REGINA – Today, the Official Opposition raised the voices of the family members of Richard Baron, an oncology patient waiting for urgent surgical care, demanding the Sask. Party government immediately address Saskatchewan’s overflowing ICUs.
In April, Richard Baron was diagnosed with brain cancer which had spread to his lungs. Richard first needs surgery before he can start oncological treatments. However, his family was informed yesterday his urgent surgery was no longer possible, as Regina’s Intensive Care Units are too full. The family has been left hanging with no firm timelines for surgery.
“My question to those listening is, why is this happening? Why have there not been measures put in place to increase staff and ICU bed capacity in the province to deal with the waves of COVID that we have been told all along would without a doubt come?” asked Ashleigh Woytuik, Richard’s daughter. “Why has the Sask. Party not used its resources to ensure that doctors would not have to pick and choose who receives treatment? My family is the fallout of a lack of planning and inaction, we are not the only ones and there will be more to come.”
“This government’s complete and utter failure to contain second and now third waves has severe consequences for our health system. They made a bet on vaccines and they lost,” said Vicki Mowat, Official Opposition Critic for Health. “The Sask. Party has unfurled the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, while ICU staff are forced to choose who gets a chance to live. Blaming the Feds isn’t a plan. Premier Moe and his health minister have demonstrated an abdication of leadership. This isn’t a game; real people & real lives are at stake.”
Mowat is also calling on the Minister to create a surge plan for life-threatening and chronic patients facing disruptions and cancellations in their urgent, non-COVID care. Saskatchewan currently has the highest per capita hospitalization rate in Canada and has been setting record ICU numbers for COVID-19 patients. Despite an invitation from frontline staff to see just how dire the situation is, Premier Moe and his Minister of Health Paul Merriman continue to reject the invitation.