A Saskatoon mother is frustrated and anxious about her son’s medical care now that some surgeries, appointments and organ transplants are indefinitely canceled in Saskatchewan until COVID-19 numbers drop.
The rise of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan is putting pressure on the healthcare system, organ donations stopped
Keeley Buckley wants to remind people that others are hurting due to the slowdown in services.
“I can’t imagine the horror he would feel if he needed an ICU space and someone unvaccinated took it,” Buckley said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced Thursday that organ donation would stop and a slowdown in elective procedures would continue.
SHA’s Derek Miller said the six-week urgent surgeries and procedures would continue.
Three-year-old Elijah was born with a rare primary immunodeficiency disease called 22q.11 deletion syndrome and requires intensive care on a regular basis.
“Basically, a part of your chromosome 22 is missing and it affects basically every system in your body,” explained his mother.
Elijah struggles daily with seizures, a heart defect, difficulty breathing and swallowing, poor muscle tone, gastrointestinal problems, and many more concerns. He also has autism and does not speak.
Seek proper medical care when needed, says Saskatchewan Health Authority
When Elijah was just two months old, he underwent emergency open heart surgery.
“We are very lucky that his heart has been repaired and he does not need another surgery or a heart transplant, but there are families in Saskatchewan who are not so lucky,” Buckley said.
“I saw them first hand in the pediatric cardiac ICU waiting for their children to receive a heart transplant. I can’t imagine the horror, dread and panic they must be feeling right now, ”Buckley said.
Before the pandemic, Elijah regularly visited more than ten different specialists to make sure he was still healthy, and since he is not speaking, he cannot tell if he is not feeling well.
Elijah hasn’t seen a specialist in over 18 months.
“He really needs to see a specialist, I can’t communicate that well with him if something is wrong, so these appointments are very important to me,” Buckley said.
When she learned that two pediatric appointments and one surgery with no option to rebook were canceled because hospitals are overwhelmed, primarily with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, she was frustrated.
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“It’s frustrating that Elijah has to suffer his medical attention from people taking up spaces that my son might need,” she said.
“We got vaccinated right away, hoping that would keep Elijah safe and help get things back to normal. It’s frustrating to feel like we have the potential to get back to normal sooner, but now our hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID-19 cases. “
Elijah has been waiting for the surgery for over a year before it was canceled. He has also been waiting for an MRI for two years.
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While she is glad that he is not in a condition where he needs immediate medical attention, she wants people to get vaccinated so that he can continue to receive the important care he needs.
“I just hope that by seeing more cases like this, more families and more real people who are affected in this way, they can change their minds.”
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