A Preeceville, Sask. woman is asking the provincial government for help covering the cost of her husband’s medical care at the Mayo Clinic in the U.S.
Keri Gardner says her 46-year old husband Rod’s condition is deteriorating, and says they can’t get a diagnosis in either Saskatchewan or Canada.
“We should have really pushed for referrals to the specialists,” Gardner said. “The ball was dropped on his healthcare and we’re to the point where we trusted the system, we trusted all of the doctors that we’ve seen, and we’ve trusted the fact that they’re going to find a diagnosis.”
She was asked if a go-fund-me campaign is on the cards.
“We probably could, [but] unfortunately where we stand now time is running out.” Keri replied.
She says a “For The Love of Rod” campaign has been started to try and get the province to cover even some of their costs.
However in a letter to Keri, the Ministry of Health says her request has been denied because criteria for out-of-country services have not been met.
The Ministry stated that based on information provided by Keri, “it is not all clear that all services in the province have been assessed or other in Canada have been exhausted.”
On Sunday Keri Gardner organized a double rally in Preeceville and Yorkton – for her husband – to hopefully get the attention of Health Minister Jim Reiter, and Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit.
Keri was part of the Preeceville protest, while her mother, Joanne Stelmachowich was in Yorkton.
Joanne says this all started around January, when they noticed Rod was rapidly losing weight in a short period of time.
“He was showing symptoms of (what) we thought diabetes, but it turned out that the tests kept coming back normal,” Stelmachowich explained. “He was losing excessive amounts of weight without trying. He was eating more than he’s ever eaten in his life, but he was literally starting to waste away.”
She says the couple saw specialist after specialist, adding a particular appointment with a doctor in Saskatoon was demoralizing.
“They sat there for eight hours in emergency, got seen by a doctor who looked at all of his test results…and she looked at him and said ‘according to this you’re a healthy man, it’s all in your head.” She said.
However two days later the same doctor called and admitted after seeing further test results, some abnormalities were detected, so additional appointments with more specialists were ordered.
After seeing multiple specialists and experiencing long wait times, Joanne says her daughter had enough and decided to take her husband to the mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for treatment.
The Fraser Institute reports in 2016, 45,619 Canadians travelled abroad for medical treatment which is down from the 2015 number of 52,513, but higher than the 41,838 Canadians who went elsewhere for health care in 2014.
When it comes to wait times, the number of Saskatchewan residents waiting for any kind of surgery is rose in January 2017 to 21,826 compared to February 2015, when the number was down to 12,860.