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London, Ont. man stranded in Mexico hospital due to lack of Ontario hospital beds, family says

Stuart Cline, 71, is seen on vacation in Mexico before his medical emergency. via London West MPP Peggy Sattler

The family of Stuart Cline, a London, Ont., resident who is currently in critical condition at a hospital in Mexico, says they are living a nightmare as red tape prevents the man from returning home for treatment.

READ MORE: Overcrowding concerns continue at London Health Science Centre

Cline’s daughter-in-law, Alejandra, told 980 CFPL that the 71-year-old had trouble breathing last week while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and he fell and hit his head while out walking with his wife last Wednesday. The fall left him with bleeding in his brain, which was worsened because he has a pacemaker and is on blood thinners.

“The bleeding in his brain was getting bigger and bigger,” she explained, “so doctors decided to do a surgery to start draining the blood out of his brain.”

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Alejandra is originally from Mexico and flew out over the weekend to help with the situation while Stuart’s three adult children, including her husband, remained home. She said that while the surgery went well, Stuart’s heart is weak and his condition is now deteriorating.

Doctors in Mexico cleared him to fly home on Saturday, but when the family contacted their insurance company, they were told there are no available intensive care unit beds in London.

“They say ‘No, we don’t have beds, call tomorrow,’ and ‘We don’t have beds, call tomorrow.’ We said, ‘He just needs a bed, it doesn’t have to be London, but they said they can’t do that,” Alejandra said.

Her husband is flying from London to Mexico on Wednesday to be by his father’s side.

“We thought in the beginning that oh, he’s stable, he’s able to fly, it’s going to be quick and we’re going to be in London tomorrow,” she added.

“This is a nightmare.”

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Alejandra shared the family’s plight in an email to London West MPP Peggy Sattler, a member of the New Democratic Party caucus, who questioned Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'London West MPP urges return of Canadian senior from Mexico' London West MPP urges return of Canadian senior from Mexico
London West MPP urges return of Canadian senior from Mexico – Feb 28, 2018

“Today is the fifth day that Stuart has been waiting to come home while his condition deteriorates,” Sattler said in the legislature. “Why is this premier doing nothing to address (hospital overcrowding)?”

Wynne expressed her concern for the family and noted that the newly-appointed minister of health would speak to the case.

Helena Jaczek, who was appointed health minister this week after Eric Hoskins abruptly resigned, responded:

“I want to assure the family in this case that my staff has been fully engaged in helping coordinate this individual’s return home and to make the full service of Ontario’s health care system completely available to this family.”

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READ MORE: London MPP raising concerns about overcrowding in Ontario hospitals

This is not the first time this week that hospital overcrowding has been brought up by Sattler. On Tuesday, Sattler raised the stories of two other Londoners impacted by overcrowding in the Ontario legislature.

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