Scarborough, GTA July 31st 2012
We continue to see growing numbers of refugee claimants seeking urgent healthcare with revoked IFH. Their doctors – family physicians and specialists, ( and of course hospitals) are now asking for payment up front before providing healthcare to their “former” patients. Tonight’s clinic lasted 7 hours, instead of the usual 4.
Suli is 6 years old. He is more than cute enough to give anyone a run for their money in the arena of public opinion. He arrived in Canada with his family from a violent, unstable part of the world where children are kidnapped for ransom, where religious persecution and violence are rampant, and extortion and the protection racket is the norm for those in the minority. His parents made the journey to Canada, seeking safety, as refugees. They await their IRB hearings. His country will likely be on Canada’s new “safe list”.
Suli had open heart surgery at 15 days of age. Until Canada Day 2012, Suli and his parents had IFH. This covered the basic paediatric cardiology visits he requires. Suli’s teachers have noticed he is falling behind at school. They have asked us for an assessment. Immunizations are needed to prevent disease and attend school. Suli’s dental condition is horrible. A tooth has abscessed. This can infect his heart. That can kill him.
Suli’s family first tried Alberta to find work. No luck. After 7 months they have returned to Toronto, looking for any type of work. Today, their family doctor who had treated Suli and the parents under (now defunct) IFH, requested payment before continuing any care.
How about Lilly? She is a refugee claimant, age 42. She was beaten and left for dead in the streets, amidst the political violence engulfing her home country, in Africa. With her abdomen open and hemorrhaging, she was operated on and lived. She lives with severe, constant abdominal pain. Lilly was new to our clinic tonight. Her doctor would no longer see her because her IFH was terminated, and Lilly cannot afford the care and physician fees.
Roya, from Afghanistan, was ill with fever and cough. She arrived in Canada in 2003. Soldiers freed her, Canada rejected her healthcare. She works as a volunteer, in west Toronto, helping other newcomers to Canada find apartments and shelter.
Jy’s IFH was revoked 3 weeks ago. His leg ulcers are now recurring because his loss of IFH – not mention the Sickle Disease - threatens his very existence.
Nadia had an ear infection. She is 4. She cried in pain. She escaped from Iran with her parents. Jaf is 40. She escaped too. Her welcome get together in Canada ended when she broke her foot, last week. She could not afford the hospital. We are doing what we can. She is limping without a cast.
Yes, we were busier than usual for sure in the clinic for uninsured refugees. I wonder how Suli is tonight? I wonder how we will find him the help he needs to stay alive. He is only six years old. What does he know about politics, and IFH cuts? He knows only that he needs adults to help him live. His parents know this too. They also know who cut Suli loose to fend for himself, who dashed their hopes for their son, and a new and safer life. So do I.