Guyanese faces eviction from Toronto hospital
August 6, 2004
TORONTO -- The family of 66-year-old Guyanese Claudette Proctor is in a frantic search to find a suitable institution for her because of impending eviction from the Toronto General Hospital.
Up to yesterday, Claudette's son, Mark, was desperately trying to find a place to take his seriously ill mother after the hospital insisted it will not perform the life-saving surgery for colon cancer.
Officials at the hospital are citing staff shortages and its policy to prioritise care for Canadian citizens.
In the meantime, Proctor, who is getting weaker, is receiving blood transfusion as doctors try to build up her strength. Her doctors believe her life can be saved if she receives an operation.
But although the family is willing to pay for the procedure, the hospital wants her to leave as she's not covered by Ontario Health Insurance Premium (OHIP) and Toronto General Hospital policy.
Proctor received a slight reprieve on Tuesday, but only because she’s too ill to be moved.
And Mark knows he’s running out of options.
“No one has come forward with any offers,” he laments. “Only members of the community have called and given their support.”
But health care facilities have been as quiet as a hospital zone, he told City Pulse 24 News.
Many viewers have written City Pulse suggesting a simple fix - if they’re willing to pay, take the patient to Buffalo in the U.S., where hospitals will gladly take the money.
But Proctor insists that’s not going to work.
“Getting visas and the whole thing, it's going to be a time-consuming process … I prefer definitely in Canada.”
And while money may be no object in saving his mom’s life, it is still an important subject overall.
The family owes Toronto General Cdn$203,000 for her stay since June. But the hospital insists it’s not the bill, it’s the principle of giving Canadians priority that counts.
It’s a subtlety lost on the Proctors, who think the principle should really be one between life and death.
Claudette Proctor came to Toronto to visit Mark but became ill during her stay.
On Tuesday, Pulse 24 had described it as the kind of dilemma you’d expect to see on a TV medical drama, but one which won’t be resolved at the end of the hour.
Proctor is not covered by Canada’s universal health care policy, and officials of the Tonronto General Hospital maintain it violates their policy to take her ahead of other patients. (FREDERICK HALLEY)