Skip to main content

Regina woman forced out of province to receive post-radiation therapy


A Regina woman who couldn’t receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help her heal from cancer radiation treatment in Saskatchewan has been sent to Alberta.

Saskatchewan’s only hyperbaric chamber in Moose Jaw has been closed since 2021, the province says it is working to accelerate the chamber’s re-opening.

Tamara Heppner packed her bags and left for Calgary this week where she will receive the hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

“So right now she is actually going in her second dive or treatment at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary. So her first one went pretty well. I’m just happy that she’s in there,” Heppner’s son Brayden Dutchak said.

Heppner was hospitalized in December and was dismayed to learn that Saskatchewan’s only hyperbaric chamber in Moose Jaw has been closed since 2021. It’s because of a shortage of respiratory therapists.

“They’ve had since the middle of 2021 to figure this out and they’ve known about this prior that they were going to be losing somebody,” Dutchak said.

The government has agreed to cover travel costs to Calgary where Heppner will receive outpatient treatment for a month. The family is still pushing to have treatment made again available in Saskatchewan.

“We’ve inpatient treatment. We have outpatient treatment and we have outpatient treatment and we have out of luck treatment. Saskatchewan is not a third-world country and we shouldn’t be dealing with this,” Dutchak said.

In a letter to the family, the minister of rural and remote health suggested that the resumption of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a priority. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) wants a full complement of four respiratory therapists before resuming service. It is currently one short.

The SHA is now considering resumption of at least partial service while the search for more therapists continues. Top Stories


BUDGET 2024 Feds cutting 5,000 public service jobs, looking to turn underused buildings into housing

Five thousand public service jobs will be cut over the next four years, while underused federal office buildings, Canada Post properties and the National Defence Medical Centre in Ottawa could be turned into new housing units, as the federal government looks to find billions of dollars in savings and boost the country's housing portfolio.

Lululemon unveils first summer kit for Canada's Olympic and Paralympic teams

Lululemon showed off its collection for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday at the Liberty Grand entertainment complex. Athletes sported a variety of selections during a fashion show that featured garments to be worn on the podium, during opening and closing ceremonies, media interviews and daily life on the ground in France.

Stay Connected