Winnipegger considers private hip surgery due to operating room delays in Manitoba
A Winnipeg man living in pain is considering getting his hip replacement done privately after learning of operating room delays in Manitoba.
“I have no quality of life right now. I’m in pain. I can’t even walk to the end of my driveway without the use of a cane or crutches. I don’t sleep at night,” said Robert Massey.
Massey learned he would need his left hip replaced in September 2020. He decided to book the surgery in Southern Health because the wait times were shorter. Massey said in Winnipeg it would take five to seven months just to meet the surgeon, and another 12-17 months to get the surgery.
In the Southern Health region, there was a wait of one to two months to meet the surgeon and another two to five months to get the surgery.
“I said let’s give it a try,” Massey told CTV News Tuesday.
In June, Massey said he met with his surgeon who works at Boundary Trails Health Centre and consented to the surgery at that time. He was told he would be contacted in a few months with a surgery date, but he has not heard anything.
Massey has since been emailing with staff at Boundary Trails and was recently told there have been delays in booking procedures.
“That’s when she informed me that there were OR closures, surgeries have been cancelled, and it’s most likely in the New Year (for a surgery date).”
Massey now estimates he is looking at February or March for a surgery date, while his pain is getting worse the longer he waits.
“If I have to go through five more months of this, I understand COVID is affecting the healthcare system, staff are choosing not to go to work because they don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said.
“I think they forget about the faces of the people that they are supposed to be serving. We’re the silent victims of this COVID.”
In a written statement, Southern Health-Santé Sud acknowledged the strain that COVID-19 has had on patients who have contracted the virus, their families, and those who have had surgeries and procedures postponed.
“We have made the decision at Boundary Trails Health Centre to implement a surgical slowdown by decreasing one slate per day, beginning October 18, to allow for redeployment of staff to areas of greater need,” reads the statement.
October 18 is the day the vaccine mandate took effect in Manitoba for front-facing public employees including health-care workers.
“The one slate per day surgical slowdown is split between specialties and based on the number of urgent/semi-urgent cases they have, as well as wait times. Ramping down surgery and redeploying staff will ensure we are prepared to respond to the potential for increased demand on bed occupancy, as required,” the statement went on to say.
Southern Health-Santé Sud said it continues to monitor the situation closely and plans are in place at Boundary Trails Health Centre to ensure it can deliver high-quality health services to the community during the fourth wave.
“We continue to encourage all Manitobans who have not been vaccinated against COVID to do so as quickly as possible,” the statement reads. “Vaccines are safe, they work and they do more than just protect you and others from the virus. They also help to protect the capacity of our health system and health-care providers to care for all Manitobans, not just those with COVID.”
Massey is now looking to go to Alberta to get the hip replacement done privately. He said it will cost about $30,000 to get the procedure done there.
“When you have no quality of life, (when) your mental health is suffering, you can’t put a price on that. If that’s what it means to spend that kind of money to get it done, so be it,” he said.
“It’s been 13 months, but the pain has been so bad in the past 3-4 months, I haven’t been sleeping and I’ve been off work.”