'You feel powerless': Family discouraged after father's brain tumour surgery delayed
REGINA -- Richard Baron received a shocking diagnosis two weeks ago that he has lung cancer which has spread to his brain causing a tumour.
"He’s doing okay," Baron’s daughter Ashleigh Woytuik told CTV News on Friday.
One of the main challenges for Baron is the position of the tumour on his brain has caused short term memory loss.
Surgery is needed to remove the tumour before he can begin his cancer treatments, but Baron’s family learned this week that his surgery is being delayed due to a lack of intensive care beds available in Regina.
"You kind of feel powerless in what do you do knowing that there’s no beds available, but there could have been measures taken to ensure that in cases like this when people are needing critical treatment that it would be available to them," Woytuik said.
Regina has seen record COVID-19 ICU admissions this week as the third wave continues to hit the city hard putting major strain on the healthcare system.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said it has had to prioritize ICU beds in the city, leading to some critical surgeries being delayed.
"We’re making those decisions on a day-to-day basis and triaging the most high priority patients that we can to make sure that we can care for them safely and provide them an ICU bed that they would need post that surgical procedure," SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said.
The government said it is leaving the decisions of which surgeries to prioritize up to doctors and healthcare professionals.
"Oncology is really dependant on what the priority is that day," Health Minister Paul Merriman said.
"It’s unfortunate when we do have to do this, but we’re working with a limited amount of people in our healthcare system that can provide this service."
The Opposition NDP countered that the government has put the province’s healthcare system in this position due to a mishandling of the pandemic.
"The government needs to come up with a plan, the minister has to come up with a plan for what’s going to happen to patients that need the ICU," NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat said.
"It is absolutely in the minister’s wheelhouse to fix this, he absolutely has control over surgeries."
Woytuik questions how prepared the government has been to handle a surge in COVID admissions.
"All they’ve been talking about is finding the balance and needing the balance, but when people are having surgeries delayed or care is not being given that is needed, there is no balance," she said.
Woytuik added that the province’s explanation for the lack of preparation falls short.
"I want to hear what they’re going to do going forward and how they’re going to put plans into action so that people that are waiting to receive surgeries or need ICU beds are not going to have to be prioritized by doctors," she said.