Updates on past entries

July 10 2013

- 70% of the Roma we saw no longer come to clinic. We hear they were deported, or simply gave up and went back.

- Miguel’s malaria is treted and he is smiling again. The parents have the large bills

Miguel’s pregnant mother with malaria no longer has fevers. She is feeling better. Donations have let us get her an obstetrician.

- Our patient with Sickle Cell disease and crisis is under a deportation order after 5 years in Canada. Return to his home country where there is no treatment, means death.

- our patient whose IFH was feeling forced into an unwanted termination of pregnancy because of fear of no health coverage with IFH new rules delivered a healthy baby. Some costs for care were excused by providers, others paid from donations, and lawyer helped re-establish IFH after many months of delays.

- Ruth, whose family were murdered in front of her, brought her newborn Canadian child to see us. A beautiful baby. Ruth is on track with her Canadian citizenship. Still no meaning as to why she denied IFH when she came.

- Duncan died from his bowel cancer. No treatment provided. No health insurance. Father, grandfather he was a good man who might be alive with treatment. He was here as a sponsored person, by his daughter. She works in GTA seniors homes, a personal support worker, helping our elderly — and watched her own father be denied treatment and die.

 

 

 

Premier Wynne, only you can right this wrong! Ontario’s 3 month wait for OHIP for Landed Immigrants is mean spirited, costly for all.

Clinic, July 4th, 2013

When we arrived and picked her up into our car she was panting, short of breath, with high fever from her malaria, 6 months pregnant and anemic, and sitting on the curb at the side of the road. We didn’t know it then, but she stayed at home for a week, with fevers as high as 104, afraid to go to hospital because of costs, money they did not have, money they needed for Miguel’s care.

What we witnessed today was outrageous, shameful government policy and abuse. It is also an unfolding personal tragedy for one new Canadian family. If no healthcare happens it will leave Mom at risk of death and disease that will leave their future child, our future Canadian infant dead in utero, or born damaged for life.

We wrote last week about 1 year old Miguel. He developed potentially fatal malaria shortly after arriving in Ontario with his parents, as Landed Immigrants. Along with over 100,000 other landed immigrants each year, they found themselves stuck in Ontario’s mandatory 3 month wait for OHIP and healthcare access.

One bill for his malaria care has arrived to them. Another larger one is in the mail. And more will follow, as you will read.

Today, we learned Miguel’s mother is now ill with malaria too. She is 6 months pregnant, required to travel to Canada pregnant because of flawed, inhumane Canadian immigration policies and procedures. Her life, and her unborn baby’s life are now at grave risk. She and her unborn are here legally – and in jeopardy.

Her malaria is not her fault. And It went undiagnosed by Canadian health providers at the airport when they arrived.

Mom’s due date is September 15th, 2013. Her wait for OHIP eligibility in Ontario does not end until September 9th. Close call. They may not make it. She may need a C section earlier. And she needs urgent malaria and other pregnancy care.

Already their hospital bills for Miguel’s care exceed the savings they brought with them, savings required for immigration. Already they are near financial collapse through no fault of their own. Pregnancy, malaria and delivery care expenses will leave them totally destitute and in debt as they begin their new lives as Canadians.

And no healthcare will leave Mom at risk of death and disease that will leave their future child, our future Canadian baby dead in utero, or born damaged for life.

And then, 2 weeks after this would happen – their OHIP health coverage will arrive!

Today, when we saw that her blood test showed malaria, we asked Mom to come in for treatment right away. When she was late for the appointment, we called her. They had gotten off the bus 2 miles from the clinic at the wrong stop. With no money for another bus, she tried to walk the final 2 miles to our clinic!

When we arrived and picked her up into our car she was panting, short of breath, with high fever from her malaria, 6 months pregnant and anemic, and sitting on the curb at the side of the road. We didn’t know it then, but she stayed at home for a week, with fevers as high as 104, afraid to go to hospital because of costs, money they did not have, money they needed for Miguel’s care.

The infectious disease specialist from the hospital generously did “a house call” She came from the hospital, to the volunteer clinic that day to see Mom. We arranged this to prevent an ER visit, and to prevent a hefty bill to the family – and hospital – and taxpayer.

Mom is now on treatment. The specialist is an angel. The CVC is providing follow up care and medications from donations and grants.

A hospital ER visit, another huge bill to the family have been averted. And likely a premature delivery and damaged Canadian baby. That would cost millions$ to all.

How all this predicament happened is not in anyway the family’s doing. It never is any landed immigrant’s family’s doing. It is Canadian and Ontario Immigration and Health policy that is at fault .

The family of 3 came to Canada in early June 2013 from Africa, to provide a better life for their son, and to seek safety. Both parents are educated and left good jobs back home. Their homeland is no stranger to political violence. Our clinic sees many from their country afflicted with severe injuries. The mother is a teacher, the dad an architect. Remember Miguel? He is 1 year old. He is an infant.

In 2009 the family of 3 applied for landed immigrant permission to enter Canada After the usual wait time, in 2011 they received their acceptance from Canada.

Next, it took 2 years to wade through the medical exams and other administrative requirements before final permission to arrive was granted. This is the norm. In mid April 2013 the family was informed they had until June 26th 2013 to arrive in Canada or their permission would be revoked, and they would be required to re-apply all over again.

None of this is unusual. But, it is why there is a massive backlog on the ground at Canada’s embassies. It is the mark of a deeply flawed immigration policy. And it why women like Miguel’s Mom, and their pregnancies are put in harm’s way.

Like other Landed immigrants, when you are young, and waiting 4 years in your home country, building a family happens. If they waited till her baby was delivered, in theirr home country, and this is the logical preference of many, then their legal landed immigration permit would be revoked. Their applications would have to start all over again.

And Canada has suspended new applications! That means their immigration and safety would end if they stayed back to have the baby.

Forced to make a decision, the family decided to immigrate during their pregnancy to avoid missing their deadlines, and take the chances with good health, and keep their dream of a better, safer life for their children alive.

What choice did they really have? What would you have done if you stood in their shoes?

A final note:

As part of their final immigration step, they required medical clearance by Canadian medical staff at the Toronto airport upon arrival – to determine they had no infectious illnesses.

So how then, was their malaria missed?

According to the family, those medicals lasted 5 -10 whole minutes. That’s how. And we hear this all – the – time.

When we pleaded to Premier McGuinty and Ontario’s Health Minister a year ago for some funding to help patients, and to END the 3 month wait, the reply through the Ministry of Health in Ontario – “we don’t have the money”.

BS. Yes you do. You just chose to spend it on cancelled gas plant contracts instead, so you could retain power. You chose to save money on the backs of Miguel and his pregnant Mom. And that won’t save anyone of us a penny.

You had a clear choice.