Helen’s laugh will melt you.
In videos shared with Global News by her parents, the one-year-old screams as her father, Graham Dickson, picks her up in the air.
Her mother, Laura Weins, said they “love her to pieces,” but when asked about her future, she used words like “anxious” and “worried.”
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“It’s hard not to look at her and be scared for the future,” Weins said.
Helen likely has cerebral palsy.
An official diagnosis of the condition is usually made around the age of two, but Helen needs attention now to prevent her current afflictions from having long-term consequences.
Helen had to go months without hospital care or any of her appointments when the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) postponed and canceled treatments in September, in order to reassign staff to better assist during the fourth wave of COVID-19.
The fourth wave has largely passed and hospitals, as well as intensive care units, are slowly being emptied. As they do so, SHA is reassigning staff to their home positions, allowing services to resume. More than 93 percent of eligible staff have returned to their home position as of Tuesday.
But Weins still worries that Helen won’t get the care she needs. Weins hasn’t heard when his daughter will get the surgery she needs to correct her eyes, which are currently crossed, or the MRI she needs to help with her diagnosis and plan future treatments.
Thousands of people in the province await procedures. By the time they get to Helen, Weins worries it’s too late.
“The silence is harsh,” Weins said.
This despite the fact that more than 70 percent of SHA services have fully resumed and 15 percent have partially resumed, according to figures cited by the chairman of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, Marlo Pritchard. , during Tuesday’s briefing on the provincial emergency operations center (PEOC).
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It is also despite the fact that SHA has moved into the second phase of its plan to transfer employees to their home positions, where healthcare workers who were reassigned to assist in bolter ICUs and treatment of intensive care has returned. Previously, only those who did not directly assist ICUs and intensive care were transferred backwards.
“At this point, we are moving more aggressively with staff returning to their home units from intensive care units and ICUs as we have been able to, based on the number that is slowly decreasing,” said the director of emergency operations for SHA, Derek Miller, on PEOC’s white paper. instructions.
Global News spoke with Weins on Monday, shortly after she and Helen returned from Helen’s first physical therapy treatment since September, the only service Helen needs and which has been resumed thus far.
“We did a little ‘woo hoo’ push in the kitchen, all of us, and we’re so excited to be back,” Weins said, describing the moment he found out about the appointment with the physical therapist.
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In that session, the specialists recommended that Helen also have a hearing test and an EEG, the latter which would help monitor her brain activity. Doctors who treat her believe she may have suffered a stroke in utero.
Weins said he doesn’t know when those appointments might be scheduled, delaying further treatment.
“We’re looking forward to going back and seeing the pediatric neurologist, but the pediatric neurologist needs that MRI information to be able to tell us something,” Weins said.
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Global News asked PEOC, SHA and the Ministry of Health via email Monday when the services Helen needs would resume, how big is the backlog of those services, and how long it will take to go through them.
A SHA spokesperson responded with a link to a Nov. 26 document showing how advanced medical services were for eligible staff to return.
“Regina and Saskatoon are delayed in reopening surgery due to the need to maintain inpatient and ICU care,” he says.
“Saskatoon has reached 80 percent and Regina has reached 60 percent… There are approximately 20 vacant positions in Regina’s (OR). Even with reassigned staff, 100% resumption will take time. “
Weins lives in Saskatoon.
The SHA spokesperson did not respond to questions about delays and wait times.
“Any further questions on this can be directed to PEOC’s next technical media briefing, scheduled for tomorrow,” they wrote.
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Global News asked government officials, including chief medical officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, Miller, Pritchard, and several other leaders involved in the province’s COVID-19 response, when services would resume and when the service would be removed. delay.
Jay Teneycke, the government’s communications director, responded.
“Regarding the questions about specific surgeries and functions of that, I encourage everyone to keep an eye on that one and a plan related to that will be released shortly,” he said.
Global News asked why a spokesperson said the questions would be answered today when officials again did not respond.
“I would just encourage everyone to look forward to more announcements related to those specific aspects,” Teneycke replied.
Global News asked when that plan would launch.
“In the days to come,” was Teneycke’s reply.
Weins is a physician, obstetrician, and gynecologist. She knows first-hand how supported the healthcare system is and how long it may take to eliminate it.
She said a patient who had waited months for surgery finally had a procedure booked.
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“Unfortunately, in point-of-care testing, when he was admitted to the hospital, he tested positive for COVID. So … they sent her home and that time was not used by anyone, “Weins said.
He said that he may have to seek care for his daughter outside the province or outside the country.
“Is it going to affect the rest of your life?” she was concerned.
“Is it going to affect your ability to read or see … or will the delay in an MRI affect your ability to walk one day?”
– with Canadian Press files
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