Skip to content

LETTER: COVID's impact on previously planned surgeries 'tragic'

There needs to be 'far greater discourse over our health care system and ... people who flagrantly disregard the health of both themselves and everyone around them'
pexels surgery stock

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor ([email protected]). This letter is from Gary Machan, who has served as a community health care advocate for over 30 years. He played a lead role in the passing of several pieces of provincial health care legislation including Patients First.
Like many residents of Simcoe County, I know more than a few tragic cases of people whose surgeries were bumped in order to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

One friend in particular comes to mind who was diagnosed with colon cancer and was slated to receive surgery within a month. Then COVID hit, not once, twice, but three times and his surgery was delayed by close to a year at which point the cancer spread to other vital organs. Sound familiar?

Fast-forward two years and here we are facing yet another (variant) of COVID. Albeit with one notable mitigating factor; namely, the majority of Ontarians chose to be vaccinated in order to do their part to safeguard their own health, as well as others they happened to come in contact with.

And yet, despite the strong push by public health for people to get vaccinated, a sizeable number of Ontarians continue to thumb their nose at science and throw caution to the wind.

All of which might be acceptable, if not for the fact that these people put at risk the health and wellbeing of others (when they require hospitalization) This, in turn, necessitating that everyone else who was previously slated to receive surgery gets bumped for months on end. Something that just doesn’t sit right for me who I suspect is part of the silent majority who have had their fill of anti-vaxers.

True, some of you might say well the Premier just said that they are only bumping the folks who are in need of 'non-critical' operations. To which, my immediate response is be careful at reading too much of this at face value because the devil is in the details. Case in point: my daughter’s 12-hour operation to correct her scoliosis was designated by the Ministry of Health as ‘cosmetic surgery’. Hence there are few things more slippery than bureau speak, a skill at which most health administrators excel.

All of which speaks to the need for there to be far greater citizen discourse over our health care system and in particular as it relates to people who flagrantly disregard the health of both themselves and everyone around them.

Bottom line, with rights needs to come corresponding responsibilities. My message to anti-vaxers is if you don’t want to get vaccinated, fine, but then don’t expect to bud into the front of the line if you need to be hospitalized for COVID. 

Gary Machan