Round Lake man advocates for change in Saskatchewan’s public health system

While surgical wait times seem to continue to increase in Saskatchewan, a Round Lake man has a rather simple solution; go to Mexico for your operation.

Walter White from the Round Lake area waited about seven months for a shoulder procedure here in Saskatchewan, and never saw the specialist that was to do the surgery, instead, he went down to Mexico to get the procedure done in January.

He said he was in the hospital on the Friday and received surgery on the Tuesday.

“You can’t even see the surgeon here in a year, never mind have it done,” White said. “That’s three working days to surgery, and that includes the day of the surgery, that’s how things are supposed to work.”

He said with the exchange rate, the entire medical expense costed him about $3,400 for this procedure, none of which has been reimbursed by the province.

“I’m sure this would have probably been 10-20% of the cost it would have cost the taxpayer here to have that surgery done, and they don’t see the benefit to having this stuff done out there, relieving the pressure on the medical system that we have, and getting the surgeries done or whatever you need down there, and paying 10-20% of the cost it would be here.”

White added that if he were to go back for any complications with this surgery, the surgeon who operated on him would do any necessary procedure out of his own pocket.

White said doctors in Mexico even noticed a dying bone in his wife’s arm, and told them to see her doctor here in Saskatchewan.

“Went in, got the X-ray done, went up to his office, and he said ‘everything’s fine, really good, everything’s coming along good,’” White said. “(My wife said) ‘oh, that’s a relief’ and he said ‘what do you mean?’ (She said) ‘Walter’s orthopedic surgeon said that the bone is dying,’ (and he said) ‘oh, wait a minute,’ he looks at the computer screen, ‘I guess that’s right, I guess it is.’ He never even looked at it (the x-ray).”

All in all, White adds the treatment he received in Mexico was second to none, and the health system here could greatly benefit from learning from their system.

90% of patients similar to White’s situation can wait up to 62 weeks for a procedure in Regina, according to numbers provided by the Ministry of Health.

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