Tony Ricciuto wrote a frankly shocking and dire article, "A frustrating wait for surgery to repair his skull", see here, in the St.Catharines Standard, Apr.21, 2010:
"Carl Coombs has a piece of his skull being kept alive inside his abdomen.
It has been there since Oct. 10, 2009, when doctors in Buffalo performed emergency surgery to relieve a buildup of pressure caused by blood leaking inside his brain.
The procedure saved his life.
Now, Coombs is waiting to have a second operation, this time in Canada at the Hamilton General Hospital as soon as a bed becomes available in the Acquired Brain Injury program.
The second surgery involves removing his skull section from his abdomen and implanting it back inside his head.
For Carl, his wife, Monique, and other family members, the sooner that operation can take place the better. All their lives have been hanging in limbo.
Until that piece of skull is replaced, Monique has to keep a constant watch on her husband because there's nothing to protect his brain on the right side of his head.
If Carl fell and banged his head, it could result in additional brain damage or cost him his life. As a precaution, he must wear a helmet to protect his head.
The 44-year-old Stevensville man doesn't recall much of what happened to him just two days before his accident. But little bits of his memory are slowly starting to come back.
On Oct. 8, Carl, who is employed in construction landscaping, was working on a job in Newmarket, not far from the hospital.
"I fell to the ground and that was it," he recalls.
At first, doctors thought he might have suffered a stroke. But they discovered there was some bleeding coming from the middle part of his brain. And his condition was worsening.
Doctors in Canada decided higher-level care was needed and had Carl airlifted to the Millard Fillmore hospital in Buffalo, where a doctor was available to perform the emergency surgery.
It's an acute-care medical centre with specialized programs that include world-class neurological and stroke care services.
Monique drove to the hospital in Buffalo to be with her husband. The couple has four children, three of whom are still living at home.
Monique recalled how worried she was having to give permission over the phone for doctors to do the operation.
"I had to answer the same questions over and over again so that there was no misunderstanding," she said.
Since being released, Carl has spent time at the Greater Niagara General Hospital and the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health & Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catharines.
The medical bill for Carl's operation in Buffalo came to about $87,000 - covered by OHIP because it was an emergency.
But the second operation is not considered an emergency and has to be performed in Ontario or it will not be covered by OHIP, said Monique.
"This needs to be done. He's been waiting since Feb. 24, and I'm concerned it might be getting dangerous because the longer his skull cap stays in there's a chance his body will start to attack it or there might be a risk of infection."
Monique said Carl is impatient and depressed because of the delay. When he's not in bed, he can sit in a chair or use his walker, but he needs to be watched and must keep his helmet on.
Carl is provided only one hour per week of physiotherapy.
"It's been very frustrating," said Carl's brother, Gary.
He says most people have never had to deal with this type of a situation before and can't understand the stress of dealing with different government offices, doctors and hospitals.
"This accident happened at work and now we are trying to deal with workmen's compensation," he said.
"The whole process has been very stressful and I don't know how they expect a family to try and survive, especially if they don't have anyone to help them."
Where to even start in this Ontario patient's health-care nightmare?
It is astounding that this somehow IS NOT an emergency, or at least a top priority... WHY is this patient left in limbo, waiting and suffering in McGuinty's Liberal healthcare nirvana? What are McGuinty's health care promises and assurances and edicts really worth?
Has anyone bothered to ask Niagara's Liberal health-care monopolists MPP Jim Bradley or Kim Craitor for their comments on this situation? Oh... yeah... it wouldn't look good...
Liberal ideologues such as Bradley and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for years smugly denigrated the American health system; Buffalo was a derisive punching bag for them. Yet, have these duplicitous Liberals bothered to thank the folks in Buffalo over at Millard Fillmore for ONCE AGAIN helping save a Canadian patient who was failed by McGuinty's own health monopoly?
"But look" our leftists will squawk (as they did in Alberta's Jepp quads case) "glorious medicare has 'worked' again"! Really? How did it work - by paying for this patient's initial emergency care OUT OF THE COUNTRY - and then, dumping the patient on a waiting list at home?!
Is this the only kind of future similarly in store for all other Ontarians now held captive in McGuinty's Liberal no-patient-choice government-run health monopoly?
Why can't our Glorious Liberal Leader, Dalton McGuinty, or his pharamacist-demonizing health minister, Deb Matthews, explain HOW IT IS POSSIBLE that this kind of specialized emergency medical care WAS NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE IN ONTARIO, at ANY PRICE?!
Why was this patient deprived of obtaining the necessary treatment in Ontario?
How is it possible that this patient's accident occurred just north of Canada's largest city, Toronto, a region heavily populated with millions of people - and yet, the ONLY AVAILABLE MEDICAL EXPERTISE WAS IN THE UNITED STATES?? [Ironically, in the same hospitals that would be deemed ILLEGAL by McGuinty if they were on the Canadian side of the Niagara River.]
This is disgusting - and this patient is only the latest in a long line of McGuinty health care victims: read this, and the 'Liberal Healthcare Duplicity' links below, for a sickening overview.
"Look, we paid those greedy Yanks 87 grand", our Tommy Douglas-infected medicaristas will say, thereby "proving" in their minds that McGuinty's health monopoly 'works'!! Yet, you never hear about the 'cost and cause analysis' associated with NOT having the available specialists in Ontario, and the associated patient danger and suffering.
McGuinty's shameless regime of monopolist healthcare thugs has mastered this game of populist illusion: taking liberty of the U.S. system's strengths by using it as a safety-valve, outsourcing Ontario patients - victims of failed Liberal single-payer health monopolism - to the States; and then conveniently demonizing and denouncing that same American system which was there to help those Ontarians when McGuinty's own bankrupt ideology failed.
Apparently, it's not only victimized residents of Niagara and Fort Erie area who are better served by being in the proximity of Buffalo health facilities; the Coombs case shows the sphere of Liberal health-care deception now affects pretty much all of Ontario.
And... NOT A PEEP on this from Ontario's sadistic Liberal masters of deception.