( It's the 'systems' fault ) That is why the same person in a bureaucracy that lets' you know they are God and King, can pull a Casper in a second if anything goes wrong. By the way, Bureaucracy is a french word and comes out of the Napoleonic dictator era. ( It figures, don't it?)

21 posted on 03/12/2008 1:57:25 PM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

Problem is, we don’t have a convenient “United States” next door to go to if Hillobama put this in place here. My suggestion would be fly to the Philippines or India for decent, inexpensive medical care, if Hillobama will let you...


22 posted on 03/12/2008 1:59:09 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (http://www.fourfriedchickensandacoke.blogspot.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mort56
You don't understand, it will be overseen by Harvard and Yale law graduates.

.

.

.

Why is it so quiet here? What are you reaching in the top desk drawer for? Is that a gu...

23 posted on 03/12/2008 1:59:46 PM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

That will be removing money from the ‘system’. Much like sending your kids to public skools. Not allowed.


24 posted on 03/12/2008 2:00:55 PM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

Someone should have asked her if she supported socialized health care before offering her U.S. help. If she supports it, she should live with the consequences...


25 posted on 03/12/2008 2:00:56 PM PDT by trailboss800
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious
Canadian Socialized Medicine's Dirty Little Secret: It costs far less money to bury dead Canadians than it does to cure live Canadians. Given the choice, the Canadian Government will opt for saving money.
26 posted on 03/12/2008 2:06:05 PM PDT by Polybius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Leisler

I wouldn’t send my dog to Mexico for health care, so what else is there. I guess you just don’t tell them why you are going there on “vacation” or business.

http://www.livinginthephilippines.com/medical.html


27 posted on 03/12/2008 2:07:55 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (http://www.fourfriedchickensandacoke.blogspot.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: All
"But look at Canada, Europe, and other countries with national health care. Their people are healthier than Americans! This is proof GovCare is superior to America's healtcare.

My answer: all those who became terribly sick died because they were unable to get care, thus leaving only healthy people left. This makes it seem that national healthcare makes for healthier people but it doesn't. It just means the unhealthy don't survive long enough to bring down the national health average.

28 posted on 03/12/2008 2:11:39 PM PDT by figetyfiggs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

I spent some time talking this weekend to a woman from Canada who was involved in health care. She thought their system was wonderful.

I thought it was a good opportunity to get some questions answered, so I asked her about two things - length of time to get care, and about her taxes.

She skirted the “length of time to get care”. She said if you were in danger, you were “moved up on the list.”

As far as taxes, she paid 45% income taxes, and some 15%sales tax. Plus other myriad taxes. Then the care wasn’t really “free”. There were some incidentals she had to pay, like a yearly prescription drug fee, several hundred dollars. She also told me they now have a cat scan available in their town of about 30K people. (They used to have to go to a large regional center.) But she thought it a wonderful system!

She said the problem was a shortage of doctors.

When I told her I got basically immediate care, paid a few hundred a month, and my son who has no income gets almost free meds, it seemed to go over her head, like she wasn’t willing to accept our system was that good. She seemed a very nice person, but I don’t think she understood the quality of the care we get here.


29 posted on 03/12/2008 2:13:05 PM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: piytar
Socialized medicine is a travesty. Yes, our healthcare system is a mess, but that’s BECAUSE it is partially (more than partially, really) socialized already, and lawsuits, regulation, insurance compliance, Medicaid compliance, Medicare compliance, etc., etc. are out of control. MORE socialization and regulation is just pouring gas on that fire.

Amen, brother, amen!

30 posted on 03/12/2008 2:15:37 PM PDT by mort56 (If you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till you see what it costs when it's free)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: I still care
She said the problem was a shortage of doctors.

Another problem with their system. They all flee to the U.S.! Follow the money.

31 posted on 03/12/2008 2:18:24 PM PDT by Mark (REMEMBER: Mean spirited, angry remarks against my postings won't feed even one hungry child.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: Secret Agent Man

The future of US healthcare is much worse once we get socialized medicine. There will be no jumping across the border to get what you can’t get at home and much less incentive to “improve” things because there is no escape for the victims of SocMed.


