April 25, 2019 10:47 am
Updated: April 26, 2019 8:03 am

‘This is the face of the health-care crisis’: N.S. woman with cancer challenges premier on doctor shortage

WATCH: Nova Scotia mother calls out premier on doctor shortage

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A Nova Scotia mother who says she waited two years for her cancer diagnosis is calling out the premier for not declaring a health-care crisis in the province.

“To the premier of Nova Scotia, I dare you to take a meeting with me … and tell me there is no health-care crisis,” Inez Rudderham said in a viral Facebook video that has been viewed over 1 million times.

READ MORE: Doctors Nova Scotia demand ‘immediate action’ on physician shortages

In the tearful and emotionally-charged video, the 33-year-old mother said she went undiagnosed with Stage 3 anal cancer for two years due to her lack of access to a family doctor.

WATCH: Nova Scotia woman with cancer challenges premier on doctor shortage


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Rudderham states she has received 30 rounds of radiation to her pelvis, which has left her “barren and infertile.” When taking her health concerns to the emergency rooms, Rudderham says she was brushed off.

“It’s OK though, right? Because they caught it. They caught it when it was Stage 3,” Rudderham cried.

“I fought. I fought for my life.”

Rudderham also says she has been waiting to utilize mental health services since January, only to find out this month that she can only get an appointment in mid-July.

“You want to tell me that there’s no health-care crisis in my province?”

WATCH: Life on the wait list: Stories of Nova Scotia’s family doctor shortage

The video posted on Tuesday has been shared more than 46,000 times and viewed by 1.2 million. A crowdfunding campaign for Rudderham has raised over $10,000.

Premier Stephen McNeil says he has seen the video and the Department of Health is reaching out to Rudderham, but again stopped short of saying there is a health-care crisis.

“There are challenges in the health-care system, in parts of accessing primary care,” McNeil said. “We continue to make adjustments. We’re in a system that hadn’t changed for decades.”

Health Minsiter Randy Delorey says the issues are concerning, but not exclusive to Nova Scotia.

“We acknowledge them. We are making efforts, we’ve been focused on those efforts for the last couple years and again use the example of primary health care, we’re seeing improvements across the province,” said Delorey.

READ MORE: Appointment no-shows common across N.S. as family doctor registry continues to grow

But opposition parties say they were disappointed in the province’s reaction to the video.

“I think when you compare the authenticity and directness of the very difficulty she speaks from with the discourse of the minister of health, I find what the minister has to say superficial and glib and empty,” said Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill.

“There’s so many layers along the way, so many parts of the system that failed her,” said PC MLA Tim Halman.

Rudderham is calling for a face-to-face meeting with Premier McNeil.

“This is the face of the health-care crisis in Nova Scotia, and I dare you to tell me otherwise.”

With files from Alicia Draus. 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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