April 24, 2015 8:22 pm
Updated: April 25, 2015 9:14 am

Princeton man fears for his life, says health care system has ‘failed him’


PRINCETON – A Princeton man battling cancer says the health care system is badly failing him and it’s as clear as the nose on his face.

However, Interior Health was unaware of his case until Global News told the health authority about it. Fred Cosman, 47, says he feels helpless and is in desperate need of medical care, but has been told to wait time and time again.

His problems started last December with some pain at the tip of his nose that lead him to go see his doctor in Princeton.

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“They prescribed me an antibiotic and sent me home again for a week,” explains Cosman. “In that week, it ballooned even bigger.”

His caregiver, Tina Krause says it took a couple months but Cosman was finally able to see a specialist in Penticton who decided Cosman needed an immediate biopsy after just one look.

“As soon as the doctor saw it, he looked puzzled,” says Krause.

It was after the biopsy in March that he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Krause says now he needs radiation treatment for his cancer but they’re still waiting to hear when that can happen. After four months of waiting, Cosman’s nose and overall health are deteriorating.

“Now my stomach and my appetite is going,” says Crosman.

“I used to wake up in the morning and have an appetite but now I wake up with cramps and I can’t eat.”

The family is calling for change.

“The plea is to change things so people get diagnosed quicker and that they get the treatment they need as fast as possible, especially in emergency situations where things progress quickly,” says Krause.

Global News contacted Interior Health about Cosman’s condition, even sending them a photo of him. The authority says it appreciated the case being brought to their attention, and as a result will follow up with all of the agencies and practitioners involved in Cosman’s care.

“The health system relies on the clinical and medical expertise of physicians involved, who we know have the interest of the patient at heart,” reads the email statement from Interior Health. “It’s important to understand that every patient case is different and diagnoses can be difficult.”

Krause says they still haven’t heard from the B.C. Cancer Agency either, leaving Cosman and his family fearing the worst.

“I’m concerned because before it was just in the nose, now it’s swelling up to the eye, and I’m concerned that it might go into the brain and at that point I think we’ll lose our battle,” she says.

Now that Interior Health is finally aware of Cosman’s plight, his family hopes he can still win the battle against an insidious and painfully visible affliction.

In an email statement, the Ministry of Health said it can’t speak to individual cases because of personal privacy restrictions but adds the health system relies on the expertise of physicians to make the appropriate diagnosis of a patient, including the urgency of treatment. The ministry suggests people who have complaints about their doctor should contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.

For now, critical time for Cosman continues to tick away.

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