32 posted on 03/12/2008 2:21:54 PM PDT by arthurus (And just why should he resign?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Michael Moore

Ping

33 posted on 03/12/2008 2:24:05 PM PDT by polymuser (Those who believe in something eventually prevail over those who believe in nothing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TexanToTheCore

Government healthcare will deteriorate for the elites also because medical research will end.


34 posted on 03/12/2008 2:25:05 PM PDT by arthurus (And just why should he resign?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

I haven’t seen a doctor in years. The dogs are at the vets every few months.


35 posted on 03/12/2008 2:28:04 PM PDT by Leisler
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

My question is why aren’t people suing the govt? I’m sure they are getting fleeced for the tax money.


36 posted on 03/12/2008 2:31:00 PM PDT by SwankyC
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Mark; I still care
Part of the shortage is due to doctors fleeing to the U.S. for various reasons (not only money -- some are just frustrated with the system here).

Mainly, the shortage is the result of a deliberate strategy to create the shortage. In the 1990's all Canadian governments (provincial and federal) restricted the number of places in medical schools. The official rationale was: "doctors create demand for health care". In other words, the strategy was to ration health care on the "supply side", by reducing the number of doctors.

The shortage was even greater than planned, because of the emmigration of doctors -- and because of an increased number of new female doctors. (On average, women doctors do not work as many hours per week, plus they take time off for childbirth, etc. -- meaning that it takes about 3 female doctors to provide the services of 2 male doctors.) Governments thought (correctly, for the most part) that the masses wouldn't catch on.

Medicare supporters go so far as to say that private sector services have to be outlawed -- because they would siphon off scarce doctors from the public system -- even though there would never have been a shortage, if market forces had been allowed to prevail.

Recently, new medical schools have been created; and enrollment is up -- but, it will be years before the gap is filled.
37 posted on 03/12/2008 3:02:43 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

Do you know the average pay the doctors in the system get? Just curious.


38 posted on 03/12/2008 3:21:36 PM PDT by Mark (REMEMBER: Mean spirited, angry remarks against my postings won't feed even one hungry child.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: Mark
Most are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Earnings vary by the size of practice, number of hours worked, and experience. Ordinary GP’s don't make much less than they would in the U.S. The gap is much bigger for specialists (especially surgeons) — where they can earn substantially more in the U.S. (or so I've heard).

Here's some official statistics:

http://www.statcan.ca/english/studies/75-001/archive/e-pdf/e-9944.pdf

39 posted on 03/12/2008 3:32:00 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Mark
I should have added to my previous post that the pay differentials were far greater when the Canadian dollar was down about $.62 U.S. When you factor in the higher taxes in Canada; a doctor could take home double in the U.S. — while receiving the same nominal salary.
40 posted on 03/12/2008 3:34:34 PM PDT by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: socialismisinsidious

bookmark


41 posted on 03/12/2008 6:07:57 PM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/Ron_Paul_2008.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

My suggestion would be fly to the Philippines or India for decent, inexpensive medical care, if Hillobama will let you...
*********************************************************
Saint Lukes is the choice for US Embassy personnel in PI..

AND they have an “International Patient Care” program...

http://www.stluke.com.ph/
http://www.stluke.com.ph/index.php?page=parent&pageID=74&parentID=74


42 posted on 03/12/2008 7:19:35 PM PDT by Neidermeyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Neidermeyer

Looks like a fine hospital. Do you know if Cebu has anything similar?


43 posted on 03/12/2008 7:24:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (http://www.fourfriedchickensandacoke.blogspot.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet

Looks like a fine hospital. Do you know if Cebu has anything similar?
****************************************************
I never spent time in Cebu,, however as there are large numbers of medical schools there ,, and being that it is the most metropolitan area other than Manila I would feel good about visiting a hospital there.. If you’re planning on living in Cebu ,, you can be in Manila in under 90 minutes on PAL or one of the other airlines..


44 posted on 03/13/2008 3:04:09 AM PDT by Neidermeyer
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: 2ndDivisionVet
You remind me: "Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent." Jim Quinn

Liberals want "care for all!" and what they will get is care for those who can afford to fly to the Philippines. Socialist always destroy in the name of "progress", they emote and have no knowledge of history, no thought of unintended consequences.
45 posted on 03/13/2008 7:43:10 AM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson