The CVC (pre June 2012)
Mr S was handsome young man from Sri Lanka. He was 20, tall, lean, well groomed and patient as he waited in clinic. It struck me that he waited standing up, for over an hour. There were open chairs in our waiting area. It was then I noticed his right pant leg hung at his side, empty.
He was denied IFH as a refugee claimant, and denied OHIP. He was now being sponsored. He had no health coverage when he suddenly experienced a grand mal seizure the week before. He never had seizures before. He was treated in the ER, then handed a bill for over $1000.
He didn’t come to us for help with the bill. He came because he needed an MRI to determine why he had the seizure. The MRI would cost $2000. The ER offered it then, but he couldn’t afford it. The ER sent him to us.
The CVC arranged for the MRI. It showed a brain access from a deadly infection. He died within 2 months.
During our efforts to treat him, we learned how his pant leg came to be empty. He was, you see, a rescue worker during the Sri Lankan civil war. He was a volunteer with an aid organization that rescued children from heavily land mined areas. Imagine that!
Mr S volunteered, with others, to carry children, in his arms, across land mine laden fields, to safety. First, they swept the fields. Then they carefully ferried the children across to safety. One time, on one particular trip, he lost his leg.
It shamed us that his refugee claim was denied in Canada – that he experienced rejection from people who will never do what he did, by someone paid well, to reject him.
It shamed us that when he had a seizure, Canada handed him a bill.
It shamed us that no one found it within them to get him an MRI.
It saddened us deeply when he died.