1) Doctors, 2)The Immigration and Refugee Board – what is going on out there?

Clinic March 28th 2013

A refugee claimant with valid IFH sees us for a 2nd degree burn, He has a family doctor. He has IFH coverage for the burn. So why did he come to the volunteer clinic where we only treat the uninsured? His doctor will not use the IFH system. He demands $60 ( almost twice the OHIP rate) from his patient to just assess the burn. That doesn’t cover any treatment. The young refugee claimant leaves without treatment. He can’t afford it. He works at a low paying job under the table. He has been dressing the wound himself for 4 days. He needs help.

We wonder if his doctor is breaking the law? Can a doctor refuse a valid IFH patient by charging them before providing care for a burn? Apparently he can. We know the doctor is breaking ethical standards. Is he breaching professional standards? The CPSO and the OMA need to step in and provide guidance here. I even found myself wondering if some doctors bill patients, and then IFH? I don’t even want to go there.

A failed refugee claimant, a young woman sees us because she had a seizure, fell and hurt her shoulder. Her partner became angry at her and slammed onto the chair. That dislocated and fractured her shoulder. She sought care at a Toronto ER for the pain. She was told their was serious damage needing surgery. She did not have the money for the surgery. She was sent to a local shelter with a broken and dislocated shoulder, in pain, with a bill for over $1500. She can’t sleep on the shoulder. Her arm hangs limp at her side, withered by a prior gunshot injury. She is crying with pain. As she removed her shirt for us to examine her, the shoulder suddenly and completely dislocated. She wrenched in pain. She wrenched again when we reduced her dislocation. She asked us to do it because she cannot afford another ER visit. ┬áHer interpreter told me it happens every day. The patient fixes the dislocations herself. She tried a friends pain killer in desperation. It made her drowsy and sick. Her shoulder was first damaged in her own country when she was 8. She was shot in the head and the shoulder in a violent attack on her home when she was a child. Her seizures stated after the bullet hit her brain. She came to Canada at age 28 to be with her uncles in Toronto and work towards status. After a few years her uncles were denied status and left. She stayed behind and made a claim for refugee status. She was afraid to go back to her country, and wanted to better her life. The Refugee Board judge denied her claim and her goals. She is trying to appeal. This is costly. She needs surgery on her shoulder. This is costlier.

She came for help with the pain tonight, so she could sleep, and stop the seizures. We will see what we can do.



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