Friday, July 2, 2010

Canadians need Patient Advocates

Yet another sensational news item about health care. For a woman diagnosed with colon cancer on May 3, and passes away  July 1st, realistically speaking I wonder what this timeline indicates to Primary Health professionals?

That is secondary, of course, to the fact that the Cross Cancer Institute never called her. I would have been on the phone every day demanding an appointment. No longer can patients sit back and wait for the health care system come to them.

Her primary care physician's office should have been on the phone, too. Not only that, but the family should have contacted a Palliative Care support system. I wonder what is missing in this article?

'Lotto health care' victim dies

EDMONTON - A cancer patient who received an apology from Alberta Health Services' boss Stephen Duckett for having to wait for treatment has died. Ann Reynar died in her husband's arms at 11:36 a.m. Thursday at their Leduc home.
"I held her this morning and told her to let go and she did," said Wave Reynar, Ann's husband of almost 30 years. "She squeezed my hand and smiled at me." Ann was diagnosed with colon cancer May 3 and had been expecting a call for an appointment at the Cross Cancer Institute. But she never received that call. "We were basically sent home to die. It was lotto health care," said Wave. "She felt terribly abandoned by Alberta Health Services."
In Ontario, Family Health Teams (FHT) have a responsibility for their patients. They could have a Patient Navigator attached the the health team. A practice is much supported by such a system. I am shocked with the story. Physicians do not seem to want to diagnose someone, and state that they are palliative. Treatment plans are few and far between, in my experiences.

MOHLTC - Family Health Teams

 - 08-09-11

Family Health Teams are health care organizations that include a team of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers

The FHT my doctor belongs to gives me confidence and I have learned, through my volunteer work and caregiving for my parents, to take notes, to ask questions, and to be vigilant. A good physician expects this.

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