Health solutions sought

I require surgery immediately as I can barely get around and I am in excruciating pain 24/7 and instead of replacing my knee joint, I am offered every type of pain medication available.

I require surgery immediately as I can barely get around and I am in excruciating pain 24/7 and instead of replacing my knee joint, I am offered every type of pain medication available. It seems odd to me that the pharmaceutical company gets covered but there is no surgery for my doctors to repair my knee. Maybe I need to take heroin for the pain, and then at least I would be guaranteed that I would be taken care of with a safe injection site and probably the surgery that I need.

I am another discouraged patient, voter, taxpayer, worker on another long waiting list for surgery in the province of British Columbia, which has become the norm over the past many years.

Why do we have a medical system that each person in the province is required to pay into but are not able to access because the Ministry of Health does not allow surgeons the time and resources available to provide those surgeries without placing the patient on a very lengthy waiting list?

I live in the North Okanagan where the new Vernon Jubilee Hospital is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011 and the top two floors of this new hospital are not even being funded for use and will be empty and unfinished on opening day?

Why did the government spend all the money on this new hospital when it does have the money to fund it when completed? It is all show for the government and profit for the builder, but no beds for patients.

VJH runs at over capacity every day now and will have fewer beds when the new hospital opens. I do not want to join other citizens of British Columbia who believe we have to revolt like other countries, picket government offices on a daily basis, or start a movement to stop paying for the MSP that the government is bound by law to provide us, but doesn’t.

I have chosen to leave the country to have my surgery and send the bill to the government so it can write me a cheque for my expenses for something I am already paying for in our province and country.

I have spoken with both my family doctor and my orthopedic surgeon and told them this what I am considering doing. The reason I consulted them first is because I respect their opinions and did not want to jeopardize my relationship with them. They understand my position, as I understand the position they are in as well.

I have sent this letter to The Honourable Michael de Jong, Minister of Health, and will assume that if I do not hear back from him that the ministry will reimburse me for my properly documented medical expenses when I leave the country to have my surgery performed where there are no waiting lists.

I have forwarded copies of this letter to: Dr. Andrew Pestridge; Dr. James Dooley,  Glenn Mitchell (editor, The Morning Star), Eric Foster (MLA Vernon Monashee), and Norm Embree (chairman of the board, Interior Health Authority).

Gerald Thiessen

Vernon