Family of B.C. boy needing ear surgery speaks out about lengthy wait

Family speaks out about lengthy wait for young sons surgery
WATCH: The family of a five-year-old boy are speaking out after he faced lengthy delays for ear surgery, critical to hearing development. Tanya Beja reports on how the Health Authority blamed them, while downplaying the severity of the problem

When five-year-old Leo Trentadue wants to watch his favourite show, he needs the TV to be at full volume.

“We often have to say things anywhere from three to six times before he hears them,” mother Mary Trentadue said.

Leo has fluid built up in his ears and needs tubes surgically inserted to drain them.

He’s been on a wait-list for 14 months. When Mary tried pushing the Ministry of Health for answers, she says they told her to fight harder or find another doctor.

“I did phone about four other surgeons and all of them had waits of six to eight months at the time, and I had already been waiting six months when I did that,” Mary said.

READ MORE: B.C. health care court case could impact wait-lists

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“It’s one of the most common childhood surgical procedures there is,” NDP health critic Judy Darcy said. “This is not a difficult problem to fix. What you need is a government that chooses to prioritize supporting children like Leo.”

Around the province, 480 children need the same surgery. At Surrey Memorial Hospital, there is a three-month wait-list.

“Ultimately it’s the surgeon who decides where you are on that list,” Fraser Health’s Tasleem Juma said.

Global News called surgeons working at the hospital. Their staff said the problem is limited access to the operating room with several doctors forced to share one day a month.

Juma said Fraser Health will look at whether they need to increase capacity.

Leo’s surgery is set for the end the month. His family hopes other children won’t have to face similar delays.

– With files from Tanya Beja