Ailing Guyanese has to leave Toronto hospital
Guyana Chronicle
August 8, 2004

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TORONTO - The Guyanese woman at the centre of the hospital controversy case here has been given until 11:00 a.m. tomorrow to leave the Toronto General Hospital, despite her deteriorating condition.

Sixty-six-year-old Claudette Proctor, who is getting weaker and is receiving blood transfusion as doctors try to build up her strength, received the dreaded news Friday afternoon in the midst of an interview with Pulse 24 News.

Barely audible during the short interview, the elderly Proctor said she cannot believe no one wants to help her, adding "I feel terrible about it..."

According to her son, Mark, his mom, who has been diagnosed with colon cancer, seemed to have picked up another infection "and they are sending her home with that."

The family is still in a frantic search for a hospital which will admit Proctor and perform the life-saving surgery she urgently needs.

Family members said that after calling more than 600 hospitals across North America, they're still hoping that one will come to their aid.

The Proctors also face yet another dilemma and according to Mark, even if they do find a health care facility, a transfer note needs to be signed by the Toronto General Hospital and no one has stepped up to do so.

"It's a situation where I know that we are balancing her life based on someone in an office saying that we cannot do this when the possibility exists that it can be done," Mark explained.

Efforts by the Proctors to contact officials of the Toronto Health Minister's office were also futile up to yesterday.

On Thursday, officials at the hospital citied staff shortages and its policy to priotorise care for Canadian citizens as the reasons for not performing the surgery, although doctors believed her life can be saved if she receives the operation.

The family is willing to pay for the procedure at the hospital but Proctor is not covered by Ontario Health Insurance Premium (OHIP) and Toronto General Hospital policy.

And while money may not be no object in saving his momís 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 itís not the bill, itís the principle of giving Canadians priority that counts.

Itís 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 her son Mark but became ill during her stay.

On Tuesday, Pulse 24 had described it as the kind of dilemma youíd expect to see on a TV medical drama, but one which wonít be resolved at the end of the hour.

Proctor is not covered by Canadaís universal health care policy, and officials of the Toronto General Hospital maintain it violates their policy to take her ahead of other patients. (FREDERICK HALLEY)