Carol Young holds her granddaughter Melodie in February. Submitted

B.C. cancer patients finally gets doctor’s appointment after media attention

Carol Young was told she had a month to live without treatment, but couldn’t get in to see doctor

Carol Young spoke out. A day later, she was finally able to see two oncologists to discuss how she might prolong her life.

Young, 65, has terminal cancer and was told two weeks ago that she had a month to live without treatment. Nevertheless, she was unable to secure an appointment with an oncologist at Abbotsford’s cancer clinic until June 13, by which time it would have been 27 days since her dire prognosis.

Young, a successful Haida artist, spoke to The News on Wednesday about her predicament.

“I’m not ready to give up,” said Young, who said she hoped to receive chemotherapy in order to extend her life and spend more time with her children. Although she has had some health issues, Young has not yet been beset by the pain or significant discomfort that often accompanies the final stages of cancer.

Young told The News that after receiving a scan in mid-May, she asked for paperwork to be sent to the BC Cancer Agency’s clinic at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, so she could stay with her son in Langley while receiving treatment. But for a week, she left messages at the clinic, only to hear nothing back. Finally, this Tuesday, she was told that the earliest she could see an oncologist was June 13. She couldn’t restart treatment before then.

RELATED: Cancer patient given month to live without treatment, but must wait weeks to see doctor

Young spoke to The News on Wednesday and a story was posted online soon thereafter. Within hours, an assistant for provincial health minister Adrian Dix contacted The News to get in touch with Young, which led to a conversation between Young and Dix. On Thursday, Young got an appointment with a radiation oncologist and an oncologist who deals with chemotherapy, according to her daughter.

Young’s path forward is still unclear, and The News intends to respect the family’s privacy. But the waiting for the oncologist appointment, at least, is over. Young told The News that the hardest part of her treatment had been waiting to receive information.

It’s unclear how common Young’s situation is. Others spoke of long waits to see a cancer specialist, and Young herself was told that the oncologist’s schedule was “full” until mid-June.

Pamela Gole, the BC Cancer Agency director of communications, said that while she can’t discuss the specifics of Young’s case, she said it was neither “common nor is it the regular standard of care.”

The agency’s referral forms have an area where physicians can signal the urgency of the case, she noted.

And although it can be difficult to fill oncologist positions, Gole said the cancer clinic in Abbotsford has a full complement of cancer specialists. She said Young’s case was not the result of a shortage of oncologists.

“Providing the best possible patient care is our priority,” Gole said.

Asked what other patients who might find themselves in similar situations can do, Gole pointed them towards each health authority’s Patient Care Quality Office. Information can be found under “complaints” at the bottom of most health authority and agencies’ websites. Gole said complaints of an urgent nature are treated as such. Complaints also, she said, allow health officials to improve system-wide care.

The News also has requested to speak to Dix, but a health ministry spokesperson said such questions should be directed to the Provincial Health Services Authority that oversees the BC Cancer Agency. The News has repeated its request, given Dix’s role overseeing provincial health policy.


@ty_olsen
tolsen@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Young black bear killed downtown Chilliwack

Video shows bear running down residential street moments earlier

Severe thunderstorm possible for Fraser Valley

Environment Canada has put out a watch for the Fraser Valley and Fraser Canyon

Chilliwack man faces Motor Vehicle Act charge for crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

UPDATE: ‘Spontaneous combustion’ likely cause of fire at mushroom composting facility on Lougheed Highway

First responders were at the blaze near the Skawahlook First Nation Tuesday

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Surrey B.C. mayor says the RCMP has announced it will unionize

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Man arrested for alleged indecent act after ‘predatory’ SkyTrain incident

A woman had reported the man had exposed himself while on the train on April 29

Most Read