THUNDER BAY --- November 9, 2009 ---- My father-in-law who resides in the pretty town of Sturgeon Falls just became the owner of a new hip at Thunder Bay’s Regional Hospital. I was with him in August and realized that he couldn’t wait any longer for a hip replacement, as he was limping and I feared that one day soon he would fall, and make things worse, plus he was favouring his right hip more and more and he was beginning to show signs that this hip would be next to fail.
He went to the Sudbury hospital he was familiar with back in January 2009, and this was after the family pushing him to get a hip replacement, so really his pain started in 2008! He is a proud man, doesn’t like to create a fuss and thought maybe whatever he had may go away. I think we can all relate
Well when he did finally achieve an appointment in Sudbury and he was told that the waiting time was up to three years! Now he is 85, but that should not be a reason to push him back on a list, not that he was given this explanation. This was unacceptable and so the Doctor offered to get him into North Bay as they had a one year waiting list
Well, this opportunity fell through the cracks and he never did get put on that North Bay list. After numerous attempts to learn about his status it was finally revealed to him that he might get into North Bay for a replacement by March, and this was in September. That is when I got involved to see if there was a chance in Thunder Bay.
I have known this man for 34 years, and he likes to be active, and this has kept him in good shape, but the hip was becoming so painful that he was starting to become less and less active. It was affecting his quality of life. Lack of activity seems to me to be a leading cause of increased aging.
I wanted to help him so I discussed the possibility of approaching his Sudbury Doctor to get a referral to the Thunder Bay Doctor who replaced my neighbour’s hip.
I did finally get the referral, after numerous attempts to get the document from the Sudbury office. This series of back and forth phone calls and pleading made the difference. I contacted the Thunder Bay Doctor and they finally received the referral. Then I went to the Doctor’s office beside the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital and met with his Assistants and scheduler. This was during the first week of October.
Well November 3, exactly 5 weeks later my father-in-law did receive his new hip and is a happy man. I did score some brownie points in the family although this was not my motive. It didn’t hurt that being English and that I helped a Frenchman, see we are good for something!
I learned a great deal through this ordeal. It was my first experience as a consumer of the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital and a local surgeon. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. I was very impressed with the professional.
What I don’t understand is why it is not possible to coordinate this opportunity across the province? I don’t think it would take e-health type dollars to achieve a level of hospital coordination. Why can’t hospitals have a program showing waiting times at hospitals that perform hip replacements? If you are willing to travel to another City you can have your wait shortened considerably, and in this case which started out as a 3-year wait was reduced to 5 weeks!
I understand that the province is focused on reducing waiting lists for various surgical procedures but the above example makes one wonder, what is the big deal? I was able to create a reduced waiting time by shear persistence. It does not have to make a difference if you are not familiar with the City so long as you get relief for yourself by getting that operation in a timely manner.
Some simple coordination and a very inexpensive computer program can reduce waiting times drastically.
I learned once again that the squeaky wheel does get the grease, and you do have to be persistent and do not give up. Don’t wait for that promised returned call, it won’t come. You are responsible for the follow-up.
Check around if you are becoming frustrated, there are other options, and it was so nice that Thunder Bay came through with flying colours.
Check out my Blog at http://biglakecountry.blogspot.com/