March 11, 2015 9:46 pm
Updated: March 25, 2015 10:47 am

A single father’s fight for access to life-saving treatment


WATCH ABOVE: A single father is in a desperate fight for life-saving services after his subsidized transportation was cancelled. Global’s Anne Leclair has more.

ILE-PERROT – Richard Lemieux was born with severe physical disabilities and he now suffers from full kidney failure due to diabetes.

The single father’s world was turned upside down earlier this month when his adapted transportation service from home to the hospital was cut off, without warning.

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“Now it’s just finished!” he said, “They left me high and dry and it doesn’t make sense to me, at the end of the day it’s like neglect.”

The 47-year-old needs kidney dialysis three times a week at the Lakeshore General Hospital.

The cost of transportation was covered until recently, and Lemieux still doesn’t understand why he no longer qualifies for the subsidized service.

READ MORE: Lack of services for off-island families dealing with disabilities

“It’s kind of scary because if I have to stop dialysis tomorrow, I’d probably live three weeks,” deplored Lemieux.

The Île-Perrot resident is now forced to find his own way to the Lakeshore and often relies on friends since he can’t afford to pay the estimated $1,200 a month for special adapted transportation fees.

“It’s been hard,” said Lemieux, holding back tears.

“I was always so strong and independent and never really asked for help before.”

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His 16-year-old daughter is devastated by the cut to services and feels like the health care system has abandoned her father.

“It’s not like we’re dealing with a little cold in the hospital,” said Sydney-Lee Lemieux.

“He needs to go to the dialysis three times a week; if he doesn’t find a way there it’s very life threatening.”

Access to health care services is the responsibility of the hospital and local health and social services centre (CSSS), according to one well-known medical malpractice lawyer.

READ MORE: English-speaking families forced to wait for services for their disabled children

“First of all, it is totally unacceptable that this person is deprived of such a basic service,” said Jean-Pierre Ménard, who added patients like Lemieux should take legal action against the hospital as well as file a complaint with the hospital’s users’ committee and with the ombudsman.

“Somehow we have to try to make somebody accountable for what happened here because this situation is totally unacceptable,” insisted Ménard.

Lemieux and his daughter hope that by sharing their story, someone will step forward to help.

“My dad right now is all I have,” she said,

“so knowing that I could lose him is the worst feeling that I could possibly feel.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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