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Calgary mother questioning wait times for toddler’s sensitive surgery

Calgary mother questions why son’s urgent surgery is delayed
A Calgary mother is speaking out about her three-year-old son's urgent surgery and the consequences long-term if he doesn't receive the operation soon. As Christa Dao reports, the time-sensitive surgery continues to be delayed.

Miranda Ritchie wants her son to know she’s doing everything she can to fight for him.

The Calgary mother is questioning the province’s surgical wait times as her toddler is overdue for a sensitive surgery.

“As a mom, like, his future and his life right now is really my biggest concern and I’m scared for him,” Ritchie said.

Two-year-old Nash has bilateral undescended testicles — a rare condition that can lead to infertility or testicular cancer if left untreated, according to Alberta Health.

Read more: COVID-19 pandemic to affect nearly 400,000 elective surgeries across Canada by mid-June: study

It’s a diagnosis Ritchie says Nash’s first family doctor missed.

While a second opinion back in March managed to provide some answers, the surgery Nash required — orchiopexy — was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“I called to do a checkup and they said it might actually be another nine months in addition to the time we’ve already waited, so he’d be three years old,” Ritchie said.

According to Alberta Health Services, it’s recommended that babies have the surgery by the time they’re 18 months old.

Given the current situation, Nash would be three years old — twice the recommended age — by the time he gets in.

“I’m not trying to say that he deserves surgery before anyone else and that we’re trying to, you know, jump ahead of lines and stuff, but there’s documented risks,” Ritchie added. “I’m so scared for his future. I want him to be able to not have to live with the fear of not having his own children.”

In a statement to Global News, AHS acknowledged the wait for surgery can be stressful and upsetting, and that it will work with the Ritchie family to address other questions.

“Alberta has a goal of reaching 100 per cent surgical capacity by September,” the statement reads. “Each patient with a delayed surgery is evaluated individually and prioritized according to urgency. This decision is made by the patient’s care team based on several factors that increase or decrease the urgency.”

Read more: High River boy a particularly vulnerable Albertan during COVID-19 outbreak

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Ritchie said she’s reached out to the province and her local MLA to no avail, but the mother has no plans to stop fighting for her son’s health.