Another day in the Saskatchewan legislature’s fall sitting brought another person affected by health-care service slowdowns into the legislative chamber.
Two-year-old Blake Turnbull, who suffers from spina bifida and whose spinal cord clinic recently became inaccessible, was joined by her mother Sarah who said she wants lawmakers to hear first-hand her concerns about the potential impacts of slowdowns.
“I don’t trust our leaders, the people in this room, to make the choices to protect our fragile health-care system,” she said.
“I’m supposed to be grateful, because two days ago I was told we can see our specialist team again. But I’m nervous.”
Turnbull explained that, while she’s been able to obtain some private therapeutic care, the services of Blake’s neural, orthopedic and urodynamic specialists has been put on pause with health-care workers being redeployed to COVID-19-related causes.
She says those specialists provide critical monitoring of Blake’s condition, and with crucial brain shunt surgery on the horizon, she worries about the potential negative effect of gaps in monitoring.
“The longer we wait for that particular thing is very frightening as a mom,” she said.
Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman was again asked for a response.
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Merriman said the decision to slow down services was difficult, but necessary, adding that the resumption of those services is underway with COVID-19 pressures easing.
“We understand that those developmental years are extremely important and I’ve been told that this specific service was in the process of restarting,” he said.
But with officials like Dr. Shahab already saying diligence is needed to avoid a fifth wave, and potential further impact on the health-care system, Sarah Turnbull says it’s hard to remain hopeful.
“We request to you today to see us, and to value our future and our lives so that we don’t have to pay price of the failings with our health and well-being,” Turnbull said.
“Please do better.”