A Saskatoon man needing brain surgery to treat his epilepsy says he doesn’t know when he’ll get it because staffing shortages have left necessary pre-operation procedures unavailable.
“I can’t get the medical help in Saskatchewan I need,” Brennon Dulle said at the legislature Tuesday.
“We have no idea about the pre-op procedure.”
Among those pre-op procedures, according to Dulle’s wife Gillian, is an electroencephalogram (EEG).
She said Brennon’s quality of life has deteriorated significantly in the two years he’s been awaiting the treatment.
“My understanding is that there is four EEG techs in Saskatoon,” Gillian Dulle said.
“This is a procedure that could take three weeks with a full-time EEG tech on staff which doesn’t work if you do the math.”
The Dulles came to the legislature as guests of the Saskatchewan NDP Tuesday, where Deputy Leader Nicole Sarauer used question period time to demand a response from the health-care leaders sitting across the chamber.
“What does the government have to say to the Dulles, who have been left waiting as a result of the government’s mismanagement of the health-care system?” Sarauer asked Health Minister Paul Merriman.
In response, Merriman offered to meet the Dulle family and said the pandemic forced “difficult decisions” to slow down the level of health-care service typically offered in Saskatchewan.
He also touted the province’s recently-announced plans to increase funding in an effort to reduce Saskatchewan’s surgical backlog and recruit more health-care workers.
“They’re not decisions we wanted to make as a government but feel we had to make to protect our system,” Merriman later added in response to reporter questions.
“I’d be happy to sit down with them and discuss the specifics of their case.”
He added that Saskatchewan is currently performing around 97 per cent of scheduled surgeries, according to the latest updates he’s received.
But the Dulles were left unsatisfied by Merriman’s question period response.
Brennon called it “horrible” and “very disappointing”, adding his doctors are “overworked and frustrated”.
“I feel like it was lacking in compassion,” Gillian added.
“One thing we’ve always found is we’ve received compassion and care from doctors, nurses, paramedics and techs, and I feel like that compassion was lacking when we came here today.”
There are currently over 35,000 people awaiting surgery in Saskatchewan.