Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors

{August 22, 2012}   Doctor refuses to wait for Cancer Treatment in Canada

Doctor excoriates wait times with medical trip to U.S.

on August 20, 2012 for the Medical Post

Wait times in British Columbia forced a retired doctor to drive to neighbouring Washington state to get a quickly growing tumour removed from her breast.

Dr. Lydia Wingate, 79, was outraged when she was told last month that she would have to wait until September to get the lump removed.

Dr. Wingate, a former cancer epidemiologist, says a summer shutdown forced her to take matters into her own hands.

On Thursday, she underwent surgery in Seattle. And on Monday afternoon, she was back at home recovering.

“Believe it or not, two business days after my surgery in Seattle, my surgeon called me today with my post-operative pathology report, which I think is pretty darn marvelous,” she told the Medical Post.

The dual-citizen Dr. Wingate has worked in the United States and she travelled to Seattle to consult with a doctor in August.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority said that summer hours only affect certain elective surgeries, and that serious cases are monitored and held to provincial wait-time benchmarks.


I wonder how anyone diagnosed with cancer can tolerate waiting for cancer treatment appointments while those nasty little cells keep dividing and multiplying and every hour counts. I would certainly lie awake at night, imagining those little cells hard at work  …..  never resting  …..   never sleeping  …..   not waiting for appointments …..   and I would have every reason to worry . Why are patients given a false sense of security, being misled into thinking that they are “in good hands” once an appointment  –  days, weeks or months ahead  –  has been made?! 
Waiting time may decide whether a patient will live or die as cancer cells are spreading, invading tissue and traveling to other parts of the body via the circulatory system where they may not be discovered until it’s too late, even though the primary tumour is “successfully” removed  – “they got it ALL”!  It’s quite possible that during the time you were waiting for your appointment, a number of cancer cells have migrated, undetected and undisturbed …… for now.  When finally discovered, the patient is informed that “the cancer is back”. The cancer is not back, it never left and was simply allowed to grow in other parts of the body, courtesy of a few cells with the opportunity to “travel” while you waited for your appointment some weeks or months ahead. Clearly Dr. Wingate was of the same opinion and speeded up treatment by going to the U.S.  She may well have saved her own life !   Waiting a month, a week, even a few days can mean the difference between life and death.    Cancer cells do not wait for appointments !


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